More snoozies

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

More snoozies

Postby catmoon » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:25 am

Yep, I'm back to snoozitation again. I can sit ok, but but have a powerful urge to sleep after 20 minutes or so, most sessions.

I've tried raising the object of meditation and brightening it various ways. Finding a high place to mediatate is difficult. So I thought I'd ask for suggestions that might brighten and clarify this very sleepy mind of mine.

I tried raising an intense, energetic focus but it led to whole body tension, which I think must be wrong. Is exercise the issue? Does one need to lead a physically active life to be in shape for meditation? Do people exercise before meditation?
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Re: More snoozies

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:37 am

Greetings Catmoon,

This has been a bit of a problem for me recently too. If you are amenable to the Pali Canon, this may be of interest.

"Are you nodding, Moggallana, are you nodding?" — "Yes. Lord." —

1. "Well then, Moggallana, at whatever thought drowsiness befalls you, to that thought you should not give attention and not dwell on that thought. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

2. "But if, by doing so, drowsiness does not vanish, then you should reflect upon the Teaching as you have heard and learned it, you should ponder over it and examine it closely in your mind. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

3. "But if, by doing so, drowsiness does not vanish, then you should repeat in full detail the Teaching as you have heard and learned it. Then, by doing so, it is possible that drowsiness will vanish.

4. "But if, by doing so, drowsiness does not vanish, then you should pull both ear-lobes and rub your limbs with your hand. Then, by doing so, it is possible that drowsiness will vanish.

5. "But if, by doing so, drowsiness does not vanish, you should get up from your seat and, after washing your eyes with water, you should look around in all directions and upwards to the stars and constellations. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

6. "But if, by doing so, drowsiness does not vanish, you should give attention to the perception of light, to the perception of day (-light): as by day so by night, as by night so by day. Thus, with your mind clear and unclouded, you should cultivate a mind that is full of brightness. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

7. "But if, by doing so, drowsiness does not vanish, then, with your senses turned inward and your mind not straying outward, you should take to walking up and down, being aware of going to and fro. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

8. "But if, by doing so, drowsiness does not vanish, you may, mindfully and clearly aware, lie down, lion-like, on your right side, placing foot on foot, keeping in mind the thought of rising; and on awakening, you should quickly get up, thinking 'I must not indulge in the comfort of resting and reclining, in the pleasure of sleeping.'

"Thus, Moggallana, should you train yourself."

— Anguttara Nikaya VII, 58


Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: More snoozies

Postby malalu » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:00 am

Hey, Catmoon.

Well, I can say that every once in a while I go through phases where this sort of thing can happen. At one point I jokingly said that I should sleep in half lotus at nightime!

Anyways, from my own experience...

It's not always possible, but better to try not to practice right before bed if you are kind of tired. I also began trying to become aware of the point where I was starting to loose focus and beginning to dri.. :zzz: ...Oh! Sorry! (a little "sleepy" humor :tongue: ).. and beginning to drift off. This seemed to help, as I was able to catch myself quickly and regain focus.

You could try when you wake up. I did for a short while, still, I'm more of an evening person.

There was a short time that it became a little frustrating to me, and perhaps this didn't help. Once I took the "shrug your shoulders" approach, sort of saying to myself "go ahead, fall asleep!", it was not really an issue anymore. Go figure. (actually this is sort of like the first line from the text that retro quoted, of not giving much thought to "not wanting to fall asleep".)

One other thing I have done in the passed is remembering bodhicitta, and thinking that I am practicing for the benefit of all sentient beings. I do not want to let them down, so therefore I will try to fight off this mental laxity and focus.

On the other hand, there are a few occasions where I was very lethargic during meditation, and once that passed there was a sudden very sharp alertness and focus for the remainder.

Don't know if this helps but...
The past is but a present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: More snoozies

Postby catmoon » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:20 am

Hi Retro!

Amazing that you plonked down the very sutra quote that I was groping for... I actually read it some time ago but it appears I need to put it more into practice. Nice shootin' podner!


Greetings, Malalu!

I will try to remember your bodhicitta idea, it might work. I have had the strange alertness shift you described a few times, but in my practice it is very uncommon, and I never did figure out what caused it. But as you say it can be almost startling, because it can happen so suddenly and is such a dramatic difference. I wonder what it is...

I do have a bad habit of meditating at the end of the day, but I get the snoozies when I meditate mid day too.
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Re: More snoozies

Postby malalu » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:28 pm

catmoon wrote:
I do have a bad habit of meditating at the end of the day, but I get the snoozies when I meditate mid day too.


Another thing, perhaps you head is down a liitle too low, this can invite sleepiness as well...

Quickly contemplating "impermanence" and the preciousness of this opportunity we have to practice Dharma has been a bit of a "motivator" also.
Does not always work, though. Sleep often times wins out.

On the whole, I think that sometimes these things are just our obstacles coming to the surface. With perseverance, and bodhicitta we can overcome these.

M
The past is but a present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: More snoozies

Postby ground » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:07 pm

malalu wrote:One other thing I have done in the passed is remembering bodhicitta, and thinking that I am practicing for the benefit of all sentient beings. I do not want to let them down, so therefore I will try to fight off this mental laxity and focus.


Bodhicitta is the foundation for any Mahayana practice. It safeguards the practitioner from slipping off into nirvana. This is the main reason for cultivating bodhicitta in the context of any kind of formal practice (sitting meditation is included here).
Also bodhicitta - integrated non-conceptually with mind - fosters clarity in meditation which safeguards the practitioner from lower (animal-like) states. It is like a ray of light.
It is not the depth of the sea below the turbulent waves but continually resting on the vertex of the waves themselves which is the stillness of bodhicitta. Kind of "surf ride".


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Re: More snoozies

Postby catmoon » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:38 am

I think it's working. Last night was 20 minutes and no snoozies. If I can manage 20 minutes in clarity, in the face of tiredness, then I'm content. Best part is, I did not have to stop at 20, that's just when I decided to sleep.Tnx for the help guys!
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