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Monday, 02 March 2009

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Hard questions - at least, #1 is. My gut reaction is "Meditation is HARD!" I don't think that's the answer you're going for :)

As a neophyte meditator, I feel that meditation is simply training your mind to exist in the moment. Meditation may be combined with a spiritual path, but is not one in and of itself. I could take stabs in the dark and try to say that meditation is one thing or another, but I truly don't know. What I do know is that meditation takes years, if not decades to master, but it seems to have amazing and scientifically verifiable results.

I want to meditate because I've always had a relatively poor ability to focus, and I believe that a consistent meditation practice over time will help me with this. I have trouble meditating because I tend to find it boring, but I believe that I will come to value it once I establish a daily practice.

I meditated for half an hour today, trying to focus on my breathing. I found it to be very difficult. I checked my timer three times. I'm going to try to continue this routine for a week and then possibly try a different type of routine starting next Monday.


Hello again, Maggie...

Good for you! I'm glad you got your practice in.

I'm not looking for any particular answer. I'm not waiting to pounce on people who don't have the same definition I do... I'm just interested in what you have to say. It is fair to say meditation is hard... many have said that (including me).

At least once a week I'll post a question like this. The intent is not to make sure that we all have the "right" answer... just to allow us all to get in touch with what we are thinking about what we are doing. We won't bicker over differing opinions, and we won't make each other wrong.

My answers are as follows...

I think meditation is a discipline that teaches us how to be in the moment and how to be with the moment. It may relax us (but it doesn't always)... Mainly I think meditation and relaxation aren't the same thing... Meditation is about being... being aware.

And personally, I want a daily practice because I want to stop using meditation as a crutch. I want to stop turning to meditation (and yoga and other practices) when I'm low and I'm really suffering... when I'm feeling like I'm going through something... because I'm always going through something. I want to be able to touch whatever that something is... every day... all the time.

Hmmmm.

It seems to me that meditation is the mind taming the mind. It is a practice during which one turns the mind on itself to see its own potential for stability, clarity, and truth.

I want a daily meditation practice because I want to reduce my suffering. I do realize I cause it all myself, but I'm unable to do anything about it as yet. :) I feel that a regular meditation practice will help me see this more clearly.

Turnning the mind on itself... very poetic, Sudo ;)

Thanks for sharing.

For me mediation is a journey towards living life in the moment, dropping away the judgements about myself and others. It is a time for me to attempt to connect to my truer self. QUite honestly, it is very hard. My thoughts are endless-but some times for a second there- I can be there with my breath.

Why do I want a daily practice- The thought of not using mediation as a crutch really resonated with me. I too have that habit of upping the mediation or running to numerous yoga classes when the pressure is on. I want to incorporate a daily practice in my life when things are sunny and when dark clouds fill my soul. I have practiced before-never daily- I do know there are subtle changes that occur, A calming and a chance to some times just be where you are at that moment.

Hello Marlene...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I especially appreciate the "dropping of judgements toward self and others." We'll talk about that when we get around to talking about metta meditation practice (lovingkindness).

I used to feel very distracted by my thoughts... almost assaulted by them when I started meditating. I wished I had an on/off switch that I could flick when I entered meditation practice because that mental chatter seemed frustratingly annoying and in the way. I'm starting to look on the intervening thoughts with more ease and acceptance than I have in the past. It's just the mind doing what it does. I try to just notice that I'm thinking and return to focusing on the breath until the thoughts fall away.

It sounds like we are beginning from the same place... having a practice that has not been a consistent daily practice. I'm glad to have you along for the journey.

Just a point of reflection for me:

"Using meditation as a crutch" - I can really relate to this concept. In fact, right now I am wresling a bit with being too much into Buddhism as "self-help". I truly believe in the Four Noble Truths. I am a Buddhist and I have faith in the Buddhadharma. But, what I mean here is that I do look for outcomes too readily and I am sure this hinders my practice. I also practice more urgently when I am suffering, as if I expect short-term relief.

"Am I more mindful than when I started meditating?"
"Do I have more mental discipline?"
"When will I experience less stress?"
"What size is my ego now?"
"Am I a more patient leader at work?"

These are things I ask myself, even when I know that I'm grasping instead of just being.

I have a friend at temple, Bop'yrok, who told me very early on when I questioned why I was doing certain things, like bowing to a statue or chanting in Sino-Korean. He said "Just do it and see if your heart follows." I need to keep this in mind. But, its not time to ask if my heart is following. Just do it!

Hey Sudo...

I can really relate to what you are saying because I've been there... I want to ask you something...

What if the grasping and the seeking of outcomes is normal for a beginner?

If it wasn't perfectly natural for a beginner to come to the practice with this grasping mind, would there be a need for the practice? If there were no defilements, if there were no suffering, would Buddhism as we know it exist?

It is important to acknowledge our intentions and to acknowledge and own up to our grasping. But do we acknowledge those things in ourselves and give up because we're hopeless, or do we keep going?

I don't know... I'm just throwing that out there. I like Bop'yrok's advice, though. He does sound like a great friend and Dharma brother.

bows,
chalip

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