Jump to content
Florian

The 'starting meditation' thread

Recommended Posts

On 6/29/2018 at 9:39 AM, pogo69 said:

Some of the ideas, like holding and releasing tension, are not a particularly good fit for running.

Probably not—but asking yourself 'how can I relax more' is an excellent fit, as is "how can I move with the least effort". The 'flow' that Csikszentmihaly talks about manifests when (using running as an example) one is fully present in the activity. This means being fully present in the sensations of running and, if you can do this, there will be few distracting thoughts.

Don't forget that the Buddha spoke of "the four postures of meditation": lying, sitting, standing, and moving. If one of the four works well for you, go with this, and forget the others, at least for a while.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kit_L In this section of the forums there's an interesting topic you touched a couple of times (here and in another thread): the dark night of the soul. According to Ingram is a mandatory step on the meditation path, which can occur at any time and it's really challenging. Have you ever dealt with it? What the correct approach to this unimaginable state of despair?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jaja,


This post enticed me to finally post here for the first time, hope you don't mind me butting in.


My suggestion would be to simply not get involved in this kind of conception of the path. Yes, it is probably true that it is impossible to avoid difficulty along the path, and people can have experiences they decide is worth calling a 'Dark Night', but they are not required for progress. 


My experience is that certain practices will veer 'progress' through these kind of experiences more than others - pure 'dry' insight practices with focus on impermanence come to mind, especially without an emphasis on relaxation.


Also, creating a 'thing' called the 'Dark Night' and thus setting up a set of expectations about what is going to happen is also a nice way to create a self fulfilling prophecy that can perpetuate for quite some time (do you get the idea I might know this from experience? ;) ) Realise that without actual experience, these expectations are created based on some significant misunderstandings anyway and so cannot be correct.


Practices which simultaneously cultivate a sense of calm and joy will tend to offset the difficulties that arise along the way, making it easier to not buy into them - to see there is a choice to to get involved with them or not.


It took (is taking?) me a long time to come to understand that any difficult state that arises simply cannot continue unless you actively feed it by getting involved with it and making a big deal about it.


I hope this helps, interested to see what Kit and others might have to add (or correct).
 

Edited by ScottieF
Changed wording about experiences of dark nights
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, ScottieF said:

It took (is taking?) me a long time to come to understand that any difficult state that arises simply cannot continue unless you actively feed it by getting involved with it and making a big deal about it.

This is very true, it's actually one of the reasons why I ended up here in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I restarted doing some meditation last tuesday because I was really stressed out all the time. Really quite true what you're saying, Scottie. Took some sitting to remind me of that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/15/2018 at 7:58 AM, jaja said:

This is very true, it's actually one of the reasons why I ended up here in the first place.

Same here. ST provided me some important lessons to me about how changing the 'ingredients' of conditions in a particular moment changed the experience considerably.

 

On 12/15/2018 at 9:31 PM, Rik said:

I restarted doing some meditation last tuesday because I was really stressed out all the time. Really quite true what you're saying, Scottie. Took some sitting to remind me of that.

Nice work getting back into sitting! Glad what I wrote might have been helpful.

I think i could have written my post above better.

The main suggestion that I wanted to make was to stay clear of the belief that unimaginable despair in the form of a 'dark night' is a necessary stage of progress. This is because different ways of practicing influence the way progress occurs.

What I wrote put blame on the practices and implies that some are objectively better than others, when all I can really speak about is the mistakes I've made and how changing my approach helped me see the ways I created suffering for myself and how to (gradually) stop doing that. Sorry.

I'll stop going on about it. I just realised after writing I was talking beyond my depth :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/13/2018 at 8:52 PM, jaja said:

According to Ingram is a mandatory step on the meditation path, which can occur at any time and it's really challenging.

I agree with what @ScottieFwrote above and want to add that "the dark night of the soul" can look and feel very different to different people, and some people do not experience it on the path, at least not in a way that would be recognised by many others who have written on this subject. I have had the experience that might be labelled that way—but it was not experienced as the kind of massive depression that (say) Eckhart Tolle writes about when it happened to me. Without going into detail here, I have experienced the deep reality of anatta, or no-self (and in Zen this is the 'small death' [death of the idea of self] that precedes the large death), but I found this as absolutely wonderful, and freeing. Sure, seeing clearly that the "I" that thinks it's me is not real was a frightening for a few moments (well, actually, I had no idea of how long it lasted), but to be honest, that realisation was a deep relief. Now I can get on with living!

And, for sure, if you expect something to be really challenging, it's likely to be just that!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Patrick said:

In brief, whatever happens in meditation is what is meant to happen.

Wisdom, that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×