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Thread: Looking for meditation advice

  1. #1

    Looking for meditation advice

    Hello!
    This is my first post on these forums and first off I would like to thank the people in charge for the amazing opportunity that a community like this represents. I have been sitting off and on for several years now but I go through long spells of aversion to meditation where no matter what I try I can't force myself to the mat. I spend most of my work days listening to various dharma talks and thinking about just how awesome meditation will be when I get home- and it never happens. Do you guys experience anything similar? I signed up here and went through the process of getting approval to post and then a dry spell hit and I sat for the first time today in far too long....
    Anyone have any advice for dealing with aversion? It is so strange to me that the brain, which is generally an organ that seeks out pleasure, would be so averse to something that is so beneficial and frankly feels good for the most part. Oh well, enough rambling, and hello from the new guy!

    ------Finally sat today

  2. #2
    Hello, Jhrper,

    Welcome!

    Your experience with aversion to meditation sounds very familiar to me. Yes, indeed, I've gone through that. Don't have a simple answer--I just had to realize that there isn't that much time left! Also, it helped a lot when I finally set a time of day for meditation and stuck to it.

    I'm sure that Jundo will have some helpful things to say!

    _/\_

    L.

    sat2day

  3. #3
    The only advice I can offer is sit together. Treeleaf is a practice community. There is weekly Zazenkai and almost daily sitting together on G+.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/calendar.php

    You are most welcome to join in. Sitting together is a wonderful support.

    Gassho
    Daizan

    sat today

  4. #4
    Hello,

    I am new here as well, so it's nice to see another newbie post! I already have found so many answers to questions like yours either by watching Jundo's videos for new folks, or just by typing questions into the search bar. I actually typed "boredom" into the search bar the other day and came up with tons of interesting threads, including one I commented on yesterday about why people in one study would rather give themselves an electric shock than sit with their thoughts!

    Sitting is not easy because of all the mental obstacles we throw at it. Jundo's recent threads about "not chasing" and then "chasing" are helping me understand this better. It's a metaphor for life, in a way? Do it because it needs doing. I can do Zazen daily, but I have fallen off the wagon with my daily exercise program lately. Although it is good for me and makes me feel better, but I still have trouble doing it every day like I should... Anyway, maybe sitting along with the learning videos or joining the live sessions here will help get you actually swimming in the pool more regularly.

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday (with Jundo's Kannon video)
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    She/her.
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  5. #5
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Hello Jhrpr!

    Im new here too, but check out the thread mentioned above, you'll see it is perfectly natural! http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...for-15-Minutes

    When I first stared, I would have chosen the shock pretty quick, im better now but its small improvments every sesshin.

    Explore the links Jundo sent you, and dont pressure yourselfto rush! You did, after all, sit today!

    Gassho, Geoff.
    SatToday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  6. #6
    Hi Jhrpr,

    So glad that you're here, and happy with you about the sitting today.

    The thing that made a difference for me, and finally gave me a daily sitting practice, was when I took myself out of the equation. Actually what I did was promote my butt to Assistant Manager In Charge Of Sitting. See, my gluteus maximus knew a lot more about how to sit than my brain did.

    I used to think, ah, oh yeah, I’d like to meditate, I want to meditate, I really should meditate. I used to make plans and schedules to meditate, and rearrange my meditation spot, and read about meditating. And I did meditate when the time and place and conditions were right, when I was inspired, in the proper mood, when the stars aligned just so. But it came and went, off and on, and sometimes I got distracted and didn’t do it for months. Something in me really wanted a daily practice, but I couldn’t seem to get it going. It seemed like people who had a daily practice either were a lot more enlightened than me, or had stronger self-discipline, or obviously did not have all the stuff to do and complications in life that I had.

    Then I found Treeleaf (*cue soft-focus logo and angelic new-age music*). I saw all kinds of people here, with all kinds of lives, and somehow they were... just... sitting. Something clicked. I started just putting my ass down onto the cushion, without asking myself first if I was in the mood, or if the stars were aligned. It worked. Now I just sit. Every day. I brush my teeth every day, I drink water every day, I breathe every day, and I sit every day. Sometimes I am walking to the cushion, telling myself why I really, seriously don’t have time to sit, and then I sit, and then I go on with my day. Sometimes I reeeally don’t feel like sitting at all, like if I‘m sick, or in a bad mood. I sit anyway. For 20 minutes or however long, the butt is in charge. The butt goes onto the cushion, and the brain comes along, willingly or not. Oh! Don’t forget to put the brain (and/or the heart) back in charge when you’re finished.

    So, my advice is, every day, walk toward a zafu or a pillow, and take good aim, give a little gassho, and then decrease the distance between the pillow and your bum, until they meet. Your brain will tell you all kinds of reasons why you can’t do this. Just shrug and point to the Assistant Manager, he's in charge.

    I have never, ever, not even once, regretted sitting or wished I hadn’t done it. I think it’s the greatest gift you could ever give yourself. And hey, we'll all be sitting with you.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

  7. #7
    Hi,

    Folks have said anything I could. I might just encourage you to sit for even 5 minutes each day. That is enough if one sits beyond measure and watching clocks. Just do so for 5 minutes each day.

    If the mood strikes, sit for 10 (maybe 15), but no more most days. Just build the habit of sitting daily, and 5 to 10 minutes is fine if one realizes the completeness and wholeness of even such sitting. We might say, 5 minutes of Zazen is 5 minutes of Buddha!

    Yes, there are days in practice when one might sit longer, for many periods, hours and hours. Such is important in this Practice too. But daily sitting, even if for a few minutes, is wondrous if one puts aside the taxi meter. Just be consistent, day by day by day. This is something else posted recently ...

    Zazen is not a matter of long or short. One must sit dropping all measure, tasting in one's bones that every single instant of Zazen is all time (and all timeless too)! One must sit throwing the clock away!

    And yet ... and yet ... (Zen guys often speak out of both sides of their no sided mouth, with seemingly contradictory yet simultaneously true ways to measure things) ... and yet ...

    We recommend the following (from our "We're All Always Beginners" series, please give that a watch), at least 15 minutes a day ... but that's not all ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...%28Part-XXI%29

    ... also countless Insta-Zazen "Sittings" throughout one's day ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-%28Part-XX%29

    The most important point is to be consistent about doing all of the above each day.

    Also, although sitting is not about "attaining" or "measure" ... it is sometimes important to head to Retreat/Sesshin (if physically able) to wrestle long and hard seeking to attain that "nonattaining"! I just posted about that here:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post151546

    Don't sit Zazen like one is running a taxi meter trying to get 'cross town. This trip is to no where but right here and here and here.
    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-29-2015 at 04:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8

    Looking for meditation advice

    Hi,
    Sitting is an absolute waste of time. That is why you are averse to it. Thing is though that you are meditation. You don't meditate. This is not something that can be well understood but it is to be experienced. The eye sees. It can not see itself without a mirror but it experiences seeing when it looks. Just look. Just sit. But that just my opinion.

    Gassho, Jishin

    #SatToday
    Last edited by Jishin; 06-29-2015 at 04:21 AM.

  9. #9
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhrper View Post
    and thinking about just how awesome meditation will be when I get home- and it never happens.
    ------Finally sat today
    Hello, don't think about how awesome it will be, because it won't. Don't have any expectations. I've sat through panic attacks, boredom, racing mind more times than I can count in the 2 years I've been practicing here. It isn't always awesome. But if you learn to accept these experiences just as they are, I promise you, in time meditation will become something much deeper than just looking for a wonderful experience, or something that feels good. I wish you all the best. And welcome to Treeleaf =)

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

    p.s.---oh, and I am not a teacher, just a lay Buddhist practicing and learning much each day, so please take what I say with a grain of salt

  10. #10
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Hello Jhrper,

    Each day is a new day. Try not to mentally commit to sitting or not sitting. Just sit. If you miss a day, you missed a day. Get back at it the following one.

    Lots of good advice from some very wise folks above. I think starting slow, maybe 5 minutes a day would be good. I (and many) use the insight timer APP as a timer device which helps too.

    Thank you for your question as it may help lots of other people in a similar situation.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today

    ps...oh and welcome to treeleaf!

  11. #11
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi,
    Sitting is an absolute waste of time. That is why you are averse to it. Thing is though that you are meditation. You don't meditate. This is not something that can be well understood but it is to be experienced. The eye sees. It can not see itself without a mirror but it experiences seeing when it looks. Just look. Just sit. But that just my opinion.

    Gassho, Jishin

    #SatToday

    Beautifully said.

    Gassho,
    Geoff.
    SatToday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi,
    Sitting is an absolute waste of time. That is why you are averse to it. Thing is though that you are meditation. You don't meditate. This is not something that can be well understood but it is to be experienced. The eye sees. It can not see itself without a mirror but it experiences seeing when it looks. Just look. Just sit. But that just my opinion.

    Gassho, Jishin

    #SatToday
    Well it's not always a waste of time. This morning while sitting I remembered that I needed: to replace a light bulb in my wife's study, to defrost some stuff for supper, to watch a YouTube lecture on landscape photography, to write a funny retort to someone on Facebook, to figure out that dream (now that's a waste of time), to eat breakfast, soon.... The poet Gary Snyder wrote a poem about "what I think about while I meditate." Much the same stuff. Comes and goes. Trivial pursuit. Definitely can say that it's a waste of no time.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    sat today

  13. #13
    Maybe I'm just creature of habit sitting twice a day. Sometimes I do feel some aversion and boredom and smile at that too.
    Smiling creates an openness, an acceptance where you can feel comfortable with emptiness or non emptiness.
    It's hard to explain so just do it.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    Well it's not always a waste of time.
    Sitting is an absolute waste of time.

    Sitting means...

    Absolute means...

    Maybe sitting and absolute both mean...



    Gassho, Jishin

    #SatToday

  15. #15
    Hi Jhrper,

    Sitting with a curious mind also helps a lot. Try to see zazen as an experiment to see what it feels, how your body feels and instead of asking questions, just sit. Begin for about 10 minutes and move forward from there, adding a couple of minutes every few weeks.

    Think that if you have 10 minutes for Facebook, you definitely have 10 minutes for zazen. Both are a waste of time, but siting zazen feels right for some reason.

    Welcome to Treeleaf. Please upload a photo of you and sign with your name. That will help us all to have a name and a face to communicate with.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  16. #16
    Thanks everyone for the advice!

    Sitting with a curious mind also helps a lot. Try to see zazen as an experiment to see what it feels, how your body feels and instead of asking questions, just sit. Begin for about 10 minutes and move forward from there, adding a couple of minutes every few weeks.
    I believe that this is key for me. Meditation should be an exploration of the mind and not an attempt to stop thoughts. I sat again today and spent quite a bit of it watching my mind replay a pop song I heard at work. I didn't fight it I just observed and it was far more pleasant that way.
    It's hard to explain so just do it.
    I really like that.

    Hello, don't think about how awesome it will be, because it won't.
    I listened to a talk from a woman named Andrea Fella today that tied alot of this together for me.

    Then I found Treeleaf (*cue soft-focus logo and angelic new-age music*). I saw all kinds of people here, with all kinds of lives, and somehow they were... just... sitting. Something clicked. I started just putting my ass down onto the cushion, without asking myself first if I was in the mood, or if the stars were aligned. It worked. Now I just sit. Every day. I brush my teeth every day, I drink water every day, I breathe every day, and I sit every day. Sometimes I am walking to the cushion, telling myself why I really, seriously don’t have time to sit, and then I sit, and then I go on with my day. Sometimes I reeeally don’t feel like sitting at all, like if I‘m sick, or in a bad mood. I sit anyway. For 20 minutes or however long, the butt is in charge. The butt goes onto the cushion, and the brain comes along, willingly or not. Oh! Don’t forget to put the brain (and/or the heart) back in charge when you’re finished.
    It really should be a habit shouldn't it? Like taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Even though sometimes you don't want to do these things you do them anyway. Thanks.

    Thanks to everyone else as well. I am off to watch video links, and I appreciate the guidance. I joined here in the hope that a community would help strengthen my practice and I think it just might.

    Jason
    SatToday

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhrper View Post
    I believe that this is key for me. Meditation should be an exploration of the mind and not an attempt to stop thoughts. I sat again today and spent quite a bit of it watching my mind replay a pop song I heard at work. I didn't fight it I just observed and it was far more pleasant that way.
    Lovely.

    And at the same time, neither jump into the song, get hooked and start singing! (Not during Zazen anyway. Fine in the shower. ).

    Let thoughts and emotions (and songs!) come and go in the mind ... but also, do not latch on, get hooked, and follow along. Just let them go.

    In such way, in Zazen, one discovers a certain Harmonious Symphony that is not a matter of sound or silence.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-30-2015 at 02:18 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Mp
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhrper View Post
    I believe that this is key for me. Meditation should be an exploration of the mind and not an attempt to stop thoughts. I sat again today and spent quite a bit of it watching my mind replay a pop song I heard at work. I didn't fight it I just observed and it was far more pleasant that way.
    Hello Jhrper,

    LOL, Jundo beat me to it ... yes, this is wonderful. Keep at it, goes easy, and enjoy the journey or exploration. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  19. #19
    Some good advice here. The mind has many ways to draw us to different distractions.

    Gassho.

    simon.

    sat today

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