stuck

Patrice Berube, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 12:02 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 12:02 PM

stuck

Posts: 39 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts
Hello,

I seem to be stuck in my progress, not going anywhere and just doing the same thing over and over again.

I meditate everyday for about an hour and during the day whenever I'm mindful.

But all I do is look inside for sensations (feelings, pain, pressures etc...) and note them. (they are usually in the torso and sometimes the head).
So usually the sensations disappear after a couple noting.
And then i proceed to move on to the next sensation or feeling i can find.
Sometimes I get bored after a while so i note the feeling of boredom (like a cloud inside) which proceed to disappear... then back to noting some other stuff i can find.

And that's it. It's all im doing and i feel like it leads no where. Just chasing some sensations, looking at them and see them disappear, then chase another one.

I feel that my concentration is not at an elite level but it seem sufficient to me (first jhana, not much perhaps but i dont have the feeling that it's lacking for me.)

I do not see the things vibrating, I do not know how to get to that level.
I thought if i just keep on doing the same thing, i will eventually see the "vibrating" or "pulsing" quality of the sensations but i don't seem to be progressing and i don't feel i've made any progress going toward this. I would really like to know how to get there or weather it will happen all by itself.


So basically i feel like im maintaining my body, as if I was just cleaning up; as oppose to progressing.


[indent]To put some context, i've been meditating on and off for about 3 years, had one 10 days retreat.
About 4 months ago, I'm pretty confident i had a A&P event where i was very peaceful for about a week and half, where i felt as "all i have to do is just accept what i am in this moment" and i could see all of the garbage and ego that was still inside but it wouldn't bother me. I could be very still and perfectly happy just laying down at the park with my dogs for hours on.
I even wrote my own little dharma book at that time (i must be the biggest cliche) and the path seem all perfectly clear and self explanatory to me then.
This was followed by a period of somewhat depressed mental state and then i took it easy for a month.
This is where i've read the MTCB and "Practical Insight Meditation: Basic and Progressive Stages" (which i love).
[/indent]


Thank you so much if you took the time to read this and thank you if you take the time to answer my questions.

thank you
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J Groove, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 12:27 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 12:27 PM

RE: stuck

Posts: 59 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
Hi Patrice.

I can relate to what you're saying. Part of me wants to say "push through it--you've got to be on target if it's getting more difficult." After all, at a certain point the practice has to get so hard that you have no choice but to either quit or keep at it and make a breakthrough.

Have you given any thought to ramping up the metta practice or maybe doing some candle-flame or kasina meditation in addition to the noting practice you're doing now?
Patrice Berube, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 12:52 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 12:49 PM

RE: stuck

Posts: 39 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts
Hello J Groove, thank you for replying to my message emoticon
J Groove:
I can relate to what you're saying. Part of me wants to say "push through it--you've got to be on target if it's getting more difficult." After all, at a certain point the practice has to get so hard that you have no choice but to either quit or keep at it and make a breakthrough.

I think you've either misread me or i explained myself very poorly.

I'm not pushing through anything, what i'm doing is effortless. I wish i would have something to push through, something that would be a breakthrough if i'd managed to persist and keep pushing. This would be some kind of goal, a target to aim at like you said, but I do not have a target.

This is pretty much a summary of my question.

J Groove:
Have you given any thought to ramping up the metta practice or maybe doing some candle-flame or kasina meditation in addition to the noting practice you're doing now?

I don't do any loving kindness meditation; I think of loving kindness as one of "the four protections" as described by Mahasi Sayadaw in his book. I will use it if i feel that i could benefit from it in that context, but it never happen.

Would you recommand i do Metta for another purpose? what would it be?

I'm not familiar with kasina meditation; would you be kind enough to explain the purpose of it? what would be the benefit?


Thank you so very much for having taken the time to read my questions and make suggestions, I apologize for having failed at explaining myself properly.


thank you very much!
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J Groove, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 1:05 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 1:05 PM

RE: stuck

Posts: 59 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
Ah, it seemed to me that you were having difficulties, but I see what you mean: It's not so much that practice has become difficult as it is uneventful. Some people might say, "Why be resistant to the uneventfulness? Look into the resistance." But maybe at a certain point it's a good idea to try to shake things up a bit, hence your post.

I'm working on Stream Entry/First Path and am trying to note aloud, one object per second, for an hour a day. Sometimes I hate this practice and lately I've been feeling that not much is happening. Still, I intend to keep at it.

If you haven't attained Stream Entry, you might consider resolving to attain Stream Entry. This could give your practice some momentum.
If you haven't seen The Hamilton Project blog, you might consider checking it out. There are some helpful posts there about the value of goal-oriented practice and just "going for Stream Entry."

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/

There is some stuff on this blog about candle-flame meditation, but I'm sure you'd find plenty of threads here at the DhO on kasina practice if you look in the Concentration section. This is basically a way to boost your concentration by focusing on white or colored discs. I'm not sure whether it's something you'd need or want to pursue. Same thing with metta. I think metta can get you into different territory but I dunno if it would help in the situation you have described.

I'll stop yammering. You'll probably get some better advice from others.
Patrice Berube, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 1:36 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 1:36 PM

RE: stuck

Posts: 39 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts
J Groove:
Ah, it seemed to me that you were having difficulties, but I see what you mean: It's not so much that practice has become difficult as it is uneventful. Some people might say, "Why be resistant to the uneventfulness? Look into the resistance." But maybe at a certain point it's a good idea to try to shake things up a bit, hence your post.


yes. is this what i should do? just stick with noticing the way i do?
[indent]But all I do is look inside for sensations (feelings, pain, pressures etc...) and note them. (they are usually in the torso and sometimes the head).
So usually the sensations disappear after a couple noting.
And then i proceed to move on to the next sensation or feeling i can find.
Sometimes I get bored after a while so i note the feeling of boredom (like a cloud inside) which proceed to disappear... then back to noting some other stuff i can find.

And that's it. It's all im doing and i feel like it leads no where. Just chasing some sensations, looking at them and see them disappear, then chase another one.
[/indent]

and eventually i will get to perceive the "vibrating" quality of the sensations? And progress on the path? Even if it seems that im not making any progress and im just doing the same thing over and over again?


I'm nowhere near stream entry btw, I is my goal but i (or at least i feel like) what i do doesn't get me any closer.


thanks again! emoticon
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Florian, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 1:55 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 1:55 PM

RE: stuck (Answer)

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Patrice Berube:
But all I do is look inside for sensations (feelings, pain, pressures etc...) and note them. (they are usually in the torso and sometimes the head).


Broaden out your attention. There are sounds, maybe smells, the feeling of air moving in and out of your nostrils, your abdomen touching your t-shirt, swallowing saliva, changes in lighting (maybe through your closed eyelids)... and then there are thoughts like "this is effortless" (note: "thought" or "hearing").

So usually the sensations disappear after a couple noting.
And then i proceed to move on to the next sensation or feeling i can find.
Sometimes I get bored after a while so i note the feeling of boredom (like a cloud inside) which proceed to disappear... then back to noting some other stuff i can find.


Also note, "searching" (stuff to note).

And that's it. It's all im doing and i feel like it leads no where. Just chasing some sensations, looking at them and see them disappear, then chase another one.


Can you catch the moment some sensation is entirely gone? Note that moment, "gone".

and eventually i will get to perceive the "vibrating" quality of the sensations? And progress on the path? Even if it seems that im not making any progress and im just doing the same thing over and over again?


Yep. To get to "vibrating" sensations, pay close attention to how things change, the quality of your breath, for example. Breathing in, there is initially more air rushing in than at the end; there is this tiny "squeezing" moment as the breath changes direction...

Good luck,
Cheers,
Florian
Patrice Berube, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 2:03 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 2:03 PM

RE: stuck

Posts: 39 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts
Thank you so much mr. Weps, precisely what i was hoping for.

I'm very satisfied with your answers.

Thank you!


It's great to have a place where i can ask these kind of questions, since i'am not close to anyone who does meditation and the only Vipassana teacher i know is at the Goenka retreat, hundreds of miles away.


Thanks again to both emoticon
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 8:02 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/8/11 7:59 PM

random extra info

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
If you've never encountered vibrations before, you ought to try faster noting. Get the noting quick enough that you feel alive and energized by the challenge. The key here is to find the right amount of challenge. If you challenge yourself too much, you will feel frustrated, then by the end of the meditation you'll be drained. If you don't challenge yourself enough, the mind gets dull and bored and it seems like nothing is happening. If you find the happy medium, then you'll enter a "flow" state. Another term for "flow" is "being in the zone." So the instructions for the first few insight stages, when you're still trying to get to the vibrations, is to get into the zone by challenging yourself correctly.

So, note according to Florian's instructions, and see how quickly you can do it without getting frustrated.

Once you're sensing the vibrations, you don't have to keep noting so quickly. The fast noting is a tool for engaging the mind so that it will concentrate. Once concentration is strong enough to allow you to catch the vibrations, you can switch to a more tranquil and peaceful technique than fast noting. Such as insight based on jhana.

For that matter, have you considered doing jhana insight practice? You might like it better than noting.
Andy W, modified 11 Years ago at 2/9/11 3:16 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 2/9/11 3:16 PM

RE: stuck

Posts: 59 Join Date: 10/13/10 Recent Posts
JGroove said:

I'm working on Stream Entry/First Path and am trying to note aloud, one object per second, for an hour a day. Sometimes I hate this practice and lately I've been feeling that not much is happening. Still, I intend to keep at it.


Can I just stop and say that this is the most inspiring thing I've read or heard today.

My motto is the closing line of Samuel Beckett's novel The Unnameable: "It will be the silence, where I am, I don't know, I'll never know, in the silence you don't know, you must go, I can't go on, I'll go on." I should paint it on the wall by my meditation space.

Andy