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2 1 hour sittings dont cut it

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2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 11:29 AM
I'm kind of new. I just read mead mctb2 and sayadow practical  Insight. I'm doing concentration  of. Breath  along with mahasi style noting.  Is 2 hours a day a little light to see any  real  benefits? I'm always I. Pain at the end of an hour but its tolerable .   Should I ramp it up to 3 or 4 hours a day? Is that what you guys  did when you started 

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 1:51 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
You just need to build on your concentration skills. Meditation can work as a direct application of concentration but this can also be worked on by just watching paint dry, or studying a subject you are unfamiliar with. Time has little to do with the goal of meditation. Not to downplay it, of course, meditation is like a gym membership for your brain.
Along the way, time itself will be deconstructed. When your concentration capabilities are elevated to a certain degree, even in a single moment you can experience rapture or bliss. Extended sits can propagate a high state that you may not be ready for... things can get sour for your mental wellbeing if that happens.
The actual length doesn't really matter. Just make sure your practice is coming from the heart (metaphorically) and use that membership as often as possible (literally) 
2 hours is plenty in my opinion. The benefits should make themselves clear enough soon. Don't wiz on by through the practice too quick, it's important to take it slow and develop an objective way of looking at things in order to supplement clarity.

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 3:30 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
45 minutes to an hour two times a day is great to start out with. Don't push your body to the point your hurting yourself. There is a level of pain that will come with being new, but it doesn't have to be that way to see progress. As your body and mind gets use to meditation, one can sit for 3-4 hours or more with very little to no pain, but this is also not a guarantee. There are very high level meditators who just live with body pain from old age or sickness. 

The point I am trying to make is pain doesn't equal progress. Like lifting weights does. My advice for someone new to meditaion would be to do more sits but shorter time. 3 or 4, 30 to 45 minute sits, if you feel your really into meditation. Don't push your body past its limits early on. 

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 3:54 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
You have already received two great replies, so I'll just answer the question about how much practice I needed to experience tangible benefits when I started. 20 minutes minimum per day. That's how I started. I wanted to make sure that I could do it consistently without turning it into yet another task/duty, so I chose a small amount of time. I treasured those 20 minutes of the day. They did soooooo much difference. I think one of the reasons for that was that I managed to leave prestige out from it. I just did it because I loved it. Then when I started working with Michael Taft I increased the minimum to 30 minutes. And then practice started to live its own life, sort of. Meditation would happen both because I enjoyed continuing with it and because it just happened even though I was trying to sleep. So increasing the time was a non-issue. I didn't have much to do with it. So maybe you need not get stressed out about it but just allow the practice to evolve in its own time. The process knows the way all by itself. 

I didn't know what vipassana and shamatha was when I started. I know now that I did vipassana but not the dry kind. Jhanas happened, although almost exclusively the vipassana jhana versions. I had a history of dropping into different altered states of consciousness spontaneously, though. My brain is a bit weird. 

My advice for you is to practice in a way that allows you to really enjoy it, that is, enjoying the practice in itself rather than striving for specific aims. Whether it is curiosity that does it for you or relaxation and focus, that doesn't matter that much. Finding a way to really love it is key. That makes the difference. 

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 5:06 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
My opinion is that learning to practice mindfulness during ordinary daily activities (for example noting, or observing the activity of the mind, or being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it rather than thinking about the past future or solving problems etc), is as important (if not more) as sitting meditation.

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 5:26 PM as a reply to Mista Tibbs.
Mista Tibbs:
You just need to build on your concentration skills.


Do you find concentration is a skill? I find that concentration depends more on daily conditions rather than years of accumulated practice.

If I have a busy and or stressful day my concentration is worse. Living calmly, quietly, mindfully, and preparing to meditate by doing relaxation exercises (or chanting and bowing practice when on retreat) and meditating longer each day does more for my concentration than accumulated years of regular practice. 

In my opninion the main obstacle to concentration is stress, which causes mental turbulence and also because stress hormones cause mental fixation on the source of stress. Fixation is helpful if the stress is caused by a lion stalking you,  but not so helpful if you are trying to meditate and the stress was caused by an argument at work earlier in the day.

(Internet use is also a big obstacle to concentration.)

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 5:30 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
Matthew Jon Rousseau:
I'm kind of new. I just read mead mctb2 and sayadow practical  Insight. I'm doing concentration  of. Breath  along with mahasi style noting.  Is 2 hours a day a little light to see any  real  benefits? I'm always I. Pain at the end of an hour but its tolerable .   Should I ramp it up to 3 or 4 hours a day? Is that what you guys  did when you started 

I practice two hours a day mahasi noting and some fire kasina. Have been doing two a day for 9 months and have seen major benefits. I also lay down to practice due to a back injury which makes it easier on the body. If you have good energy laying down is a good option.  But I started out with small amounts of practice like two 30 minute sits a day and saw really good results with that. I think with noting practice two hours is perfect but I think you have to figure it out on your own. Everybody I think will react different to lenghts of practice. Mahasi noting can bring on some really powerful changes to the mind so easing into it could be a good idea. The other thing is I have had good freinds and a teacher to lead me into all of it. The path can get wild and confusing some times and having someone to chat with can help with making decisions on style, time amounts, pointers and so on.

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 6:41 PM as a reply to Dustin.
Thanks guys.  Dustin  have you reached a y of the nanas or any landmarks on the vipasana stages? 

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 7:09 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Mista Tibbs:
You just need to build on your concentration skills.


Do you find concentration is a skill? I find that concentration depends more on daily conditions rather than years of accumulated practice.

If I have a busy and or stressful day my concentration is worse. Living calmly, quietly, mindfully, and preparing to meditate by doing relaxation exercises (or chanting and bowing practice when on retreat) and meditating longer each day does more for my concentration than accumulated years of regular practice. 

In my opninion the main obstacle to concentration is stress, which causes mental turbulence and also because stress hormones cause mental fixation on the source of stress. Fixation is helpful if the stress is caused by a lion stalking you,  but not so helpful if you are trying to meditate and the stress was caused by an argument at work earlier in the day.

(Internet use is also a big obstacle to concentration.)

I like to think that "Concentration" and "Focus" have different connotations. Focus can be spread around. For anything deemed significant, or that unconsciously demands importance, focus naturally will go there. Focus is designated by the environment and recent happenings. break-ups, jobs, family matters, projects. Daily episodes can fragment focus, and once focus is scattered, a domino effect ensues. 
"is this more important than that"
"what can be finished easily and solved later" 
The thoughts can go in any direction, but that isn't what matters here. The point is the mind has been sent into loops. Now you and the mind are wrestling for control. Stress is when your own intelligence has turned against you.

Whatever is being focused on, the degree of concentration is dependant on the cultivated ability. The concentrative potential is based on the larger picture of your life, by many factors. Menial tasks you have accomplished, tedious labors, long term goals. 
Concentration is the applicable degree of conscious effort. Focus can be directed at 1 object or any number, but the level of concentration that is applied is defined by the person's character. Concentration can be fully turned on in each area of attention.

It would make sense that meditation is amplifying your concentration skills because it is directly applying it. It is true that your mood or state of mind, respectively, can alter the entire physiology. Personally, I don't like the idea of meditation as self-help and don't think its proper to meditate if emotions are churning. If stress is a big enough factor to impede your progress, I say deal with that first, and then meditate

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 8:30 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
Matthew Jon Rousseau:
Thanks guys.  Dustin  have you reached a y of the nanas or any landmarks on the vipasana stages? 

Yes. Been through the insight stages, attained stream entry last year and am going through stages now. 

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 9:19 PM as a reply to Dustin.
Great job. That's mahasi technique?

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/20/19 9:30 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
Yes. 

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/21/19 7:27 AM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
I'll echo Jim Smith on this. As you progress, you will come to see the importance of off-cushion practice. Specifically take note of negative emotions and the mind's interest in wandering away in samsara as you go about your day.

Also, the quality of meditation is greatly more important the the quantity. Increase sitting time based on how long you can stay engaged without too much pain. A stretching routine prior to sits will help you begin to sit for longer. Try different positions of meditation (sitting in a chair, laying down, etc.) 

As Linda says, enjoy your practice! Before engaging in noting practice or whatever you are doing, get comfortable and joyful! A teacher once told me, "Joy is not a byproduct (of meditation). Joy a skill to be developed".

Personally, I have never had a consistent practice of more than 30-60 mins a day but I've made a lot of progress. You can too! 

When you're ready, a 7-10 day retreat can really give you a boost! "Power weekends" were helpful for me (2-3 days in a row with 4-6 hours of practice alternating sitting and walking)

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/21/19 8:33 AM as a reply to Nick O.
I actually do  chair sitting. Its definitely  my asana.i might be ready  for  a teacher.  I'm in NH.  Mostly only  yoga and tm here . But there's an Insight society in   Barre Massachusetts.  I might want to look in a day class.   Thanks guys 

RE: 2 1 hour sittings dont cut it
Answer
11/21/19 9:18 AM as a reply to Nick O.
I do power weekends too. That helps a lot.