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Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/1/12 2:22 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Ian And 5/2/12 12:33 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Gerry T 5/2/12 7:02 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/2/12 9:02 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Ian And 5/3/12 11:53 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/4/12 4:34 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log End in Sight 5/7/12 9:50 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/7/12 1:45 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/7/12 1:50 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Gerry T 5/8/12 7:47 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/8/12 10:08 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/10/12 11:09 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log fivebells . 5/11/12 10:33 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/11/12 11:54 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log fivebells . 5/11/12 4:48 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/11/12 5:32 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/13/12 10:42 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Bagpuss The Gnome 5/13/12 12:06 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log fivebells . 5/13/12 12:21 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/13/12 9:16 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log fivebells . 5/14/12 11:32 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/14/12 5:36 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/15/12 9:37 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log fivebells . 5/16/12 10:24 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/21/12 2:27 AM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/25/12 6:10 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Brian K. 5/30/12 12:37 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log Adam . . 5/30/12 2:02 PM
RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log fivebells . 5/30/12 2:25 PM
Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/1/12 2:22 PM
Ok, so after a few months of varying and unfocused (no pun intended) shamatha and vipassana meditation practices, I've come to the decision to work solely on shamatha practice for the time being, and step up my practice a few notches. Very weak concentration right now, but its been getting better.

I'm focusing solely on the breath right now it works best for me and i enjoy it. I tried doing a kasina practice for about a week and it just wasnt for me at this point i couldnt get it to hold my attention so, breathing it is. My goal right now is to access the first jhana hoping it wont take too long (a month or two?) idk if thats realistic or not but either way it really doesnt matter i'm gonna keep practicing til i get it. My plan right now is two 1-hour sits a day, with a 10-15 break in between (assuming i have the time block to practice them consecutively). OK, lets get this started then:

Did two 1 hour sits today, like i just said, went very well in my opinion. It wasnt the most focus i'd ever been BUT what didnt happen was i didnt get lost in stories for large intervals at a time. It went pretty steadily back and forth from concentration to wandering. So, i wasn't able to keep my attention THAT well but the good thing was i was able to bring it back pretty quickly once it started wandering. Also i enjoyed the sits, and was surprised i actually was able to sit for the full hour both times. Each session i had only set my timer for 45 minutes but went for the full hour regardless, which is what prompted me to set my routine up a little bit. Im very happy about this because in the past one of my biggest obstacles has been getting too restless and getting up after like, 30 + minutes. All in all, good practice today. Had that post meditation serenity goin on a bit for a little while after, happy with how it all went.

Also, perhaps someone can give me some advice on mindfulness practice in daily life? I've been trying to do noting practice. I do like it and i can see the benefits a little bit already, it forces my mind to be more aware of everything, but its hard to sustain. Like, when im at work, playing guitar, at school or whatever its hard to note inside my head when i have other things to focus on. Also, its difficult to REMEMBER to note alot of the times haha. I was wondering what some people opinions were on noting practice vs. just general being aware mindfulness in everyday life, without noting the words in your head. Also, it occurred to me this may be more conducive to concentration building? Please, let me know if you can. Will post again tomorrow. Thanks

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/2/12 12:33 AM as a reply to Brian K..
Hi Brian,
Brian K.:
Ok, so after a few months of varying and unfocused (no pun intended) shamatha and vipassana meditation practices, I've come to the decision to work solely on shamatha practice for the time being, and step up my practice a few notches. Very weak concentration right now, but its been getting better.

I'm focusing solely on the breath right now it works best for me and i enjoy it. I tried doing a kasina practice for about a week and it just wasnt for me at this point i couldnt get it to hold my attention so, breathing it is. My goal right now is to access the first jhana hoping it wont take too long (a month or two?) idk if thats realistic or not but either way it really doesnt matter i'm gonna keep practicing til i get it.

My plan right now is two 1-hour sits a day, . . . All in all, good practice today. Had that post meditation serenity goin on a bit for a little while after, happy with how it all went.

Overall, sounds like a good plan. Develop concentration so that later insight will be easier to achieve. That's how I approach it way back when. You need to get control of the mind first (experiencing longer and longer moments of mental silence), and the only way to do this is to strengthen concentration. Work on not letting unnoticed breaks in concentration get past you. Gradually, you should experience fewer and fewer breaks in concentration as your focus strengthens.

Two one hour daily sits should be sufficient to help calm the mind enough to achieve samadhi/jhana. Just be determined enough to maintain it, even when things don't seem to go well. Every sit is important. Especially those times when you don't feel like sitting. You have to train the mind to become obedient to your wishes, to be silent when you ask to be. When the mind finally gets the idea that you will not let this go, that you will no longer tolerate any "monkey mind" activity, it will eventually settle down. You just have to be firm in your conviction and consistent in your practice.

Since you are using the breath as a meditation object, try to focus your attention on the pleasantness of the breath and how, with deeper and deeper calmness, your breathing becomes shallower and shallower until it eventually just seems to disappear within a huge center of calmness. This is how you train to enter samadhi/jhana. Sounds simple, but it's more difficult to achieve than first appears.

Brian K.:

Also, perhaps someone can give me some advice on mindfulness practice in daily life? I've been trying to do noting practice. I do like it and i can see the benefits a little bit already, it forces my mind to be more aware of everything, but its hard to sustain. Like, when im at work, playing guitar, at school or whatever its hard to note inside my head when i have other things to focus on. Also, its difficult to REMEMBER to note alot of the times haha. I was wondering what some people opinions were on noting practice vs. just general being aware mindfulness in everyday life, without noting the words in your head. Also, it occurred to me this may be more conducive to concentration building?

Noting, the way it has been taught in recent decades, has been meant to help build present moment awareness and to give the mind an alternative activity to counteract the mind's incessant rumination or chaotic mental activity. Once you've been able to somewhat stem this mental chaos, it's okay to drop the mental verbalization. If you use noting for present moment awareness which blends nicely into present moment mindfulness, you should be okay.

Mental noting (mental verbalization) can quickly become mundane and boring if not totally superfluous. It can be okay in the beginning. But after a while, just being mentally aware of whatever is happening around or inside you without verbalizing about it becomes a more efficient way to practice. You KNOW when you are experiencing any phenomenon without having to verbalize about it. Transitioning into this kind of noting awareness, is, I think, the next step you are seeking, which may be seen as being analogous to plain, everyday mindfulness.

If you need some helpful tips about mindfulness and how to achieve it, there's a thread about it here.

In peace,
Ian

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/2/12 7:02 PM as a reply to Brian K..
Brian,
I too have been working on concentration practice and trying to reach jhana.
Someone posted a link to some Ajahn Brahm books which I am reading now but I also found this web site and have been listening to his 2010 retreat talks at this link....
brahmstalks.wordpress.com/retreat-talks/

You might find his take on meditation and jhana interesting as you work on your meditation.

metta
Gerry

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/2/12 9:02 PM as a reply to Brian K..
thanks guys, appreciate all the resources. will check out both those ASAP.

As for today, had a fairly good practice. Kept with the 2 1-hour sits, both went fairly well, cant complain. Afterwards in my day i was able to maintain a stronger sense of mindfulness than ever before. Nothing crazy, but its easier to bring my awareness to the present and beginning to be able to be mindful of different things, like the difference between physical sensations, emotions, mental formations, craving, contentment, neutrality that kind of stuff. pretty interesting. look forward to my practice tomorrow.. i almost didnt think i was going to be able to finish both sits today, but i did with relative easy. will post again tomorrow

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/3/12 11:53 AM as a reply to Brian K..
Good to hear accounts of your successes.
Brian K.:

Afterwards in my day i was able to maintain a stronger sense of mindfulness than ever before. Nothing crazy, but its easier to bring my awareness to the present and beginning to be able to be mindful of different things, like the difference between physical sensations, emotions, mental formations, craving, contentment, neutrality that kind of stuff. pretty interesting.

Your comments above show that you're experiencing the benefits of samatha (calmness) meditation. Keep up the consistent work! You are right now beginning to re-condition the mind. Samatha meditation and samatha absorption (becoming pleasantly absorbed in the meditation object) meditation will help in hastening this process of reconditioning the mind. Now that you've had some positive results with this practice, it should hopefully serve to spur you on to higher and higher achievement.

When you can quiet the mind, it is amazing what you will find that will fill that vacuum! At that point, insight just begins to happen! This is the result of the clarity that quieting the mind brings. When the mind is sitting in this kind of clarity, it becomes able to "see things as they are," hopefully more and more free of personal prejudice and bias as you practice equanimity toward mental formations.

Brian K.:

look forward to my practice tomorrow.. i almost didnt think i was going to be able to finish both sits today, but i did with relative easy. will post again tomorrow

Remember that experience the next time things become difficult and finishing seems difficult. It can become EASY AND EFFORTLESS if you but continue to maintain a diligent effort.

Best wishes for you,

Ian

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/4/12 4:34 PM as a reply to Brian K..
i've tried to post this thing twice already, every time i get distracted by something and takes me off this page, so im gonna make this short as ive already typed this out multiple times. yesterday during my second sit i felt a deeper sense of calm, everything got alot more still at one point and i became very aware of the background high pitched ringing in my ears. it felt good, but it wasnt like, bliss coming out my ass. my mind was still generating thoughts i didnt need, but they were less so. it wasn't really characterized by excessive clarity per se, but it was a calmer state than i usually am able to get into or have been able to get into recently, so that was cool. also my head felt really clear afterwards, i was a bit foggy before because i had been doing schoolwork for hours and hours haha.. today didnt have alot of time got a 30 minute in the morning which went well, just came out of an hour sit a half hour ago, it went crappy. i couldnt focus and i kept getting phone calls. usually my phone is silent or i ignore it but i had to take these calls today unfortunately. so i had 2 stop twice to talk on the phone for like a minute, which kind of interrupted the momentum of my meditation. but oh well, practice is practice and i can practice tomorrow. peace out for today

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/7/12 9:50 AM as a reply to Brian K..
Brian K.:
My goal right now is to access the first jhana hoping it wont take too long (a month or two?) idk if thats realistic or not but either way it really doesnt matter i'm gonna keep practicing til i get it.


It might be more helpful to think of your goal as "attaining a high degree of concentration during sits, fairly reliably". If you set a specific goal (such as "1st jhana"), there will be a tendency to pick a standard for your level of concentration that allows you to meet that goal, which can incline you to cut off the possibility for further development of concentration (as you might think "I have already attained 1st jhana, so now I should work on 2nd" instead of "I have already attained some level of concentration with the factors of the 1st jhana, but now I should work on increasing my concentration and deepening the experience of those factors").

Also, perhaps someone can give me some advice on mindfulness practice in daily life? I've been trying to do noting practice. I do like it and i can see the benefits a little bit already, it forces my mind to be more aware of everything, but its hard to sustain. Like, when im at work, playing guitar, at school or whatever its hard to note inside my head when i have other things to focus on. Also, its difficult to REMEMBER to note alot of the times haha. I was wondering what some people opinions were on noting practice vs. just general being aware mindfulness in everyday life, without noting the words in your head.


Is it any easier to sustain mindfulness (in a clear, precise way), or to remember to be mindful, when you're not noting?

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/7/12 1:45 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Well its easier for me to remember to be mindful, than to remember to note Know what I mean?

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/7/12 1:50 PM as a reply to Brian K..
Past couple of days have been a little rocky in my meditation. Been a decent amount going on in my everyday life and can be difficult to switch from the business of life to finding some stillness in meditation/ managing my time for meditation better.. Such as last night when I planned on meditating at about 10 or 11 after I got home from work, when I was tire. Didn't work out too well. Today my 1st meditation was good, 1 hour fairly good concentration, took a walking meditation for an hour than came back to sit down again for one last sitting session. Felt kind of dull after walking and eating and ended up giving up after about 43 minutes out of the hour I wanted to sit for. It's funny how inconsistent practice can be sometimes, little bit frustrating. Oh well

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
Answer
5/8/12 7:47 PM as a reply to Brian K..
Brian,
I too have busy life responsibilities and know how difficult it can be to take time to meditate.
Set up a spot or room or closet, just any place, where you can have some quiet time just for meditating.
I will describe my little process and maybe that will be of some help.
When I meditate, I intentionally think to myself that I am renouncing all my past and future. This sort of helps me take the time that I am spending meditating to do nothing but focus on the current moment.
When I start I just think about the current moment and notice all the sights, sounds and sensations.
I intend to just let those things be without allowing myself to think about any past thing or any future plans.
After a short while I can see that I have stopped thinking about the past and future.
Then I intend to stop thinking or labeling what I am sensing, hearing, etc.
Only after I have reached that point where I am not running on with thoughts in my head (note that I still hear things, and sense things but I am not running off with thought about them.) ... only after I get to this point do I turn my attention to the breath.
When I first turn my attention to the breath, that is the best moment.
I say that because when I at first turn my attention to the breath I can see how that just having my attention turn there it influences the breath and the breath is not just easy like it is when I am not "looking" at it.
After a while that dies down and I can have a solid focus on the breath.
If my mind does wander off I start over again.
Sometimes my attention doesn't want to "lock" in on the breath but I just sit there and wait and after a while I get a moment that I can sort of catch like catching a swinging rope and I can then "lock" back onto the breath.

You might want to check out some of the Ajahn Brahm talks. He will help you overcome any frustration or anxiety about meditating.

-Namaste
Gerry

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/8/12 10:08 PM as a reply to Gerry T.
Thanks, interesting that you posted this because it very much related to my meditation experience today. Did like 3 hours of meditation today, 2 1- hour sits and 1 1-hour and fifteen minute sit. What I did different this time thoug was very much like u just said. For the beginning of my meditation I just sat down and observed my thoughts. Everytime a thought would come into my head that was just random and useless, I'd try to abandon it as fast as possible, kind of imagined shooting down the thoughts to break the chain of associative thought. I gotta say it worked really well when I started focusing on the breath it was easier to g rid of excess thoughts and the whole meditation felt a little mor spacious and easy. I was able to follow the breath better than usual, even got a short physical rapture out of nowhere once, kept focusing on the breath and was able to count like, from 1 to 10 and back again before losing it which is rare for me. Definitely excited about this technique I tried it helped me get away from the "focus my ass off" mentality I had that made the breath less enjoyable and paradoxically made my focus less sustainable. Cool beans!

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/10/12 11:09 PM as a reply to Brian K..
Hmm. Today I had 1 good sit and one so-so sit. I tried today to stop counting breaths and just breath but it kind of threw me off. Going to keep counting because it's been working. Lets see. Twice today I had an interesting experience, while meditating, and not necessarily while I was extremely focused, well, without being too graphic I noticed I strange tingly feeling at the tip of my sex organ... Never have had this feeling before, it was pleasurable but nothing intense, jjust weird really. After my second sitting where I felt this when I came out I was in a bad mood, maybe because I was pissed my concentration was just so so but I felt kind of emotionally drained for a while afterwards. I went to work and for the first hour just wanted to go to sleep or cry my eyes out or idk what... It went away after a bit but it was weird. It may really have nothing to do with my meditation it could just be whatever goes on in my head on a regular basis but maybe someone has experience with this? I haven't been doing any "insight" practices really from what I've read it's my understanding that such reactions wouldn't come from shamatha breathing meditation,but who Knows... If u have any idea let me know.. Thanks!

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/11/12 10:33 AM as a reply to Brian K..
Yes, this is common. If you can handle the disturbance, just keep going with the practice. Ending your practice with the following energy balancing exercise may help a bit.

Sit quietly, and then bring your attention to a point in your body about two inches below your navel and about two inches in front of your spine. Gently imagine energy collecting there. Then imagine the energy dispersing smoothly throughout your body. Sit quietly for a few minutes. Do this two or three times as necessary.

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/11/12 11:54 AM as a reply to fivebells ..
Cool.. also now im having trouble sitting for longer periods of time and focusing now... its almost like i took a step backward and im procrastinating my meditation... any tips for this to make a sit a little more enjoyable/interessting? Or to help get my discipline down to just sit and deal with it even though i wanna get up? Thanks!

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/11/12 4:48 PM as a reply to Brian K..
What's making it hard to focus/sit?

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/11/12 5:32 PM as a reply to fivebells ..
I'm not sure. I just had a sit where it was good, no problems tried a spinal breathing meditation thing i found on this forum today, figured id try an energy practice cuz i never really fuck with em. sometimes i feel dull, sometimes restless, sometimes both. like my first meditation i might be real concentrated and itll all work out well, and the next i can't keep my focus for jack sh**... today earlier in the day i really found the idea of meditation kind of boring, which made me restless and i didnt really feel like caring about the breath today haha.. idk its probably just the nature of the practice especially the fact i'm not such a strong meditator yet im bound to have trouble some sits and have others go well

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/13/12 10:42 AM as a reply to Brian K..
ok, so as i alluded to in my last post, ive been having trouble maintaining consistency. the time factor is not an issue, im not taking any classes over the summer semester or anything so my only real responsibility is work, which i've curtailed a bit so i have an opportunity to practice meditation more over the next few months. originally, i had planned to do 2 1-hour sits as a minimum, with anything else added on a day to day basis at my discretion. Now i was able to do that for a few days, but im noticiing it is hard to maintain hour long sits on a continually basis. I seem to naturally want to leave meditation at like the 40 - 45 minute mark. So I'm not sure what i want to do here. If i go with 2 45-minute sits then consistency will definitely be easier and much more reasonable to attain on a daily basis. But am i short changing myself? On one hand i feel its better to just get over the hump and white knuckle it until i adapt but my track record shows im just gonna end up coming out of meditation 10 or 15 minutes early anyway. I also dont want to delude myself and say that "doing shorter sits is better because i can work up to longer sits gradually", if really it might just be me not wanting to put in as much work. I may try option 3: Going slightly out of my comfort zone with a 1-hour sit each day, following by a second 45-minute sit. This seems like a good compromise, but what do you guys think???

Sidenote: When I need to switch sitting posture in meditation it can throw me off alot. Does anyone have any good resources for maybe like stretches for flexibility or meditation posture? I need to work on that as well now because my burmese style of sitting brings too much pain and limbs falling asleep during meditation to sit in for more than 30 minutes at a time(it may not be the style of sitting but my inability to sit correctly or be flexible enough, not knocking the posture). thanks

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/13/12 12:06 PM as a reply to Brian K..
Try sitting for an hour and a half a few times Brian. This has also happened to me. It seemed to be my body clock knowing time was almost up so the mind starts getting restless. When you know you still have a long way to go it can help you get over that.

After a few days of this an hour will seem very doable indeed emoticon

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/13/12 12:21 PM as a reply to Brian K..
Brian K.:
I may try option 3: Going slightly out of my comfort zone with a 1-hour sit each day, following by a second 45-minute sit. This seems like a good compromise, but what do you guys think???
Sounds like you're experiencing an internal conflict about whether to keep sitting around 45 minutes. When this kind of thing comes up, it helps to be very clear about what you want out of the process. So, what are you hoping to get out of this? Still 1st Jhana or something else? And why do you want to stop sitting around the 45 minute mark?

Brian K.:
...my burmese style of sitting brings too much pain and limbs falling asleep during meditation to sit in for more than 30 minutes at a time(it may not be the style of sitting but my inability to sit correctly or be flexible enough, not knocking the posture). thanks
If this is contributing to your desire to stop, it would be much, much more productive to just sit in a chair. Some discomfort is unavoidable in meditation practice, but to develop concentration, it really helps to be comfortable and generally at peace.

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/13/12 9:16 PM as a reply to fivebells ..
hmm.. thanks guys. yea ive thought about doing a longer sit or 2 so that by comparison maybe an hour wont look as bad ive done that before to get past the 30 minute mark when i first started. yea my goal is still 1st jhana and when i get to the 45 minute mark, i just get restless and want to get up because idk ive never been good at sitting still for long periods of time haha cant explain it any more complex really... heres my practice evaluation for today:

I believe i did 1-hour sit and 1 45-minute sit, dont remember exactly. i remember distinctly my second sit was probably the most focused i've ever been. Heres what happened, i began to get very still and rapture started to develop perhaps a bit of sukha at times but not so prominent. vitaka and vicara factors were pretty present, i felt very focused on the breath. at one point i can remember thoughts were coming up out of habit still but it was almost like they were bouncing off the breath, like no thought would finish itself once it started it was pretty quickly abandoned which was a very nice feeling... this went well for a while then i started to come out of it and found myself at a normal level again and couldnt really get that concentration back. oh well it was still a step in the right direction. What was strange and i've noticed this about a couple other meditations where ive had similar experience where i get very focused but then it kind of fades away, is that when i came out of it to a less concentrated state, i was surprised to see that not as much time as i thought had passed.. this was odd to me cuz i would think the more concentrated i am the faster time would go by (or at least not go slower) all this happened within about the first 25 minutes of my mediation and i thought the 45 minutes was about to be up and i still had another like 20 minutes left. so that also i think contributes to my wanting to leave meditation early, i think that its closer to over than it is and i get restless. whatever, kind of weird.

On one last note, i did a formal noting practice today for the first time. ive noted in daily life but never really sat and just noted. i did the for 30 minutes. was very focused, actually. i felt very at ease the whole time and it was the fastest 30 minutes i think i'd ever experienced in meditation haha. my goal with the noting is not necessarily to delve into insight just yet, even though i know its an insight meditation, but to help me build mindfulness outside of meditation. noting seems to me the most effective way for me to remain mindful throughout the day, im just not familiar enough with it that is a habit, and i want it to be. so i figured im gonna try a little 30 minute noting sit each day, just to get my engine going on the whole thing you know? anyway, i'm very interested in seeing where my practice will take me tomorrow, will post in another 24 hours!

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/14/12 11:32 AM as a reply to Brian K..
If you're still aiming for jhana, get comfortable, perhaps by sitting in a chair. Try to arrange things so there is no need to move due to discomfort for at least an hour. There's a good chance this will help with the restlessness, too. You can always move to an ancient posture later.

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/14/12 5:36 PM as a reply to fivebells ..
I'll give the chair a go

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/15/12 9:37 PM as a reply to Brian K..
hmm lets see nothing too crazy to report just normal practice.. still struggling with consistency. sometimes i jsut cant get my mind to quiet down when i want it to. im starting to notice the difference though that my regular activities make in my concentration. for instance, if i spend an hour surfing the web and/or watching tv, then i go sit to meditate, my mind is all over the place and does NOT want to settle down. So, i'm gonna have to work a little harder in being more focused in my everyday activities, and do alot less things like tv and computer that are basically just like an attention span drug, just feeding into an endless proliferation of associative thought patterns. nevertheless though, i do need to be able to bring the mind to a quiet, focused place when i sit down to meditate, any thoughts on how to achieve this? For instance, if i sit down to meditate and my thoughts are all over the place or i feel restless bladyblah blah, would it be best to just kind of discipline myself to get through the meditation anyway, as best i can? When i try to do that, i usually find its hard to really to focus for the rest of the sit, im basically just sitting there. but when that happens i usually get up. I think that if when that happened, i just stuck it out and tried my best to find some stability, eventually it would even out better than giving up on a meditation session. Its just hard to sit there when im not feelin it you know? maybe i just need to work on my discipline.

Also, what are some thoughts on time of meditation sessions? I have alot of free time now and plenty of flexibility in my schedule, so i have alot of options. Ive been trying to do my meditation in one chunk, in the morning. in a couple of sits. How do some of you feel about doing this, as opposed to pacing it throughout the day, like 1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon, and 1 at night? Also how do you feel about a set time to do meditation every single day, as if u had to be at work at 7am everyday, u do meditation at 7am everyday.. id be interested in some of ur meditation habits and how they affect your practice

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/16/12 10:24 AM as a reply to Brian K..
Brian K.:
...i do need to be able to bring the mind to a quiet, focused place when i sit down to meditate...


Practicing to reach Jhana is a worthy goal, but this is where it can get problematic. To reach Jhana, you do need to quiet the mind, but it is important to remember that the method you're practicing says nothing about quieting the mind. The practice is to keep returning attention to the breath and resting there.

The thing is, the thoughts themselves aren't really the problem: when you have the intention to do so, you know how to stop a thought (though it might start up again immediately after.) The core of the problem is that your conditioning is shifting you to a different set of values and goals which undermine your intention to attend to the present experience of the breath. The practice of returning attention to the breath and resting there is establishing fresh conditioning which strengthens the intention of your practice. As that intention strengthens, the mind will quiet of its own accord.

(By the way, a problem with the way I just formulated that is that you might conclude that a wandering mind is some kind of failure of will, a moral failure to upbraid yourself for. That is not the case. Everyone has this conditioning undermining their intentions. Try to do the practice without any sense of opposition to the thoughts, the conditioning, or anything else which seems to get in the way of your goal. Any sense of opposition will only make things harder, because you'll be conditioning yourself to the conflict, not to the intention to rest attention on the breath.)

Brian K.:
...if i sit down to meditate and my thoughts are all over the place or i feel restless bladyblah blah, would it be best to just kind of discipline myself to get through the meditation anyway, as best i can? When i try to do that, i usually find its hard to really to focus for the rest of the sit, im basically just sitting there. but when that happens i usually get up.


Just keep returning attention to the breath and resting there. Even if you have to return to the breath 200 times a minute, it is no cause for frustration, because it is excellent practice for strengthening the intention to rest attention there.

Brian K.:
Also, what are some thoughts on time of meditation sessions? I have alot of free time now and plenty of flexibility in my schedule, so i have alot of options. Ive been trying to do my meditation in one chunk, in the morning. in a couple of sits. How do some of you feel about doing this, as opposed to pacing it throughout the day, like 1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon, and 1 at night?


One chunk is better. More is better.

Brian K.:
Also how do you feel about a set time to do meditation every single day, as if u had to be at work at 7am everyday, u do meditation at 7am everyday.. id be interested in some of ur meditation habits and how they affect your practice


This is a good idea for a beginning practitioner, but don't be shy about practicing some other time on days when the scheduled time doesn't work out for you for some reason.

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/21/12 2:27 AM as a reply to Brian K..
Haven't posted in a few days partly because haven't been practicing a whole lot and partly because not much has changed. The only thing that is different in the last couple sits is being able to identify different levels of mind noise in my head. Once I get rid of the gross distractions such as not thinking of the breath at all, I can start notice all these extremely small subtle snippets of thoughts in the background of the breath, rarely ever totally subsiding. These are much harder to get rid of. Will keep practicing to work on this. Will post more soon

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/25/12 6:10 PM as a reply to Brian K..
Everythings been pretty so-so/normal lately. Occasionally i'll have really good sits, but often i cant get the mind into any sort of absorbed state. Been doing a bit of noting practice, one sit a day. I find its helping me be mindful during daily activity alot so its been helping. Also sometimes i can get pretty concentrated when doing this, cuz its like note - note - note -note theres not really much chance for wandering thought to come in unless i am in a sleepy or dull state of mind and it starts to wander off noting entirely. Sometimes when i do noting i can get into a very night, light feeling where the concentration on it is easy. I want to experiment with that soon,start noting get into that kind of quick, mindful state then hit up some concentration practice to see if it helps. Anyway, had 3 sits so far today. 30mins noting, 50 minutes breathing and another 50 minutes breathing. In my second breathing sitting, well, it was pretty bad ass! I had that nice, absorbed kind of state going on (i dont mean jhana, but that in the zone kind of thing) so i had a bit of rapture and perhaps a weeee bit of contentment factor, the whole 50 minutes flew by and i came out of it feeling very refreshed. Also felt pressure in the front of my head in between my eye brows, which i get sometimes and i read somewhere is a sign of concentration. Still waiting for the nimitta to appear, a bit anxious to see what its like and to finally get into a jhana. But, overall im seeing progress little by little and it only makes me want to practice more! And im on break from school now until the spring and only work about 3 sometimes 4 days a week so i have plenty of free time. Plan on using the upcoming months for hardcore meditation practice, averaging on 3 - 5 hours a day. Will keep posting

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/30/12 12:37 PM as a reply to Brian K..
This sucks. I have just hit a wall, i cant really focus for shit. It almost feels like an exercise in futility when i go to sit now. Idk why. I missed one day of practice and i think that screwed with my momentum but ive been practicing regularly since and havent gotten it back when i feel i should have. Been doing noting practice here and there, shoot for once a day and 2 breathing sits a day. Just cant stop the thoughts in my head, cant focus on the breath, and im just getting really frustrated. if anyone can help please do

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/30/12 2:02 PM as a reply to Brian K..
imagine you are digging a tunnel down through your suffering to freedom, there are lots of different things you have to dig through and sometimes what you have to dig through is a bunch of dog shit. everyone has dog shit between their current location and freedom, there might be a lot and there might be a little, but you can't control how much there is, you can only control the way you dig.

my suggestion would be to take a sit and just be aware of the frustration, the inability to focus, the runaway thoughts, all the suffering, just be aware of it all as an experience. don't try to change it or even understand it, just be aware of it. treat everything as "just another sensation" and let whatever sensations occur simply play themselves out however they will.

the worst way you can mess yourself up is by constantly thinking that your practice isn't working, that's just the shit messing with you, instead just keep digging through it. don't trust your thoughts, instead just be aware of whatever experience comes up.

the suffering is clearly outside of your control, and if you try to control it you are just creating aversion. so instead just be aware of it without trying to change it and give it "space" to work itself out.

RE: Jhana-Seeking Practice Log
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5/30/12 2:25 PM as a reply to Brian K..
There's no need to stop the thoughts and focus on the breath as an act of will. That is actually counterproductive, and the worst outcome would be to succeed at doing it, but fortunately that is not possible. Just keep returning attention to the breath each time it falls away, and that practice alone will lead you to stability. Also, probably a good idea to drop the noting until the stability returns.