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How important is momentum?

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How important is momentum?
Answer
6/22/12 1:54 PM
I've been doing variations of noting/noticing practice both on and off the cushion for close to a year now. My perceptual abilities are markedly clarified, but I sort of feel like I'm going through the motions lately. I can tune into the flow of impermanence and just ride the ebb and flow for long periods, the attention wave is very noticeable and clear, and in general it's just easy for me to follow the instructions outlined in MCTB/Practical Insight Meditation/Shinzen's 5 Ways.

But I only really do this for 30-40 minutes at a time during my formal sits (once a day), and then for short bursts throughout the day (1-2 minutes at a time, a couple dozen times a day.)

Is momentum very important here? Do I need to turn up the intensity of investigation by not allowing the effort to be so diffused throughout the day? An extended retreat isn't really possible now, though I may be able to work out a solo weekend retreat in the near future.

I dunno, I'm just looking for some practical advice and wondering if I'm "bobbing in the shallows" because I'm not putting enough effort in.

RE: How important is momentum?
Answer
6/22/12 2:08 PM as a reply to bud ..
What's the goal of your practice?

RE: How important is momentum?
Answer
6/22/12 2:11 PM as a reply to fivebells ..
fivebells .:
What's the goal of your practice?
MCTB stream entry

RE: How important is momentum?
Answer
6/22/12 2:52 PM as a reply to bud ..
As far as momentum goes, I think it helps a lot. I notice that I can get up during a sit, maybe answer the phone or go to the bathroom, and sit back down in the same state and stage without missing a beat. And, whereas I may be at a stage where it typically takes 30 minutes to reach my edge, if I've practiced in the morning it will take me half as long to get there in the afternoon. Maybe 30-45 minutes isn't enough to hit your edge and progress? I dunno.

I figure it took me 500-600 hours of sitting to hit stream entry. That's roughly an average of 2 hours per day. But my practice off the cushion is nil.

RE: How important is momentum?
Answer
6/22/12 4:59 PM as a reply to bud ..
I dunno, I'm just looking for some practical advice and wondering if I'm "bobbing in the shallows" because I'm not putting enough effort in.

I always need to say this before I talk about momentum and stream entry, but the way I got Path was probably quite different to most people. I had never worked with insight practice in the way it's practiced Buddhism, but had been inadvertently observing the 3C's, with emphasis on impermanence, for about two months solidly prior to getting Path, which I didn't even realize at the time until I found this site. So, in my experience, and as I understand it from the practices of others on here who've done it, momentum is essential to eventually flipping it and landing Path.

You're training your mind to observe the fundamental nature of reality in all it's impermanent, empty and tension-packed glory; if you're only doing that seriously for 30-40 minutes a day then it's going to take you much longer than, for example, someone who's doing 2-3 hours of sitting per day and bringing their practice into daily life. I'd also include consistency of practice as well as momentum, doing sloppy practice for four days out of seven is pretty useless, but if you can ensure you're noting and observing phenomena accurately, to the point where you're able just incline your mind towards seeing the arising and passing of anything in the sense field, then you'll stand a far better of chance of getting it.

Think of it this way: To get stream entry, you basically need to see what it is that still implies an "I" observing this experience; there are a finite number of possible "points of entry" where a sensation can be observed, and a, seemingly, infinite range sensations observable by the human body. Dan used the analogy of "shooting aliens" in MCTB, which is quite a useful way to think about it, you're basically 'shooting' sensations with a 3C's 'lazerbeam'.

Useful? If not, ask away and I'll see what I can suggest - It's entirely possible, and that's one of the most important things to remember, don't give up or allow yourself to feel defeated 'cause it's all just more of the same transient, empty sensations.

Btw, I'm actually writing up a response to your question about intent so I'll post it in that thread when I'm done.

RE: How important is momentum?
Answer
6/22/12 8:56 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:


Useful? If not, ask away and I'll see what I can suggest - It's entirely possible, and that's one of the most important things to remember, don't give up or allow yourself to feel defeated 'cause it's all just more of the same transient, empty sensations.

Btw, I'm actually writing up a response to your question about intent so I'll post it in that thread when I'm done.
Thank you, yes, helpful as usual. Sort of what I expected anyway. I have a bad habit of letting a period of good practice condition a period of slacking off and laziness. Time to ratchet up the consistency and duration and just get this done.