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Why do I/you resist sitting?

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Why do I/you resist sitting?
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Answer
7/10/12 9:13 PM
Today I've been resisting sitting, even though I know I'll feel better when I do it. I assume some of you guys have similar problems--maybe for different reasons (also I guess I shouldn't assume sitting makes you feel better)--and I'd be interested to hear them.

I'll go first: Today I'm processing some difficult emotions from yesterday, and when this happens I often don't feel like sitting because I'll have to look at them directly. Beyond all the true things about how that's precisely what to examine and all that, I know intuitively (and correctly) that sitting down and looking at the emotions will be painful. It is true, however, that when I actually sit down with the feelings it's not that bad, and it's undeniably healthy.

This doesn't feel like a "Motivation" question--I know what I get out of practice, but sometimes I sort of get blindsided by this or that block, usually for not more than a day at a time.

So, basically, what causes you to miss days of sitting?

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/10/12 9:39 PM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
Sitting is goddamn boring.

Why not go to a nightclub, have a few drinks to loosen up, then try the following:

-- feel the music. Get in tune with the rhythms and how they flow. Watch the DJ - if he's any good he'll be right in synch with his tunes and blissing out. Feel his vibe.

-- let the music move you. Just let it do what it's designed to do. You'll find your toe tapping or head bobbing or whatever. Notice how the bass fills the room, and that you're part of it. And everyone else is part of it. Watch people who are really letting go, because that's what meditation is... letting go. Feel what they are feeling.

-- let go and move; connect with people. People will smile, smile back. Stay with/in the music.

Or try sport. Also a great meditation.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/11/12 2:14 PM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
Oh man, I've been resisting sitting MAJORLY for the past several months. I think for me I resist for precisely the reason you're supposed to meditate: my mind is continually in seeking mode and doesn't want to stop, even though I know it will never find satisfaction in the things it's seeking. And yes, I do feel better when I meditate; I remember, oh yeah, this is what it is to be truly satisfied, and then immediately forget and even disbelieve that once I get wrapped up in something. I suppose the solution would be to "never leave one's place of meditation," but that's basically impossible given my circumstances.

And also, I find meditation difficult. I wouldn't say it's boring, but it definitely requires patience and focus (obviously), and I feel aversion to that when I think of sitting.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/11/12 2:55 PM as a reply to Morgan Taylor.
The anxiety of anxiety. The tension is already there in the body but it's still somewhat possible to distract oneself from it. We know that meditating mean facing this reality and things will get worse before they get better. Learning to break that wall isn't easy but is key to progress. Bring it to the present moment as much as you can. Instead of thinking "I should be meditating" think "I should move my hand away from the mouse" (or whatever you are doing to distract yourself). Make pause between each steps. Contemplate the tension. The meditation doesn't begin on the cushion. It begin right here right now. Since we are doing this off-retreat, meditation on the cushion isn't enough for progress. Constant mindfulness is necessary.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/11/12 8:22 PM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
Facing pain head on - that's what sitting on a cushion means for me. So it really depends on how much pain there is to face. If there's not much, then it's a pleasure to sit and do nothing (I've had that on rare occasions). If there is a lot of pain, then brace yourself to feel a lot, lot worse. The key to facing pain head on is not just about attention, because subtle judgment will operate silently in the background and ruin everything. Non-judgment is absolutely essential. Can you watch your painful thoughts and allow them to be just as they are?

I don't watch the breath, because that ends in deep depression. It is unnatural and harmful.

This is what I do:
I say "This is how I am", and as I say it, I'm looking at tension in my body and negativity in my thoughts and I'm doing it with an attitude of *wanting no change*. I actively encourage aspects of myself to not change, to be fully themselves. If I have a knot in my gut and a thought that says "I want to kill that ####", then I encourage the fullness of that, I build it, I allow it, I give it centre stage. I see it as good. Bad is good. Negative is good. Tension is good.

Never enter meditation with an aim such as "I intend 2nd jhana". Because built into that is all sorts of beliefs like "well to do that I'd have to quiet the mind, so I better quiet the mind". This goes on without you knowing it, and all of a sudden you're trying to be somewhere else, trying to be something you're not, trying to achieve something.

ATTAINMENT! This word needs changing big time. Look at all the wrong assumptions that are built into that. "I attained stream entry!!" So now my self is a self with an attainment attached to it, like a boy scout badge of honour for work done. Spiritual growth is about stripping things away, not adding things, goddamnit. If there was a good teacher, he'd be like a sargeant ripping the stripes off a corporal's sleeve for misbehaving. Then he'd rip the shirt off your back, then your arms and legs and head.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/12/12 4:05 PM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
Hi guys,

Morgan Taylor's post seems to sound a lot like what I sometimes go through. In part it's like, sitting is satisfying, but it's not the kind of satisfying that drives you to find it again tomorrow, like some really intensely pleasurable things are. At least, that's not been true for me yet.

So Simon, is your advice just sort of "handle the little things," like "first get up from your computer"? Does that work for you?

And C C C, I read your advice as, first, spend more time in nightclubs, and second, don't conceptualize pain as "bad" but investigate what it is. I'm inclined to try the second one since it's free. Does it work for you, in the sense of helping you get to and stay on the cushion?

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/12/12 4:55 PM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
Frederick Meyer:
Hi guys,

Morgan Taylor's post seems to sound a lot like what I sometimes go through. In part it's like, sitting is satisfying, but it's not the kind of satisfying that drives you to find it again tomorrow, like some really intensely pleasurable things are. At least, that's not been true for me yet.

So Simon, is your advice just sort of "handle the little things," like "first get up from your computer"? Does that work for you?

And C C C, I read your advice as, first, spend more time in nightclubs, and second, don't conceptualize pain as "bad" but investigate what it is. I'm inclined to try the second one since it's free. Does it work for you, in the sense of helping you get to and stay on the cushion?


I am all for a continous approach to mindfulness, from morning to evening. I consider cushion time just a period where I can really get deeper. The challenges somewhat change from one stage to another. During some stages, you feel the importance of the practice since your mind is such a mess. Sometimes you have high energy to face the pain, sometimes you don't. Still, tension is pain is always an issue and it's our inability to attend to it that make it so hard to sit.

So, instead of thinking "I should be meditating", simply cultivate awareness and work with that. Replace "I should sit" by "I should pay attention". Direct that will of paying attention to the task that you feel you should be doing. If you feel you should be doing the dishes, do the dishes mindfully. If you feel you should walk toward the cushion, walk toward the cushion. It's always about bringing your mind in that moment. You can feel your fingers on the keys when you type, pay attention to sounds, air, etc. Sitting time is just a moment you take to put 100% of your energy at paying attention.

Learn to make pause just to pay attention to whatever arises. Slow down instead of being caught in one activity after another. When you walk by a nice girl, pay attention to how it feel in your body instead of moving your eyes on her. Pay attention to your body when someone cut you on the road (well, keep the eyes on the road too).

I'm all for a "fake it until you make it" approach.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/12/12 9:08 PM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
Frederick Meyer:
Hi guys,

And C C C, I read your advice as, first, spend more time in nightclubs, and second, don't conceptualize pain as "bad" but investigate what it is. I'm inclined to try the second one since it's free. Does it work for you, in the sense of helping you get to and stay on the cushion?


It would have been better if I'd said "have fun, and then get absorbed in the sensations", because that will get you out of your head, out of thinking. Spend more time in nightclubs if you enjoy movement and music as meditation. Don't spend any time in nightclubs if movement and music don't naturally interest you. Fun helps me, yes. It helps everyone, which is why everyone in the world naturally seeks it out. Fun gets you out of your head.

Maybe I'll re-phrase the second post I made also. I try to bring acceptance to whatever (or however) it is I am at that moment. If I'm hating, anxious, or guilt ridden, I allow it. I'm not interested in investigating pain as such. It's much more like therapy than meditation. Any successful therapy has at its core "acceptance despite the pain, acceptance despite the difficulty". The patient provides the story, and the therapist provides the acceptance and attention. While it's much better if someone else provides the acceptance, you can do it yourself to some degree.

More and more I realize that the best help and advice is the type you'd get from a good (non-intellectual) friend. He'd say:
1. Why are you wasting time sitting on that cushion with your legs crossed? Just have fun!
2. Just accept yourself as you are.
An intellectual friend would over analyze things and create a rabbit warren of ideas to solidify the misery. Intellectuals really are horrible people to be around. I'm a recovering intellectual.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/13/12 4:14 AM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
I resist sitting because I already do more than enough sitting in my job.

So I lie down instead emoticon

Seriously, it may be that you're not resisting "sitting" defined as "meditation", but simply the sitting itself.

If you resist meditation, it could simply be because your body is sick of the sitting position. No wonder, we already tend to do too much sitting. Also, if you sit in some sort of lotus, your body may be resisting the strain on the knees caused by this position.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/13/12 9:09 AM as a reply to Brother Pussycat.
Brother Pussycat:
I resist sitting because I already do more than enough sitting in my job.

So I lie down instead emoticon

Seriously, it may be that you're not resisting "sitting" defined as "meditation", but simply the sitting itself.

If you resist meditation, it could simply be because your body is sick of the sitting position. No wonder, we already tend to do too much sitting. Also, if you sit in some sort of lotus, your body may be resisting the strain on the knees caused by this position.


Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

I was going to ask if having the exact opposite problem counted. I can't get enough of "sitting", but like BP I lie down, rather than sit (most of the time) --i sit 3 times a day for 40-60mins but will get 4x in if circumstances allow.

Have you tried lying down? If you feel drowsy, just open your eyes!

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/14/12 8:01 AM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
Forgetting about the importance of right effort was for me a cause for this resistance.

I'll try to practice lying down to see if i can stay awake.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/15/12 1:05 PM as a reply to Masauwu ..
Thanks, guys. I think the strongest takeaway for me so far has been to notice and explore the resistance itself, rather than buying completely into it and then trying to see what to "do about it."

It's also an interesting thought that my body simply doesn't like sitting up straight, unsupported, for long periods. But I wonder if lying down would completely change the experience. I know, mind is mind--but different body postures do seem to encourage different states of mind, which I think is why I've been advised not to slouch in (sitting) meditation.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/16/12 3:35 AM as a reply to Frederick Meyer.
Frederick Meyer:
Thanks, guys. I think the strongest takeaway for me so far has been to notice and explore the resistance itself, rather than buying completely into it and then trying to see what to "do about it."

It's also an interesting thought that my body simply doesn't like sitting up straight, unsupported, for long periods. But I wonder if lying down would completely change the experience. I know, mind is mind--but different body postures do seem to encourage different states of mind, which I think is why I've been advised not to slouch in (sitting) meditation.


Speaking for myself, I haven't noticed any difference in the meditative experience when sitting or lying down. I suppose it's easier to get drowsy while lying down, but as Bagpuss says, just keep your eyes open, or, if you have the time, simply take a nap first and meditate afterwards.

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/16/12 12:28 PM as a reply to Brother Pussycat.
Brother Pussycat:
I resist sitting because I already do more than enough sitting in my job.

So I lie down instead emoticon


Same here!! emoticon

Yeah, I answered this assuming "sitting" just referred to pure meditation, e.g. not while doing anything else. However, I find that I resist vipassana while doing activities as well. I realized that I'm basically addicted to conventional thinking!! Even though it's full of tension!! That's just how it is, I guess. I think the answer is to remind myself that I'm basically willingly bringing pain upon myself or, in Buddha's words, remind myself of the drawbacks of sensuality, but sometimes I just don't. Once I get burned badly enough by reality, however, I usually come back to meditation willingly (which happened recently, actually).

RE: Why do I/you resist sitting?
Answer
7/29/12 1:38 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
Shamanic drumming is similar to this; I find a lot of things in shamanism interesting, and a lot of other things not applicable to me or superfluous. One thing that's nice about a little more shamanic attitude is that the striving for attainment is dropped, because attainment isn't ever talked about in the first place; there also isn't any figure like the buddha to measure yourself against. It's just trancing out with a drum, and seeing where it takes you.