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Analysis During Meditation

Analysis During Meditation
5/27/14 8:17 PM
I consider myself to be a beginner meditator with much to learn. I was just reading an excerpt by Thanissaro about appropriate attention ( and it touched on analyzing the sensations you experience during your meditation, or at least that was how I interpreted it. For a while now I have been under the impression that when you are meditating, you just notice the sensations, not anaylze them. From what I have previously learned, I understand that I am not supposed to perpetuate thought but just watch it instead I guess.

This arose some questions - am I supposed to be analyzing things as I meditate? I suppose that sometimes this happens naturally, it just happens on its on. I have a good example from one of my sits today actually. For a while now I have been experiencing these 'bursts' of energy in my body when I sit, kind of like little pricks of needles inside or outside of my body. Today as I was sitting, the 'burst' lingered for a few moments and a thought popped into my head - could this actually be my body vibrating instead of random energy bursts? Am I just concentrated enough to notice this now?

I might be answering my own question but any sort of direction would be appreciated. Has this been discussed by any authors, or in Daniel's book, or perhaps by Buddha himself? I am still a noob here and haven't done alot of reading necessarily. I have just been practicing.


RE: Analysis During Meditation
5/28/14 5:48 AM as a reply to Jake.
This is quite a complex topic, but an interesting and important one.
Yes, the Buddha mentions this in the suttas.
The answer depends a bit on which kind of  meditation you practice.
If you are doing insight practice, it's more a kind of noticing that goes on. You watch what happens. Like you said. But it's also staying alert, noticing when you're mindful, when a hindrance gets in the way, how to regain mindfulness.
If you are practicing jhanas then - many teachers say in between the jhanas, some say during - you analyze things as soon as you come out of a jhana. The first jhana contains jhana factors, two of them are what is called applied thought - where you put your attention onto the meditation object - and sustained thought where you keep your attention focused on that object, without the attention sliding away from the object.
If you work towards enlightenment (some people use meditation just to relax, which is fine but has no goal other than to feel good), then you will need to see the Three Characteristics, in everything.
These three are: impermanence (everything is continually arising and passing away), dukkha (suffering, in many forms, light or heavy) and not self. It's not like you just do that, I think it's a learning curve. Basically the buddha said that there is our reality (working, going to school,persons, buildings, falling in love) and there is the real reality, which is that everything has these three characteristics and you can't rely on anything, because everything is constantly arising out of causes and passing away for good. And this goes on so fast that we can't possibly comprehend it.
So, this is something we need to fully understand and meditating is the (only) way to see that this 'real reality' exists, it's not some vague philosophy, but it is very, very real.
Daniel - the owner of this forum - loves to mention sutta 111, in the majjima nikaya
, which is about a chief disciple of the Buddha, who was famous for his analytical skills. In this sutta you'll see that Sariputta noticed many things in the jhanas, it shows very nicely that you don't just sit back, but are aware of all the factors 'in there'.
However, it's not like you analyze everything during the meditation, like you would do afterwards. It's more that you need to see the objects and recognize; this is a thought, now it's gone, this is an emotion and that is how it feels in the body. Now there is an itch, now it is gone; ah, impermance. You see them, notice the characteristics of every object and you recognize that you are not mindful anymore and you correct that, or you notice how a hindrance is arising and why it arose and how you can remove it. Even outside of meditation you can do that.

I'm sure others can explain it better and I probably forgot some things, but hopefully it is helpful.

RE: Analysis During Meditation
5/30/14 7:17 AM as a reply to No-Second-Arrow Z.
Rob Burbea says vipassana as in neutrally being mindful of phenomena arising and passing away is very useful. But, another gear is observing phenomena through a "filter". An example might be trying to see the 3 Characteristics in action. I understand this to mean not conceptually analyzing. It is more a looking for something.