The Practice of Nonpreference

Jack Hatfield, modified 8 Years ago at 11/24/14 9:43 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/24/14 9:42 AM

The Practice of Nonpreference

Posts: 98 Join Date: 7/5/10 Recent Posts
Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago at 11/24/14 10:38 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 11/24/14 10:36 AM

RE: The Practice of Nonpreference

Posts: 1664 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Tolerating the pain when it's needless is not a great practice. Unless you expect to be tortured in a jail I think tolerating some physical discomfort and emotional dislike is the main goal. You don't want to injure yourself physically or mentally. What you want to do with non-preference is to look at preferences as current habits and move with non-preference into different territory for yourself so that you don't get locked into a certain way of life. Taking painkillers is not the right route. Some of them are worse than alcohol. Try different positions (including sitting in a chair - which is what I do) and focus on developing new heathy habits on or off the cushion. Meditation is only one part of the practice. Dealing with intentions and actions is the other part and in fact the most important part because of how we affect other people. If you're less attached to preferences you have more freedom of action.



  I have been thinking about the article called “The Practice of Nonpreference”:  Once or twice a month I do a 2-3 hour sit without moving. Everything is fine until approximately the 1-½ hour mark when an intense pain starts  in my leg. I can talk a good game on how to deal with this but I’m not
so good in actuality.

I do practice non-preference everyday in my meditation sessions. No problem and no struggle on minor phenomena. It might be that my daily practice will build up my capacity over time to deal with more intense  pain.

The point of not moving to alleviate the pain is to mirror those occasions when I can’t do anything to turn the pain off. Some things I have tried are to watch the pain as an object of meditation, see the aversion to it, its change, the story if any, etc., if they arise. This doesn’t work for me. It remains a struggle against reality.

I was talking to someone after a sangha meeting about this and they
suggested taking a pain reliever before our meeting. I responded that
way I wouldn’t learn anything. My objective in all this is to stop the
struggle not the pain. Comments?