Newbie help

Darrell, modified 6 Years ago.

Newbie help

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
I should have chosen the user name "the Riddler" as I'm nothing but questions emoticon

My current practice is made up of sitting in the morning, and again at night for an hour each. I've been reading MCTB, and practicing the noting technique from the impermanence section of the book. I practice the noting as much as possible throughout the day. I listen to talks on CD when i'm in the car.

Is there anything fundamental, or important that I'm not doing that should be a part of any effective practice?
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Darrell,

First, thanks for sharing your practice. Meditation, self-reflection at this sort of particulate level of "What am I? What's this?" plain watching is a hobby I love and am grateful for.

What I wish I had considered in the very beginning, or perhaps what just seems really significant to me now, is compassion (karuna). 

So in addition to metta (from mitto, "friend" in Pāli), there is karuna: just empathy with yourself/myself/sentients for needing/wanting whatever you/me/someone wants in this activity (here, meditation, a mental study of seeing how mind works and sort of seeing its zero-point and from there how it rebuilds on a reliable basis).

This self-compassion is not pity, but just it is both awareness of how things are in any given moment and for your/my/a life that is trying to live and be happy and well-feeling and is often taking actions for that reason, to have well-being.

_____
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Darrell, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
The timing of this is curious. Only last week did I come across a description of Metta practice/meditation. I really need it, as I'm a recovering cynic and pessimist. Sure, sounds amusing, but I really have had to acknowledge the real need to get rid of those habits of thought and perception. It's a terrible way to live. And this obviously indicates defilements and impediments that will interfere with my progress and evolution.
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Darrell:
The timing of this is curious. Only last week did I come across a description of Metta practice/meditation. I really need it, as I'm a recovering cynic and pessimist. Sure, sounds amusing, but I really have had to acknowledge the real need to get rid of those habits of thought and perception. It's a terrible way to live. And this obviously indicates defilements and impediments that will interfere with my progress and evolution.
I agree.

It was very hard for me to even start a wholehearted practice, becuase the mental lens of cynicism and pessimism turns as much on itself as it does on people and conditions around it.

And there can be a lot of environmental cynicism/pessimism/snarkiness/defensive superiority that makes one feel exposed for not maintaining a cynical/pessimisstic defense.

But to me, we're not talking about cultivating any sort of 'opposite to cynism', like perhaps a gleeful view (?). To me, we're just talking about letting go of the negative biases for a period of time, for a period of mental training. 

What was useful to me was to start in a very comfortable way, like sitting in a comfy chair at sunrise and sunset and breathing and enjoying a relaxed state (consistently welcoming the mind back to attention the body-wide sensations of breath or at the upper lip for that "training" time). I sense that when the mind and body get relaxed and decide to welcome the present sensations and just abide with friendliness in the breath, for example, that the fascia around the muscles seem to release some chemicals, because the body can just turn into a boundaryless heavy blob of ease and comfort during that breathing. 

So when I started to enjoy the sitting, that refuge of the breath or hammock-like comfort in the breath, I saw it could be used during my commute and then actually cultivated at work.

And when the protective and cynical mental pathways fire up again I have the basis for compassion: oh, yes, a living being, afraid, irritated/irritating, concerned about environment and future for younger ones, concerned with various agendas and resource competitions... oh, yes, there's pessimism.. and here's compassion for all leaving beings who go through life, survival, hopes, desires, defense, effort, wholesome vulnerability  and any beings that become overwhelmly biased in a fear/aversion mind such that simple well-being and the cultivation of a reliably well mind may have been alienated for some time. 


So, Darrell, thank you.



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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 1356 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Darrell:
I've been...practicing the noting technique from the impermanence section of the book.

MCTB Impermanence:
I will relate four of the many little exercises that I sometimes do

In your own words you are doing what?
~D
Darrell, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
In my own words? Who else's whould I use? ;)

It varies. I often use the feet, paying attention to when sensations arise, and when they pass. Which foot it is happening in, I feel something in my left foot, okay, now the right. Oh, there's something in the left again. And so on. I sometimes will use my hands, or a just a single finger on each hand. I do those things when I can sit still and focus. If I'm taking a walk, or driving the car, I try to note as many diferent sensations as I am able. Including thought, mind state, and although it's rather vague for me, feeling tone. When walking for instance, I take whatever makes its presence known. My feet on the ground, birds chirping, traffic passing, changes in temperature, a scent in the air. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I do have difficulty getting that "echo" or "resonance" that Daniel mentions, but I persist in this trusting that the "mental impressions" willcome in time.

The other thing I'm doing is to relax and stay mindful of the present moment while noting. I've figured out (duh!) that if I'm tense, there's little or no chance of getting the mental impression/echo/resonance. As well, if I'm not present, *right here* in this very moment, again, I won't have a chance of getting the "slippery mental impression."
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 1356 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Darrell:
Is there anything fundamental, or important that I'm not doing that should be a part of any effective practice?
I have and still do start every meditation with concentration on the breath. Usually I  count the breath to 10 several times then move to counting to one as a mantra with each breath. Once I get concentrated I then I switch to noticing and labeling the object of what I noticed. If I can drop the labeling portion and just notice... I do that, but often I get lost in thoughts without the labeling part of the practice.


I recommend  Magick and the Brahma Viharas as an additional practice. Whether you like the magickal aspect or not it is interesting to think about.

~D
Darrell, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Interesting. I was very interested in Crowley and Thelema when i was in my late teens and twenties. But the Brahma Viharas are something I'll need to get up to speed on.

I'm still working on just staying with the breath when I sit. I've committed to myself to stay with paying very close attention to the breath until I develop greater concentration. I've been jumping from one thing to another for a while, and decided I needed to settle one one thing and stay with it until I've seen some solid results.
matthew sexton, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 314 Join Date: 1/14/14 Recent Posts
Plan a retreat?  A half day where you sit on and off for several hours.  A weekend where you sit all day long for a few days.  A 10 day! emoticon

The first thing I did was a 10 day retreat, and it was an amazing way to start.  It put me right on that 2/hr a day habbit.  First path, I'm thinking, happend 15 months later. I don't think I anything would have really happened without that retreat.

Matt
Darrell, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Ten day retreat? Check! I got the okay from the Goenka Vipassana in Jesup, Ga just two weeks ago. I'm going June 3rd to June 14th. I'm planning on doing two ten day retreats each year. I travel for free, so I'd like to try some other retreats, but can't afford more than about 200.00 (unless my finances change). Anyway, I digress.

I'll use your idea about the half and full days for those times when my wife and daughter take those trips where I'm stuck at home.

Thanks for the input Matt.
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bernd the broter, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 376 Join Date: 6/13/12 Recent Posts
Darrell:
[...]
Is there anything fundamental, or important that I'm not doing that should be a part of any effective practice?
The first training, i.e. Morality. Don't underestimate that.
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Newbie help

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
bernd the broter:
Darrell:
[...]
Is there anything fundamental, or important that I'm not doing that should be a part of any effective practice?
The first training, i.e. Morality. Don't underestimate that.

Totally agree (refraining from killing, lying, sexual misconducting, stealing, intoxicating-- common to many traditions). Breeching these can generate troubled feelings inside and around a person.

Further, engaging in acts of giving time-talent donation and /or monetary donation to relieve suffering, that is actually very helpful to many people, as giving something to help others can relieve some of the stress of living relatively comfortably compared to those who are suffering greatly pains of hunger, thirst, fear, degraded habitat, death, being uncared for/ suffering being ignored.

Darrell, you may already do these things; I would speculate that you do. Because this is a public formum sometimes a general thread becomes a place for re-iteraining sound suggestions. Thank you.


Also, newbie,
Katy