Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
So I keep having an intuition that I should drop vipassana for a while and do metta. I feel I could do with getting off the ride for a bit and also that my reactions to things, people, work, life, future, friends etc etc, could benefit from a little more love in my heart day to day. 

Just wondering if anyone has done this (i.e dropped vipassana for metta practice, fully for a number of months) and if so how did it go? Or any other advice around this welcomed. 

thanks 


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Nikolai ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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b man:
So I keep having an intuition that I should drop vipassana for a while and do metta. I feel I could do with getting off the ride for a bit and also that my reactions to things, people, work, life, future, friends etc etc, could benefit from a little more love in my heart day to day. 

Just wondering if anyone has done this (i.e dropped vipassana for metta practice, fully for a number of months) and if so how did it go? Or any other advice around this welcomed. 

thanks 


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You could always combine the two, practicing metta in order for knowledge to arise. Cause and effect is known, cessation of the opposite unpleasant fabrications is known, mind and body is known,  fabricated metta-results are known. Many things can be known that move one towards a good place. 
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The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

Posts: 16 Join Date: 6/12/15 Recent Posts
I did it for about 6 months after it became obvious that over the top anxiety into the realm of panic attacks were associated with meditation. It definitely softened the blows considerably, and then at some point I picked up a noticing practice again and I was still having anxiety, but not meltdown level anxiety. I currently do about 3 hours of formal practice a day and a ton of retreat time, so I'm doing a lot of meditation and insight practice, but my anxiety has never been lower. I could walk into a shouting match between people and be either very little phased or completely unphased. There are potential triggers left, but they are perhaps 1/50-1/100 of what they were 3 years ago and it seems to be steady in the face of dramatic triggers. That is to say, taking a break seemed appropriate, and helped, and when I resumed it wasn't super duper crazy reactivity again. I was still 'leveling up' it seems.

I throw about 2 hours to insight practice and 1 hour to heart meditations. I don't do bramahivara's anymore, but customized things I'm still experimenting with, but plan to not speak of it until its at a more mature phase, other than to say heart meditations should be a part of one's toolkit imo, and am suprised at how little air time they get on the DhO. I don't think there is one thread about mudita on all DhO past or present.
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Tim, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Hey man, I literally just switched from vipassana noting to TWIM (tranquil wisdom insight meditation), as a result of increased tension, anxiety and self doubt (did 3 vipassana retreats and meditated one to two hours per day) - i started feeling like i was really really needimg something to scale back the overstriving and the overexpectations so decided to take up more metta, eventually resulting (due to agreeing with the basic logic more than vipassana)

So now ive switched to twim (very recently) and going to do an online retreat - over at dhamma sukha. They use mindfulness of metta (and the brahama viharas).
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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In terms of formal practice, the Brahma Viharas and metta in particular is the most common ones I do these days: typically before falling asleep, or when unable to sleep due to circadian disruption: good stuff.

If you intuition sends you in that direction: likely it is picking up on something useful, and I would go with it. I have done a lot of those practices over the years and don't regret any time I spent on them. They are hard to argue against and easy to advocate for.
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
thanks all - some great advice and pointers to resources. very much appreciated. I'll let you know how I get on. Might even send you all some Metta, if you play your cards right ;-)

with metta 

Bman


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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
well, 1 day in and some interesting things to report:

1. It looks like theres no getting off the train in regards to insight cycles. Its like my mind "needs" to do it. I found myself doing it at times throughout the day. This probably isnt unusual, but it became more apparent, because I kept thinking "hey, Im not doing this anymore, Im doing metta now!" - "wait, hang on, im doing it again!" etc etc. So i'm not sure if its just become habit to do insight practice now or that its almost "doing itself" now but it looks like I will be doing metta and vipassana at this rate. Which it seems probably isnt a bad thing. But any thoughts of it calming down things are probably not going to kick in straight away. (see point 3!) 
2. I did about an hour of metta last night and this morning and felt some pains in my chest again (I have been getting these in my heart chakra area for a few months, had them checked out by the doctor and nothing was wrong medically, so Im working on the premise that this is spiritual opening). I did the metta meditation that I havent done before that was posted above (thanks) where you imagine that warm happy feeling in your chest (from memory if you can) and i really felt some hardness melting away with this. Alot of warmth in that area.
3. Ironically, the mother of all dark nights has hit this evening, after some "automatic" vipassana, after just sitting and zoning out on the sofa after work tonight. Ive actually been thinking over the last 3 or 4 months that the dark nights that ive been cycling through have been becoming much easier to deal with, almost not bothered by them anymore (almost), and after one day of metta the worst dark night that Ive had (possibly ever) but at least for a year or so has just hit me. *&^%$*!
4. I actually found it really really hard to do the metta practice. Which is strange, as I havent had this issue in the past, but then I havent done it for a long time. It was hard to really feel love for myself, which is odd because I think I have pretty good self love normally. 
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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b man, thanks for this post. I've been reading up on metta also and just as recently have been trying to incorporate this into my daily meditation sessions. Plz continue posting. This interests me probably as much as it does you. I realized, after Cian posted a reply to me, that I needed to learn about this "thing" and try it out too. Great stuff :-)
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Don Merchant:
b man, thanks for this post. I've been reading up on metta also and just as recently have been trying to incorporate this into my daily meditation sessions. Plz continue posting. This interests me probably as much as it does you. I realized, after Cian posted a reply to me, that I needed to learn about this "thing" and try it out too. Great stuff :-)

Yep sure Don, good to hear it. A few more things to report then: 

1. Metta is getting much easier to do after having done a few days of it. The other night I had a really really beautiful session, which was almost blissful, I really felt some love that I haven't felt in a long time.
2. I have been sleeping loads. loads and loads. I pretty much slept all weekend and I'm going to go to bed again before 10pm tonight also. Just loving sleep. 
3. I keep noticing the warm feeling in my chest and its nice.
4. I have been trying bringing the warm, love, happiness feeling to other chakra points, with some pretty amazing results, pretty quickly and I am going to keep trying this. I also tried to bring that feeling to blockage areas and it's seemed to melt tension away that didnt seem to want to shift by itself when just observing the sensations in vipassana. 
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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b man, thanks for that update!

"1. Metta is getting much easier to do after having done a few days of it. The other night I had a really really beautiful session, which was almost blissful, I really felt some love that I haven't felt in a long time."

Is any of your metta practice towards yourself? Not always directed at others.

Sleep?! Man this stuff has been wiping me out! I meditate before I go to bed each day. When I lay down, I don't remember going to sleep emoticon Plus I don't get woke up by sounds much anymore either. I'm a (was) very light sleeper.

I might try your point #4.

Thanks for the information.
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Don Merchant:

Is any of your metta practice towards yourself? Not always directed at others.

yeah trying to do it mostly to myself at the moment, but someone posted a message about remembering a time when you felt really loved, or full of love, or joy and feeling that warm feeling your heart, and then just focusing on maintaining that. This is interesting and has totally changed Metta for me, as before it was all verbal based.... i.e "I wish myself to be full of loving kindness etc etc" but Im finding that just generating this feeling and then using that almost as a focus point is really effective. I guess I agree with whoever posted that its essentially a concentration(samatha) practice doing this in a way also.

I like the idea (from the video) of remembering the feeling of holding a puppy, when trying to generate this loving feeling in the chest, if you are struggling to remember this feeling from a memory. 
Small Steps, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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b man:

I like the idea (from the video) of remembering the feeling of holding a puppy, when trying to generate this loving feeling in the chest, if you are struggling to remember this feeling from a memory. 


I'd even go so far as to have a puppy/dog/kitten/cat/child on your lap/in your arms as you do the practice. I often have a purring cat or two on me when I sit at home and the metta always finds me ;-)
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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b man, thanks for that info too.

Sorry I haven't replied sooner. It's been a busy week or two for me. Still getting my practice in though emoticon

"I like the idea (from the video) of remembering the feeling of holding a puppy, when trying to generate this loving feeling in the chest, if you are struggling to remember this feeling from a memory."

I can't find any such feeling for myself, but I have been working on this feeling for others like family, friends, etc. Still learning what I can about metta, anger, and other emotions through study, podcasts, etc. This metta for oneself is very hard for me. Don't know if I'll ever get it emoticon

Thanks b man
Eva M Nie, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

Posts: 831 Join Date: 3/23/14 Recent Posts
Don Merchant:


I can't find any such feeling for myself, but I have been working on this feeling for others like family, friends, etc. Still learning what I can about metta, anger, and other emotions through study, podcasts, etc. This metta for oneself is very hard for me. Don't know if I'll ever get it emoticon

Thanks b man
You can get it!  The fact that you want to is a good sign.  Another option is to recall times in the past when you felt it.  
-Eva
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Don Merchant:
....
I can't find any such feeling for myself, but I have been working on this feeling for others like family, friends, etc...


hi Don,

Yep, I'm pretty sure this is what he meant. i.e Use your love towards other people, animals, happy memories, whatever you can really, and feel that feeling in the chest of love, and then let it grow, focus on it, allow it to be warm and happy!

I think if you do that for a few weeks, then youll find the love for yourself will be much easier
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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b man:
Don Merchant:
....
I can't find any such feeling for myself, but I have been working on this feeling for others like family, friends, etc...


hi Don,

Yep, I'm pretty sure this is what he meant. i.e Use your love towards other people, animals, happy memories, whatever you can really, and feel that feeling in the chest of love, and then let it grow, focus on it, allow it to be warm and happy!

I think if you do that for a few weeks, then youll find the love for yourself will be much easier

Thanks for the info and encouragement. I can try doing this and see what happens. Can't hurt, that's for sure emoticon I just had such a negative life growing up that I have a hard time finding any happy moments from childhood. But it is worth a try. Hopefully I can make as good a progress in this area as I have in other areas so far. Plz keep posting, I am curious how this unfolds for you.
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Tim, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Forgiveness meditation should help don (meant for people who have resistance to sending metta to oneself initially. It is meant to be pursued for a few weeks prior to metta practice - Dhamma Sukha .org has some good videos on it that helped.
Good luck!
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Tim, thank you for that link and the reply.

I will go check that out.
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Tim, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Thought I'd restart this conversation to see what the progress is.

For myself: I've been practising TWIM (Samantha/vipassana together) and brahma viharas for nearly a month now, and it's been very fruitful compared to my previous noting practice.

Reached first jhana ffor the first time the other day by continually using the 6rs and relaxing and letting go. Really interesting progress.

How's it going for you guys?
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Tim,
I've been seeing results from the same method. Slow but steady so far. I try to get 2 sessions in each day, so I use certain things for each session. Keep some of it separate. I am also trying to stay in the session longer if I can. So far I only get about 40-45 good minutes in my sessions. But I'm still trying to note, any waking minute I can. Don't know how effective I am. Still learning so much. I learn something new every single day. This forum is a great place.
Oh yeah, those 6R's are great for me. I was such a tensed up person. I'm so much more relaxed since starting meditation. Plus the metta practice is starting to gain traction. Its helped me more than I thought it would. Never thought I could do it, at first. Still difficult with certain persons, of course.
I have "gone through the fire" so to speak, with 2 of the major players I have to deal with inside my head, and heart. I've also very recently been in very close physical proximity to them (within a foot).... and kept my cool. So I positively know this stuff is working.
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
I've had some very interesting changes. 

On a physical level, I have been feeling little bits of tightness around my heart area, becoming aparent and then releasing, this has been happneing for 2 months and it probably ocurs every day or two, but sometimes not for a week or so.

how this has manifested in my life.. I have faced up-to and let go of two relationships that were unhealthy, both with kind of ex girlfiends, one which was availble but I realise we have grown apart, and one that just wasnt available, but we were probably getting towards that dangerous point where someone might have ended up getting really hurt.

Hopefully this will free me to actually go and find someone that really is right for me. I also met someone who when I was talking to, really lit up that heart area, in a way that I hadnt noticed when talking to someone I was attracted to before. It was like we really connected and I could feel it in that area. Unfortunately, shes not really someone I can date without hurting someone I care about, so I will let it go, but it was interesting phenomenon and helped me to realise that this is possible. 
John Power, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Yep sure Don, good to hear it. A few more things to report then: 

1. Metta is getting much easier to do after having done a few days of it. The other night I had a really really beautiful session, which was almost blissful, I really felt some love that I haven't felt in a long time.
2. I have been sleeping loads. loads and loads. I pretty much slept all weekend and I'm going to go to bed again before 10pm tonight also. Just loving sleep. 
3. I keep noticing the warm feeling in my chest and its nice.
4. I have been trying bringing the warm, love, happiness feeling to other chakra points, with some pretty amazing results, pretty quickly and I am going to keep trying this. I also tried to bring that feeling to blockage areas and it's seemed to melt tension away that didnt seem to want to shift by itself when just observing the sensations in vipassana. 


This sounds like the hindrance ´Sloth and Torper´. Even in Metta practise ´energy´ and ´concentration´ should be balanced.

From MCTB 2:
Energy and Concentration

Energy and concentration work the same way as faith and wisdom: They must both be strong but must also be in balance. When this balance is right, the posture is straight and steady but not rigid, and the mind is bright and focused steadily on objects and their back-and-forth interplay. A willingness to play around with various combinations of energy and concentration produces the necessary personal experience to figure out what helps and what is too much or too little. Many of the problems in practice that meditators come to ask meditation teachers about relate directly to balancing energy and concentration, so engage with what imbalance might mean, and try to apply this little teaching to help you see clearly.
As with faith and wisdom, so issues of balance go for energy and concentration. Too much
energy is related to a lack of concentration, and vice versa.
When energy is deficient there is
 Sloth,
 Dullness,
 Torpor, and
 Tiredness.

When energy is in excess, the mind and body may be
 Restless,
 Jumpy,
 Strained, and
 Irritable.

When energy is in excess, one may even be unable to focus at all because effort itself is being overemphasized at the expense of the objects of meditation. When concentration is deficient, the mind won’t stay with an object and tends to become lost in thought. When concentration is in excess, one may become lost in one’s objects or be focused too narrowly and tightly for reality to “breathe.” It is common for people to forget these simple guidelines and forget to look back at these simple lists for help. Again, if after reading Part III you have trouble, reread this section and see if it helps. Simply pay attention to how your practice is going and adjust the levels of energy and concentration accordingly, knowing that balance takes time to find and may require regular readjustment. Sometimes it is helpful to be very gentle with our attention, as if we were trying to feel the wind on our skin from the flapping of a nearby butterfly’s wings. Other times it is helpful to use our attention like a machine gun.
Often we do just fine somewhere in between.
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Don Merchant, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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John Power,

Thanks for your reply.

1. Metta practice is getting easier with time as you say.. Plus, easier the more I read about it and understand it deeper. Yes, there is some happiness that comes about from this practice.
2.Sleep is still a problem for me. My sleep is deeper but still not long enough. I'm only able to get 4-6 hrs straight before my body aches wake me up. My body has been thru the wringer.
3. I too have had 'kundalini' moments or even partial sessions since my first time about 5-6 weeks ago. The thing is, I am NOT trying for it when it happens. I don't know yet why or how it comes about. Since it isn't all the time I let it play out then continue with my session.
4. Haven't applied it in any way like this. I just let it do its thing then move on.

Energy and Concentration:
Funny you should post this. I JUST read all of this about 2 days ago! :-)
John Power, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Don Merchant,

When reading your reply it seems that you think that the list is mine, but it is from b man.
I replied to number 2 of the list regarding the attachement to sleep and the dwelling in concentration. Because of that I made a comment on the balance between energy and concentration, with MTCB 2 as a reference.

I am glad to read that your understanding of metta is deepening and that this brings happiness.
Small Steps, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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I think all the suggestions are good; go with your gut especially. It's very much a standard part of my daily work, FWIW (although quite a fair bit of karuna/compassion practice is becoming regular also).  Would just like to add that metta is technically a "concentration exercise." If you take the tack of doing concentration work at the beginning of a formal period, you could try something like: 30 minutes metta practice, then 30 minutes insight, or whatever mix works. In the end, you may come to see the delineations blur, and that your insight practice will come alive even during metta (re: Nikolai).
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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Small Steps:
you could try something like: 30 minutes metta practice, then 30 minutes insight, or whatever mix works. In the end, you may come to see the delineations blur, and that your insight practice will come alive even during metta (re: Nikolai).

thanks Small Steps - yeah this seems to be the way its going for me naturally - will just follow where it feels best and see where it leads. 
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bernd the broter, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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I did that and don't regret the decision.
However, dropping Vipassana completely may be a bit extreme.

One thing to add which the others haven't said yet:
The Metta thing goes far. If you approach that with the mindset of "I will master Metta to a sufficient degree before I return to Vipassana" you may find that you never actually go back (;
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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bernd the broter:
I did that and don't regret the decision.
However, dropping Vipassana completely may be a bit extreme.


yep, agreed. I seem to have found a nice way to incorporate the two, which seems to be working ok. Is that what you did also Bernd? How long since you decided to incorporate some metta? Do you do any of the other brama viharas?
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bernd the broter, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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I dropped Vipassana nearly completely (for other reasons) 1.5 years ago and have been practicing Metta since.
I don't know how to combine them.
Metta practice stirs up lots of hindrances, and using some mindfulness to understand the nature of these seems key to be free of them, but that still seems to be quite different from pure noting.

I hardly practice the other 3, but on the few occasions I tried (mainly on retreat), I found that at least Mudita was strong from the very beginning, so I conclude that Metta is a good foundational practice for all the rest.
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Jeff Wright, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Considering dropping Vipassana for Metta (for a while)

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bernd the broter:
I dropped Vipassana nearly completely (for other reasons) 1.5 years ago and have been practicing Metta since.
I don't know how to combine them.
Metta practice stirs up lots of hindrances, and using some mindfulness to understand the nature of these seems key to be free of them, but that still seems to be quite different from pure noting.

I hardly practice the other 3, but on the few occasions I tried (mainly on retreat), I found that at least Mudita was strong from the very beginning, so I conclude that Metta is a good foundational practice for all the rest.

Hi Bernd,

You may want to consider looking into the TWIM (Tranquil Insight Wisdom Meditation) practices espoused by the folks at http://www.dhammasukha.org/. They claim "This practice yokes together serenity and insight practices as prescribed in early suttas (MN-149:10- '…Serenity and Insight appear in him yoked evenly together…' so that one can fully see and understand the complete Buddha Dhamma."

I have been using their "6R" technique now for a couple of months, and while I can't say I've had any more insights than I had earlier (primarliy because I haven't had those insights at all yet, even while previously doing Mahasi noting), I *can* say that it is a much more enjoyable and tranquil method of meditation. I come away refreshed and happy.

Jeff

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