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Daily(?) practice frequency

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Daily(?) practice frequency
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1/5/16 10:42 AM
Hi guys,

I've been meditating 1 hour a day for the last year or so. Two things have caused me to question this frequency.

1. Jeffrey Martin (creator of Finders Course) claimed many of the meditators he interviewed said that what happends after about the 40 minute mark is much more effecient & reap more benefits than the first 40 minutes (I have never had this experience myself but consider myself open to the possibility). Hence, your meditations should be 40+ minutes long.
2. From a "superlearning" forum om for example speedreading, the claim was made by one of the teachers that practicing 4 days a week is about the same result-wise as practicing speedreading EVERY day of the week. 

So, I'm pondering doing for example 2h sits, every other day, instead of 1h/day, hence increasing the "effective time" of meditation past the 40 minute mark. 

What's your thoughts on this?

Do you find there is a huge differance or not practicing daily compared to practicing every other day?

Do you also experience this longer-is-better effect?

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/5/16 4:31 PM as a reply to Malte.
howdy,
people differ in how the length of each sit affects their progress although generally speaking more is better.  the limits of tolerance should be respected though.  in what i would call my earlier practice i never wanted to sit so much that any associated discomfort would turn me off to the whole deal.  these days it is so fundamentally essential that i really look forward to opportunities to practice.

retreats are probably the best way to notice the more is better theory in practice if you can find the time.  give longer sits a try for a while.  what are your goals?

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/5/16 5:25 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
Thanks for the reply, Tom!

I like that you weigh in the comfort factor as a motivational issue. That's good advice.

I've done a few retreats and I really like doing them. I am self-employed so getting permission to take days off work is a breeze.

My goals are to explore Vipassana meditation more thoroughly, and currently I'm following the Culadasa protocol from his book "The Illuminated Mind". My goal is to reach all the way to buddhist enlightenment one way or another. I want to increase my concentration skills. I'm also quite dedicated to doing the spiritual journey before I start a family or decide to engage more fully with my career. So I feel comfortable dedicating a fair amount of time and energy to meditating/realization. Considering practicing 2h/day formal practice for this semester and atleast one retreat (10 day).

Also doing life practice consistently, usually in the form of Actual Freedom instructions which works wonders for my presence and emotional stability.

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/5/16 11:57 PM as a reply to Malte.
Self-employed?  Great!  I should hope to work from home more often in the future, making more time available for practice.

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 12:29 AM as a reply to Malte.
Also doing life practice consistently, usually in the form of Actual Freedom instructions which works wonders for my presence and emotional stability.


Hey Malte, just out of curiosity, what 'Actual Freedom instructions' are you referring to?

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 2:31 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:
Also doing life practice consistently, usually in the form of Actual Freedom instructions which works wonders for my presence and emotional stability.


Hey Malte, just out of curiosity, what 'Actual Freedom instructions' are you referring to?
I'm currently doing those found 2/3rds down this page: http://integrateddaniel.info/my-experiments-in-actualism/

Had a short intro to it doing the online Finders course meditation course, trying out various methods, however I find Daniels instructions much more detailed. If you know of a better yet source Noah, or a complementary one, I'd be eager to delve into it. Have looked around the web but didn't find too much. I found Actual freedom trust website to be a pain in the butt (wordy) and I haven't actually read much stuff there. Just trying to focus on doing the practices.

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 2:36 AM as a reply to Chris.
Chris:
Self-employed?  Great!  I should hope to work from home more often in the future, making more time available for practice.
Yeah, it's awesome! You can do things more your tempo and so on. Schedule things as you like. Meditate those hours when you're the most alert. Really hope you'll get the opportunity to free up more home-time. Also working less and living cheaper is worth it in my opinion.

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 3:26 AM as a reply to Malte.
Malte:

I'm currently doing those found 2/3rds down this page: http://integrateddaniel.info/my-experiments-in-actualism/

Had a short intro to it doing the online Finders course meditation course, trying out various methods, however I find Daniels instructions much more detailed. If you know of a better yet source Noah, or a complementary one, I'd be eager to delve into it. Have looked around the web but didn't find too much. I found Actual freedom trust website to be a pain in the butt (wordy) and I haven't actually read much stuff there. Just trying to focus on doing the practices.


This is a complementary source, written by actualists who are trying to help introduce others to the method:

https://github.com/ActualFreedom/home/wiki

I would argue that the practices found in Daniel's essay, as well as those popularly practiced at a certain point in the pragmatic dharma scene, are not directly related to the actualism method.  However, I honestly believe that you should do what you intuitively feel works for you.

But I would also offer some clarity with regards to what the actualism method (as found on the AFT) is.  Its very much against having any special perception of reality.  The goal is to cultivate an increasing consistency of good moods throughout one's days.  'Good moods' refer to ordinary happiness, as if one had never heard of spirituality, altered states, or drugs, in the first place.  The method then branches out into all of these ways of becoming a happier person, with the primary mechanism being the re-prioritizing of positive emotions above all else.  

In the actualist formation, the happiest possible state involves the least amount of net, personal content.  It is claimed that this is specifically different from spirituality, where the methods involve transforming personal content, rather than reducing it.  From this understanding, there arises the effort towards the complete breakdown of the socio-cultural-personal value systems: aka, doing away with everything you hold sacred.  The idea is that certain psychological structures (mostly beliefs) will simply drop away, never to return, when one fully sees how they are preventing real enjoyment from occuring.  When enough of this 'social identity' is uncrusted, the practitioner will begin to deal with the underlying, raw, animal instincts.  Eventually, the practicing actualist will see that these animal instincts are the seat of the sense of 'I', and also the cause of all that prevents enjoyment and appreciation in life.  This is when 'actual freedom' happens.

I just wanted to offer this information to you as a way to contextualize things, and not necessarily change your practice.  I think the 'affist' (as Richard of AFT calls it) practice of appreciating the trippy-pleasurable quality of the external world, as experienced through the 5 senses, has merit, and can lead to legitimate spiritual realizations.  It seems unlikely to lead to the state that Richard, Peter and Vineeto describe themselves as being in.

Finally, as of now, the core insight from the actualism method that remains with me (I do not practice it, at this time) is that it is really important to learn to savor positive emotions in a purposeful way, and NOT for developmental motivation.  Meaning, each time you get to feeling good, that is the end to a mini-journey, or a temporary victory, of sorts.  This is 'good enough' or 'sufficient', in a sense.  It need not lead towards some higher plateau of transformation, in order to be a worthy thing to do with the mind, and even be considered a 'way of life'.  Interestingly, I also find this to be a strong theme in the Pali canon, and also in the new-age law-of-attraction movement.  So I conclude that its a good idea, no matter what you think the outcome will be. 

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 5:54 AM as a reply to Noah.

This is a complementary source, written by actualists who are trying to help introduce others to the method:

https://github.com/ActualFreedom/home/wiki

I would argue that the practices found in Daniel's essay, as well as those popularly practiced at a certain point in the pragmatic dharma scene, are not directly related to the actualism method.  However, I honestly believe that you should do what you intuitively feel works for you.
Hey,

I am sorry for jumping into this discussion with a question but I find the Actual Freedom Training oddly interesting. So basically, it says that I need to remind myself of being happy as often as possible throughout the day, to kind of condition myself to automatically be happy and to be in the present moment?
So, if this "reminder" can pull me into the Now, its effect should be similar to the noting practice, shouldn't it?

Though, I don't quite understand how this may lead the practioner to realization of non-self.
This an irrevocable and final act where one "dies" psychically and realizes the "one" or "I" had never really existed all along.

Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this. emoticon

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 12:59 PM as a reply to Pyro.
Hey Pyro,

The 'reminder to be happy' takes the form of an analysis, with an internal dialogue.  So it is really quite unlike any type of mindfulness meditation.  Also, the actualists are very against suppression of any kind.  Instead of seeking to ignore negative thoughts and emotions, they seek to experience them more fully, so as to then compare those emotions with happy ones, and consciously choose the latter.  Furthermore, within the range of positive emotions, some are considered to be more refined or felicitious than others, and the goal of the actualist is to continuously move up the scale. 

The difference, in theory, between noting and the actualism method, is that noting induces various altered states of consciousness by changing it in some special way, whereas the actualism method is just normal, everyday, conventional, mundane thinking about, and comparing different moods.  Think of actualism as a thing that would exist even if you had never even heard of drugs, spirituality, or changes in perception.  In contrast, meditation methods involve looking at emotions and other inner phenomena in special ways, through altered perceptual lenses of various kinds.  Actualism is honestly much closer to a type of radical psychotherapy.

The actualists would argue that the experience of not-self, attained through the 'altered states of consciousness' of meditative practice, is an inherently dissociative state.  In contrast, at the death of the psychic entity (actual freedom), the state becomes a permanent one of 'pure consciousness' in which there is no need to dissociate from any parts of the mind, because they have been permanently eliminated.  I am not endorsing this method or conceptual framework.  I don't do it anymore.  However, I do think it is useful to have clarity on what the method involves, rather than going with common misconceptions.

I like the idea of the actualism method (the real one) and of actual freedom.  However, I think the sample size of successes is too small, at this point, to fully commit myself to it.  This could change in the future.  

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 2:00 PM as a reply to Noah.
I am not endorsing this method or conceptual framework.  I don't do it anymore. 
Why is that? Have you had any bad experiences with it?

When you say the real actualism are you reffering to the link you posted earlier of the github wiki?


RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 2:15 PM as a reply to Pyro.
Why is that? Have you had any bad experiences with it?


I just don't want to spark another useless argument.  I actually felt like I had a pretty good experience with it.  Communicating with Richard was also very informative, and I found the actualists on the Yahoo group (and elsewhere) to be an incredibly friendly and mutually supportive community (moreso than any in-person or online sangha I've ever been in).  

I stopped doing the actualism method because I felt that I was likely to get more suffering-reduction more quickly through further meditation/spiritualism.  I basically have no allegiance to either school of thought.

When you say the real actualism are you reffering to the link you posted earlier of the github wiki?


Um, yeah, pretty much.  That page is good if you are finding the Actual Freedom Trust to be too wordy.  But they are basically the same thing.




RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 2:52 PM as a reply to Noah.
Hey Noah I appreciate your thoughts on this topic. I think I will give Actualism a try. emoticon 

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/6/16 3:29 PM as a reply to Pyro.
Okay, here is the link to the Yahoo discussion group:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/actualfreedom/info

And here is a chat room operated by the same group of people:

https://gitter.im/ActualFreedom/home

The chat room is public, but requires one to have a Gitter account to join.  I think the Yahoo group is also public for viewing but requires moderator approval to join.  You should be able to find everything you need from these resources.

Please let us know how it goes.  I think the DhO could benefit from more contact with practicing actualists.

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/8/16 7:37 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah, what a fantastic reply. Thank you so much for your ideas and also the link - the github place looks great and very useful. 

I think too that it's a good way to work with what feels like it's working best for you, and I think this can vary a lot between individuals and with time. I'm very interested in trying out the other "version" of Actualism practice you've referred me to.

It's quite interesting, the experiences I've made so far using mainly Daniels instructions, I have experienced the crumbling of belief systems, too. That still continues, and sure will for a long time ahead, but there's something about that inquiry "is this taking me closer to a PCE?" that makes me pop out of bad moods really fast - and when I choose to let go of my negative interpretation of reality/or the specific situation I'm currently in, but still percieve and experience that same reality, I start to see things more clearly, and my real feelings about the situation emerge and with those, a more realistic take on it. It's really a beneficial process, for sure. Looking forward to getting more into how it's supposedly a psychological and not spiritual model, as I work as a therapist.

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/8/16 7:46 PM as a reply to Malte.
Being a programmer, It's really odd to me to see github being used for non-programming projects.  Text change control / versioning is about text, so while it makes sense in other contexts, I'm just not used to it.  Do these forums have a chat channel somewhere?  I've looked before and found slim-to-nothing for places to discuss the same topics as these forums.

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/9/16 2:00 AM as a reply to Chris.
Chris:
Being a programmer, It's really odd to me to see github being used for non-programming projects.  Text change control / versioning is about text, so while it makes sense in other contexts, I'm just not used to it.  Do these forums have a chat channel somewhere?  I've looked before and found slim-to-nothing for places to discuss the same topics as these forums.
The DhO doesn't have a separate chat site, but there is the chat function, which allows you to message logged in users in real time, as well as the private messaging function under the 'messages' tab at the top of the screen.  Not sure if thats what you were asking about.

RE: Daily(?) practice frequency
Answer
1/9/16 2:06 AM as a reply to Malte.
Malte:
Noah, what a fantastic reply. Thank you so much for your ideas and also the link - the github place looks great and very useful. 

I think too that it's a good way to work with what feels like it's working best for you, and I think this can vary a lot between individuals and with time. I'm very interested in trying out the other "version" of Actualism practice you've referred me to.

It's quite interesting, the experiences I've made so far using mainly Daniels instructions, I have experienced the crumbling of belief systems, too. That still continues, and sure will for a long time ahead, but there's something about that inquiry "is this taking me closer to a PCE?" that makes me pop out of bad moods really fast - and when I choose to let go of my negative interpretation of reality/or the specific situation I'm currently in, but still percieve and experience that same reality, I start to see things more clearly, and my real feelings about the situation emerge and with those, a more realistic take on it. It's really a beneficial process, for sure. Looking forward to getting more into how it's supposedly a psychological and not spiritual model, as I work as a therapist.
Well, good work is good work, so if you're seeing results, thats all that matters.  I guess it can be useful to have a specific end goal though.  Do you want stream entry, or are you just interested in learning to work more skillfully with your thoughts and emotions in a conventional way, or do you want to be able to get into strong jhanas/brahma viharas?  These all might have slightly different trajectories in terms of practice/technique.  

Cool to hear that you work as a therapist.  Both of my parents are therapists.  The idea of actualism being a 'psychological model' was just a way I was trying to frame it to help illustrate it as separate from spirituality,  But its not really like any psychotherapuetic modality that I've heard of.