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Conflicting practices
Answer
8/21/17 9:58 PM
I am interested in launching a discussion on the existence or absence of practices whose interactions, when used concomitantly, may have conflicting, undesirable or cancelling-out effects, and perhaps compiling a list of techniques that would be contraindicated when used together.
Bill Hamilton in "Saints and Psychopaths" says:

Follow instructions exactly
The majority of the people who make little progress in
their practice are not following meditation instructions as
given. Only a meditation master should
mix techniques
from different traditions. You should avoid making any
modification in the instructions without discussing
it with
your teacher. One
of my friends, who had done many
years of intensive
vipassana meditation, never mentioned to
her teachers that she was also doing a mantra along with
the regular practice. As soon as she stopped doing the
mantra she began to make progress. A slight modification
to the instructions
that makes the practice more pleasant or
easier is very likely to sabotage
it 

The pragmatic dharma community, or at least the DhO community, appears quite unafraid to mix techniques depending on whatever works, and so perhaps some guidance would be helpful, if at all necessary.

i hope this will help the pragmatic dharma community and myself make skillful decisions when choosing practices.

As a start, since Mahasi noting is my primary practice, what could conflict with that?

RE: Conflicting practices
Answer
8/23/17 10:52 AM as a reply to junglist.
I'd tend to think any technique which adds a conceptual overlay to vipassana practice may hinder the process. For example, adding a concept to a sensation and focusing on the concept instead of the bare sensation. That doesn't mean conceptual meditations can't be used side by side with vipassana, for example metta. I tend to do metta before vipassana in many sittings. But I understand they are different. Once I jump to vipassana I drop all concepts of "beings being happy" and just focus on bare experiences of mind and body.

My two cents emoticon

RE: Conflicting practices
Answer
8/23/17 6:11 PM as a reply to Ben V..
As a start, since Mahasi noting is my primary practice, what could conflict with that?

If you're doing the noting correctly not much will conflict with it, if anything at all. You can start with the assumption that everything, literally everything, that you percieve is an object of some sort. If you note the appearance of all objects that you can perceive then you'll be doing just fine. As you practice noting more and more your ability to notice different kinds of objects will increase and you'll start to see that perceptions you once thought were full or "gross" objects are actually made up of numerous pieces, all objects in and of themselves. At first gross objects like sounds or touch sensations will be the objects you can note, but more practice and careful and noting will reveal that there is a natural flow of objects that comprise each sound or touch. That's process is called Dependent Origination.

I used to make this a sort of game - challenge my own capabilties - investigate!




RE: Conflicting practices
Answer
8/26/17 7:11 AM as a reply to junglist.
The problem I think is that you need to know where you are going. If you do just one kind of practice it is soon clear where it is leading, if you do a bunch then stuff can get mixed up. Don't think they conflict, unless you do sh** like going on a psychedelic-shamanic journey and get deeply stuck in a fear ñana you have evoked with your noting practice before.
I see similarity of some quality as well, like equanimity and concentration can both be developed in concentration and noting practice. Or jhana and vizualizatio can be used perfectly together..

RE: Conflicting practices
Answer
8/26/17 4:22 PM as a reply to junglist.
junglist:
I am interested in launching a discussion on the existence or absence of practices whose interactions, when used concomitantly, may have conflicting, undesirable or cancelling-out effects, and perhaps compiling a list of techniques that would be contraindicated when used together.
I've only come across one very rare problem from doing techniques out of order. - Depersonalization disorder
I suspect from reading the literature and listening to Shinzen Young that what happens in this case is that a person somehow was able to delete body locational processes before finishing 1st and second path. So what you have is process from first and second path not deleted yet but you lost the anchoring to the body to which these preliminary processes reference. This generates problems until the person can get first and second path.
This seems like an extremely rare outlier though, so I'd not worry about it too much. If it were easy to do, a lot of Goenka people would be experiencing it.
Other then that, you can do more advanced practices before working on the earlier stuff and waste your time - as is your right, and who knows, you might be the rare one who gets some funky package deals from doing so.

Almost all meditations are a combo of concentration and vipassana, with some later practices that gets into a faster speed of awareness.
Almost every tradition teaches their brand of concentration and vipassana with various results depending on what gets invstigated in which order.
So its kinda hard to mess it up too bad.
There are just slower paths from refusing to find some sensations worthy of investigation,as Daniel says" every sensation is worthy of investigation", jhana mastery is also well thought of by most.
Good luck
~D

RE: Conflicting practices
Answer
8/27/17 3:56 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
My theory on DP/DR is that it is caused by repeated dis-identifying from or pushing away sensations ("thats not really me, thats not really me"), this happens by meditating incorrectly and/or as a response to trauma. It's seeing some of the truth of no-self, but simulatenously reinforcing a "small self" comprised only of selfing sensations, removed from all other sensations.

Re: conflicting practices IMO before stream entry vipassana is so tricky that trying to jump between different technqiues without expert assistance is reasonably likely to lead to slower progress, simply because the best way to master vipassana is to give it as much attention as you can. Jumping around means the brain is going to be task-switching a lot and won't have as much energy to devote to good vipassana practice.