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Meditation without any 'purpose'

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Meditation without any 'purpose' Yilun Ong 10/16/17 4:55 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Chris Marti 10/16/17 7:55 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' seth tapper 10/16/17 9:51 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Yilun Ong 10/16/17 10:38 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Lars 10/16/17 4:24 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' seth tapper 10/16/17 3:47 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Lars 10/16/17 4:29 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Lars 10/20/17 12:26 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Stirling Campbell 10/20/17 3:50 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Lars 10/20/17 4:28 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Stirling Campbell 10/20/17 5:01 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Lars 10/20/17 5:32 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Stirling Campbell 10/20/17 5:43 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Lars 10/20/17 6:07 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Lars 10/22/17 2:57 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Stirling Campbell 10/16/17 4:32 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' neko 10/16/17 5:47 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Jay Douglass 10/16/17 7:32 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' seth tapper 10/16/17 8:00 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Chris Marti 10/17/17 8:31 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' seth tapper 10/17/17 4:11 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Daniel - san 10/18/17 1:54 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Yilun Ong 10/18/17 3:55 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' shargrol 10/18/17 5:53 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Yilun Ong 10/18/17 7:05 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Doctor Avocado 10/19/17 7:25 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Daniel - san 10/20/17 12:22 AM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Daniel - san 10/19/17 11:53 PM
RE: Meditation without any 'purpose' Stirling Campbell 10/18/17 1:10 PM
Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 4:55 AM
What will happen if one meditates without the 3Cs, simply observing without subjectivity and never classifying anything, e.g. not even accepting nor non-accepting pain as suffering. Will that person still naturally progress through the stages of insight or does anyone know what will happen?

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 7:55 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
That's a pretty good description of Zen meditation, Yilun. What happens for dedicated Zen practitioners?

emoticon

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 9:51 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I believe eventually the mind becomes comfortable just being and stops pretending that it is the hero in a narrative.  

Something like 
" I sat next to the mountain until only the mountain remained" 

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 10:38 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
You guys make this sound like a worthy 'exercise'. I suppose doing this whilst in review is good emoticon

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 4:24 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I believe eventually the mind becomes comfortable just being and stops pretending that it is the hero in a narrative.


How do they guard against dullness and distraction when there's no object or task?

When i'm using noting, or observing an object closely I get feedback regarding my level of concentration. If my concentration fails, I stop perceiving the vibrations and the object appears continuous again. Increase concentration and suddenly the vibrations are apparent again. When i've been doing the "no purpose" style sits recently i've noticed i'm more easily distracted since I have no particular object, but when that settles it feels incredibly serene. Should I observe the tendency to distraction or just let it go (it seems to resolve itself if I sit long enough, but i'm wary of falling into a nice comfortable dull state)?

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 3:47 PM as a reply to Lars.
I am not really qualified to give advice on meditation technique.   I know that you can just sit and let go and that that will eventually lead to full awakening and I can see how it works from a nervous system point of view, but I do not know what the most efficient way to make that happen is.   

My own practice is a roll your own amalgam of crazy stuff I made up and borrowed from all kinds of traditions so I doubt it would be useful for anyone but me. 

Sorry. 

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 4:29 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
My own practice is a roll your own amalgam of crazy stuff I made up and borrowed from all kinds of traditions so I doubt it would be useful for anyone but me.


No problem, i'm pretty much the same way.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 4:32 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Are there really that few Zen/Dzogchen practitioners here?

I've done this exact practice for most of my meditation history. Currently bouncing around 3rd path working on propriaception. I'm by no means the only meditator I am aware of that has had success "doing nothing". emoticon Meditation is resting in the nature of mind!

BTW, if you think "you" are actually doing ANYTHING you have a long way to go.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 5:47 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
In addition to what has been said above, more stuff to look up:

Shizen Young's Do Nothing meditation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ6cdIaUZCA

Tilopa's Six Points
http://www.unfetteredmind.org/includes/sixwords.pdf

The Fourth Yoga of Mahamudra is called "nonmeditation". You may want to google that too, although it will probably make little sense without some work on the three yogas before it.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 7:32 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Are there really that few Zen/Dzogchen practitioners here?

I've done this exact practice for most of my meditation history. Currently bouncing around 3rd path working on propriaception. I'm by no means the only meditator I am aware of that has had success "doing nothing". emoticon Meditation is resting in the nature of mind!

BTW, if you think "you" are actually doing ANYTHING you have a long way to go.


I too have had the most success with "do nothing" meditation. Zen didn't click for me however, I didn't get it until I went on a retreat with teachers who follow U Tejaniya, a Theravadan take on this style. I think Ajahn Brahm also advocates this approach.

I often worry that I need to mix in other styles of meditation, but it just doesn't seem to work for me. I can't really aim for anything in my mind, but I can let go.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/16/17 8:00 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
I think that all meditation is preperation for accepting that nothing is happening and there is no one for it to happen to.  Vipassana is a way to break down a pre existing model of reality that features actors and actions and consequences and replace it with first one of just being and then one of real emptiness.  It is a way for the mind to give itself permission to let go.  If you can let go already, there is no great advantage to picking things apart, I dont think.  I wonder what others here think? 

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/17/17 8:31 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
I think the mind has to know what to let go of. Vipassana meditation shows the mind explicitly how its reality is constructed. Zen "just sit" meditation does the same thing but less directly. Either way, though, the mind has to know that the process can be observed and deconstructed so as to be less harmful via all 3 characteristics.

JMHO

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/17/17 4:11 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
My hare brained theory:

If one is ready to let go, for whatever reason, I think you can let go, no matter what you think is happening.  Vipassana is a rationalist technique for deconstructing mental fabrication so the mind can accept that it isnt a seperate self or useful and just let go.  People who believe in Gurus can just let go because the Guru told them to.  Some people are in touch with a deep instinct that letting go is ok and can just do it with out caring about how the mind does what.  

Love plays into all this somehow as well.  If you become convinced that the best way to feel love is to let go, the mind will let loose no matter what other delusions it harbors.  I think this is how religion works. 

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/18/17 1:54 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Are there really that few Zen/Dzogchen practitioners here?

Funny, from the Dzogchen that I’ve studied, ‘meditation’ refers to non-action, and anything involving doing is not real meditation, it’s just more construction, more delusion, more of what we’re used to. 
I’ve also ‘practiced’ non-doing like this for most of my meditation training (ten years) and I came upon it by accident through sensation based Goenka technique, which still teaches effort, more like energy work imo. 
I became aware of a few things, one that effort itself is inherently stressful, and relaxation/letting be was the only relief from dukkha. I think it’s because efforting reinforces duality, which is constructed, not the way things really are. My other experiential insight was that we don’t in fact ‘let go’, that’s not how it works in practice. A more accurate description would be that letting go is the nature of awareness, so through relaxation in awareness, letting go happens, more and more, in its own time. It’s not something you can do, that’s more effort. Everything must be allowed, even subtle efforting. When awareness sees that, the grip is loosened. Until that time it’s unconscious. 
I believe the discovery of effortless effort is a true boon to one’s life and practice, and I’m stunned by how few practitioners mean this when they say ‘meditation’. That word is used to describe many things, like the word ‘exercise’, but how many people actually practice non-practice. Most meditators that I speak to about their practice are up to something completely different, and I can’t relate. 

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/18/17 3:55 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel - san:
Stirling Campbell:
Are there really that few Zen/Dzogchen practitioners here?

 My other experiential insight was that we don’t in fact ‘let go’, that’s not how it works in practice. 

Very interesting. This must be harder than Vipassana... Are there any similarities in terms of jhana/insight/state/stages?

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/18/17 5:53 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Meditation basically has three aspects: an honest experience of one's condition and balancing the effort/investigation and the relaxation/acceptance of that condition.

Not enough honesty and it becomes fantasy/spiritual bypassing.

Not enough investigation and it becomes indulgent daydreaming.

Not enough acceptance and it becomes aversive manipulation.

Interesting! This is basically ignorance, greed, and aversion as applied to practice itself! emoticon I agree that after a while, this becomes more of an instinct rather than a practice, so there is less doing of it, but still the activity of it --- and a trusting of that activity. It's basically a situation where the heart/mind has learned that rather than "push away suffering to others" to "turn inward, notice the clinging that causes suffering, and -- seeing it clearly -- it gets dropped". 

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/18/17 7:05 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Meditation basically has three aspects: an honest experience of one's condition and balancing the effort/investigation and the relaxation/acceptance of that condition.

Not enough honesty and it becomes fantasy/spiritual bypassing.

Not enough investigation and it becomes indulgent daydreaming.

Not enough acceptance and it becomes aversive manipulation.

Interesting! This is basically ignorance, greed, and aversion as applied to practice itself! emoticon I agree that after a while, this becomes more of an instinct rather than a practice, so there is less doing of it, but still the activity of it --- and a trusting of that activity. It's basically a situation where the heart/mind has learned that rather than "push away suffering to others" to "turn inward, notice the clinging that causes suffering, and -- seeing it clearly -- it gets dropped". 
I have been doing some whatchamacall-zen meditation using the never-ending cycles. I find that aversion/craving/expectation/anticipation/attention/etc. becomes clearer, that I am ignorant is apparent. There are moments where it is easy to sit back and do nothing, but there are times where the raptures pull you in different ways:

1. to focus/investigate to what degree on which part of the many layers in between foreground/background or to simply freeze/lock at wide aperture (is still 'doing'?).
2. to be pulled to change my lens (perspective), this is like a zoom lens now I can be at anywhere from 18-400mm or even ultra-macro (basically becoming one with the rapture). Any of these requires doing... 

I suppose I have to keep going to 'know' what is instinctual - It isn't easy with external sounds, bodily sensations, breathing, thoughts/moods coming into the picture to influence the study of what really goes on in inactivity. emoticon But thank you Shargrol!

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/18/17 1:10 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Everything must be allowed, even subtle efforting. When awareness sees that, the grip is loosened. Until that time it’s unconscious.  I believe the discovery of effortless effort is a true boon to one’s life and practice, and I’m stunned by how few practitioners mean this when they say ‘meditation’.

Exactly. I always tell my students that meditation is not an activity, and if they are "doing" something (and this includes doing NOT doing) then they are doing it wrong. It's fine to have a method that gets you in, but the method always gets dropped in favor of just abiding in the not doing.

To me, this is the deepest meditation level - and is utterly nondual when practiced correctly. This resting in nonduality is the best place to look at thoughts as not self, and see what it is that abides in between thoughts. I asked one of my teachers once, "What is the differences between the mind in between thoughts and enlightenement?" His answer, "There IS no difference." On a subtle level this is true. It's a question of depth.

Indeed, since Stream Entry, mind has increasingly just rested in this area to the point where individual thoughts are quite rare, and thinking almost non existent.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/19/17 7:25 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Meditation basically has three aspects: an honest experience of one's condition and balancing the effort/investigation and the relaxation/acceptance of that condition.

Not enough honesty and it becomes fantasy/spiritual bypassing.

Not enough investigation and it becomes indulgent daydreaming.

Not enough acceptance and it becomes aversive manipulation.

Interesting! This is basically ignorance, greed, and aversion as applied to practice itself! emoticon I agree that after a while, this becomes more of an instinct rather than a practice, so there is less doing of it, but still the activity of it --- and a trusting of that activity. It's basically a situation where the heart/mind has learned that rather than "push away suffering to others" to "turn inward, notice the clinging that causes suffering, and -- seeing it clearly -- it gets dropped". 

That's a very simple and useful breakdown. Thank you wise shargrol. 

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/19/17 11:53 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
Daniel - san:
Stirling Campbell:
Are there really that few Zen/Dzogchen practitioners here?

 My other experiential insight was that we don’t in fact ‘let go’, that’s not how it works in practice. 


Very interesting. This must be harder than Vipassana... Are there any similarities in terms of jhana/insight/state/stages?

I’m sorry Yilun but I don’t know the answer to this question. The only jhana descriptions that resonate with my experience completely are the soft and hard fourth jhanas. In Dzogchen it’s called the Natural State but I’m not sure how that lines up with Theravada maps 

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/20/17 12:22 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Meditation basically has three aspects: an honest experience of one's condition and balancing the effort/investigation and the relaxation/acceptance of that condition.

Not enough honesty and it becomes fantasy/spiritual bypassing.

Not enough investigation and it becomes indulgent daydreaming.

Not enough acceptance and it becomes aversive manipulation.


Hi shargol,

I know what you mean (the Buddhas teaching on tuning the stringed instrument) but this way of approaching practice is a distant memory for me.
What is honesty? To me it is bare awareness without trying to escape or change or try to see anything, to the exclusion of something else.
What is investigation? Isn't this the nature of awareness? Does it need effort to operate?
What is acceptance? I also like 'letting go', better yet, 'letting be'. Anything outside of complete and total acceptance is a rejection of the way things are, and inside any effort, even the tiniest little hint of trying, lies a subtle aversion, a bit of avoidance. Fear.
I know some people slip into sleep or dream states without making effort/investigation, maybe my restless mind was a blessing in disguise afterall.
At some point you don't have the option to sleep through the fire anymore. All you can do is burn emoticon

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/20/17 12:26 PM as a reply to Lars.
Generate Operate Destroy:
That being said, you need kensho before any non-doing practice.


From my quick search for the term Kensho, it sounds like a first glimpse of "buddha nature" (the Zen equivalent of stream entry?). Are you suggesting that non-doing practise shouldn't be done until SE?

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/20/17 3:50 PM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
Generate Operate Destroy:
That being said, you need kensho before any non-doing practice.


From my quick search for the term Kensho, it sounds like a first glimpse of "buddha nature" (the Zen equivalent of stream entry?). Are you suggesting that non-doing practise shouldn't be done until SE?

... this certainly isn't my understanding or practice history. I was taught from the very beginning to drop any method once resting in the "nature of mind". I did this all through the period of working my way through the "preliminary' practice of the ngondro, too. There are many methods for dealing with torpor or mind wandering, mostly around recognizing when there is "doing" and letting go of that.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/20/17 4:28 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
... this certainly isn't my understanding or practice history. I was taught from the very beginning to drop any method once resting in the "nature of mind". I did this all through the period of working my way through the "preliminary' practice of the ngondro, too. There are many methods for dealing with torpor or mind wandering, mostly around recognizing when there is "doing" and letting go of that.


Thanks for the clarification, it's nice to have lots of tools to use for different situations. Regarding torpor etc, sounds a bit like Shinzen Young's advice to watch for any sense of agency or desire to change experience, without making that an actual goal or practise, just letting go of it when it's noticed.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/20/17 5:01 PM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
Stirling Campbell:
... this certainly isn't my understanding or practice history. I was taught from the very beginning to drop any method once resting in the "nature of mind". I did this all through the period of working my way through the "preliminary' practice of the ngondro, too. There are many methods for dealing with torpor or mind wandering, mostly around recognizing when there is "doing" and letting go of that.

Thanks for the clarification, it's nice to have lots of tools to use for different situations. Regarding torpor etc, sounds a bit like Shinzen Young's advice to watch for any sense of agency or desire to change experience, without making that an actual goal or practise, just letting go of it when it's noticed.

Shinzen's advice is great, and a pretty advanced practice at that. Not that easy to pull off for the beginner - I wouldn't suggest it. Separating not-doing thoughts from doing thoughts is hard early on. As a beginner I was always taught to just raise my gaze when sleepy a few degrees at a time until if starts to fade.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/20/17 5:32 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Shinzen's advice is great, and a pretty advanced practice at that. Not that easy to pull off for the beginner - I wouldn't suggest it. Separating not-doing thoughts from doing thoughts is hard early on. As a beginner I was always taught to just raise my gaze when sleepy a few degrees at a time until if starts to fade.


The more subtle stuff would be hard to detect, but the more gross and obvious things like "I want to move my arm" or "I'm hungry, I should eat" are pretty easy even for a noob like myself. emoticon

The tough part in that exercise for me is doing it without intending to do it, like some cat sitting staring at a hole waiting anxiously for a mouse to emerge. Gets easier with practise. It was useful for helping me to see through intent somewhat. I couldn't help but notice that a sense of agency and intention aren't noticed until they're already fully formed, so I couldn't have created them. I wonder if that's the point of Shinzen's exercise?

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/20/17 5:43 PM as a reply to Lars.
What helps with the "doing it without intending to do it" is relaxing. Remember - YOU aren't doing the meditating. Agency, intention, self, duality - all of these disappear if you are doing it right. It's the point of the whole thing. There were a few guys before Shinzen that figured this out.

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/20/17 6:07 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
What helps with the "doing it without intending to do it" is relaxing. Remember - YOU aren't doing the meditating. Agency, intention, self, duality - all of these disappear if you are doing it right. It's the point of the whole thing. There were a few guys before Shinzen that figured this out.


Thanks, the relaxation advice seems to be handy just in general. Lots of stuff coming up recently during sits and otherwise, I notice associated muscular tension and just let it go. It's like all my dirty laundry is being thrown in my face so I can release it lol. There have been a few sits where there was a state similar to what you described, though not for too long. It'll work itself out with practise.

Wait, what do you mean Shinzen isn't the first guy to figure this out?   ;)

RE: Meditation without any 'purpose'
Answer
10/22/17 2:57 PM as a reply to Lars.
Generate Operate Destroy:
You can't let go of effort through effort, it just happens when the mind is ripe. For that to happen, certain factors have to be present, so instead of getting caught up in trying to learn how to swim in the deep end, one could just cultivate them and let time do its magic. This can be achieved with simple, easy to comprehend -techniques ( noting, anapanasati,....) that also have the added benefit of having almost instant applicability when dealing with off-the-cushion everyday problems such as pain or anxiety, even if one has just started learning them.


"Letting time do its magic" seems to be good advice lately. It's funny you mention that, in Shinzen Young's advice on this subject he very deliberately states that "this technique will in time have X effect". He repeats "in time" multiple times. The message that we shouldn't expect instant results or fantasize about potential future states was pretty clear. Seems to be working pretty well, I may not be hanging out in the pure lands at the moment, but i'm fine with that. Sit times are increasing, and the quality of those sits is improving as well. It's working itself out, thanks for the tips.