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Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progress

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Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progress Jay Douglass 11/8/17 10:31 PM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Yilun Ong 11/9/17 12:52 AM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Dodge E Knees 11/9/17 12:55 AM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Robin Woods 11/9/17 11:27 AM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Alesh Vyhnal 11/9/17 1:33 PM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Fran Ko 11/9/17 4:58 PM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Nik 12/14/17 6:52 PM
Re: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Scott 12/14/17 9:30 PM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr D. 12/14/17 11:32 PM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Stuie Charles Law 12/15/17 8:25 PM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Bruno Loff 12/17/17 3:26 AM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Bruno Loff 12/17/17 3:27 AM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Jehanne S Peacock 12/18/17 3:14 AM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr jonjohn 12/18/17 6:59 AM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Bruno Loff 12/19/17 3:30 AM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Jim Smith 12/24/17 9:21 PM
RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr Jim Smith 12/24/17 9:48 PM

I’ve been an avid meditator for the past year. I read the dharma everyday, I try different techniques, and I do my best to maintain an optimistic, open mind. I’ve been fairly consistent, averaging around 1 to 2 hours a day. The posts on this forum have inspired me to dedicate a lot of time and energy towards the practice.

But everytime I sit I’m hit with a wall of relentless agitation. I’ve reached my breaking point, and I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of willpower or fiddling with technique is going to change it. I no longer believe I will make any progress at home. There will be no breakthrough experience. I fear that I have a biological block preventing progress (I have a long history of depression).

The only time the agitation has lifted, was on the seventh day of a nine day retreat at Spirit Rock. I’m not sure if it was jhana, but whatever it was, it put a smile on my face for the entire session. I have not been able to recreate that experience.

So I think the only way forward is on retreat. I’m arranging things so that I can take off work for 3 months and go to a meditation center in Asia. I intend to maintain my home practice, but my goal will be to cultivate concentration with no expectation of entering jhana. There’s no point in torturing myself with long sessions.


Sorry for the vent. For every person who makes progress and posts on the net there are likely hundreds or thousands that don’t. It creates the false impression that progress is certain, when it is not for the vast majority of people.

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
11/9/17 12:52 AM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Jay Douglass:

I’ve been an avid meditator for the past year. I read the dharma everyday, I try different techniques, and I do my best to maintain an optimistic, open mind. I’ve been fairly consistent, averaging around 1 to 2 hours a day. The posts on this forum have inspired me to dedicate a lot of time and energy towards the practice.

But everytime I sit I’m hit with a wall of relentless agitation. I’ve reached my breaking point, and I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of willpower or fiddling with technique is going to change it. I no longer believe I will make any progress at home. There will be no breakthrough experience. I fear that I have a biological block preventing progress (I have a long history of depression).

The only time the agitation has lifted, was on the seventh day of a nine day retreat at Spirit Rock. I’m not sure if it was jhana, but whatever it was, it put a smile on my face for the entire session. I have not been able to recreate that experience.

So I think the only way forward is on retreat. I’m arranging things so that I can take off work for 3 months and go to a meditation center in Asia. I intend to maintain my home practice, but my goal will be to cultivate concentration with no expectation of entering jhana. There’s no point in torturing myself with long sessions.


Sorry for the vent. For every person who makes progress and posts on the net there are likely hundreds or thousands that don’t. It creates the false impression that progress is certain, when it is not for the vast majority of people.
I am very sorry to hear this, Jay. But if you had really spent 500 hours, it has to be something that you are not doing right... Can you explain in detail what you do and what happens in your practice? I am certain that home meditation is fine but from what I can sense - agitation seems to be the problem as the stillness of the mind is absolutely necessary for any progression in meditation. How have you been calming yourself?

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
11/9/17 12:55 AM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Hi Jay,

You could try dropping the emphasis on samatha/ jhana for a while and focus on vipassana.

Look directly at the experience of agitation. What physical sensations accompany the mental element? Are the sensations solid? Zoom in on them and break them into their constituent parts. Look for space between the sensations.

You could scan the whole body in this way, Goenka-style.

You may find that after making some progress in vipassana, your concentration may improve for the samatha, but remember not to grasp too hard at concentrating; calm abiding is the key.

Good luck.

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
11/9/17 11:27 AM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Have you tried to start noting in daily life? On the way to work, on the bus, on the way to the photocopier? I've been lurking around these boards for years and as far as I can tell that's the only way you can make the thing take off as a 'householder'. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSq9vKkLu4s

I just used Shinzen's old version of Focus Out (simply noting Touch, Sight or Sound) roughly once per second in daily life. In the gym, in the toliet etc. 

I found it really difficult at first 'cos my mind just constantly refused to do something so 'simple' - but I think it works!

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
11/9/17 1:33 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Dear friend, I learned to meditate first when I was about 16. Now I am nearly 42 and so far I have no attainment at all. Since I am home bound I have time to meditate two to six hours a day. If I may advise you look at what medication impedes with meditation most. In my experience these are benzodiazepines and higher amounts of neuroleptics. And remember: "But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." (Mt 19:28) emoticon

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
11/9/17 4:58 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Jay Douglass:

I’ve been an avid meditator for the past year. I read the dharma everyday, I try different techniques, and I do my best to maintain an optimistic, open mind. I’ve been fairly consistent, averaging around 1 to 2 hours a day. The posts on this forum have inspired me to dedicate a lot of time and energy towards the practice.

But everytime I sit I’m hit with a wall of relentless agitation. I’ve reached my breaking point, and I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of willpower or fiddling with technique is going to change it. I no longer believe I will make any progress at home. There will be no breakthrough experience. I fear that I have a biological block preventing progress (I have a long history of depression).

The only time the agitation has lifted, was on the seventh day of a nine day retreat at Spirit Rock. I’m not sure if it was jhana, but whatever it was, it put a smile on my face for the entire session. I have not been able to recreate that experience.

So I think the only way forward is on retreat. I’m arranging things so that I can take off work for 3 months and go to a meditation center in Asia. I intend to maintain my home practice, but my goal will be to cultivate concentration with no expectation of entering jhana. There’s no point in torturing myself with long sessions.


Sorry for the vent. For every person who makes progress and posts on the net there are likely hundreds or thousands that don’t. It creates the false impression that progress is certain, when it is not for the vast majority of people.
I've been a long time lurker now, but this post strongly resonated with me for some reason, so I decided to open an account and write a couple of lines from my own humble experience..

first of all mixing techniques will keep you chasing your tail, akin to trying to find water by drilling a well a just a couple of meters deep and then choosing another spot because you failed to strike water. find a spot/technique that works for you and stick with it, drill deep until you hit something (and you will).

this brings me to another point as far as technique goes - I recommend mahasi vipassana as i found it amazingly effective, and is quite popular on this forum due to a wonderful book MCBT that the was authored by founder, owner and the supreme overlord of DhO.
If you havent read it alredy then please do as it is a goldmine of life-saving information and it shines a light on many crucial topics that very few other dharma books touch, like maps of insight and the fact that stream entry is not a fairy tale, but an attainable goal that reduces plenty of fundamental suffering and clears your perspective like nothing else does (as an added bonus also gets you out of the devastating dark night).

You mention relentless agitation in your meditation? good. lean into it, it's just another meditation object to meditate on and note - agitation, agitation. it is impermanent, suffering and not you, pretty much like everything else in this existence.

Home practise will not get you too far, at least pre stream entry, true that, Ive been practising at home for an hour or two for almost two years, but then had the same realization as you - that serious retreat is a way to go - and it is indeed. This was also potentiated by a chronic dark night which only gave me additional kick in the behind to fly to asia and get this over with, which I did and is by far the best thing that I ever did. So yes, go to asia and do a ton of dilligent day to day noting practise from the time you wake up untill you fall back to sleep and good stuff will happen. aim for stream entry, nothing lower then that because it is totally worth it, and gives you the best meditation related bang for the buck. it offers tremendous release, and access to blissful, and pleasant concentration states is much easier post stream entry which is also good stuff right there.

I can also relate to your frustration with people reporting progress when you yourself are very much stuck. man I hear you. I remember how frustrating it was for me to read about people attaining stream entry and relatively quick some of them, while I was wallowing in a nasty and sucky dark night, getting nowhere, struggling profusely, totally frustrated. Then I just accepted the fact that I am a meditation dummy and it will take a loong time for me to break the nut, so I just focused on commiting myself to intensive practise. very soon after that I reached equanimity and hit stream entry!

3 month of intensive practise is plenty to reach SE, after which much will be clearer and it will all be totally worthwile, so all I can say is if you can then go for the long retreat as soon as possible, practise like your hair is on fire, and it will probably be one of the best things you ever did in your life both for yourself and your loved ones.

may you be well and happy and enjoy fast progress!

FranKo

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/14/17 6:52 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Try reading some Sayadaw Tejaniya (ashintejaniya.org) and Luangpor Pramote (dhamma.com --- read 'to see the truth'). They work more with watching 'defilements', mind states, attitude during practice, and so on. In Tejaniya's approach, he would probably say watch the aversion/agitation instead of just focusing on your object and getting frustrated. If you can try to reframe the situation as something to learn about--- understanding the mental process of suffering that is happening (a form of right view), sometimes the 'observing mind' can watch the discomfort from a place of more equanimity/interest, instead of seeing the discomfort as 'an obstacle and/or sign of lack of progress'.  Ultimately, you're trying to learn about stuff instead of just mechanically focusing over and over and 'trying to get somewhere'(this feeling of 'trying to get somewhere' is a really good meditation object actually, and if you can see this type of mental volition/defilement, the mind often settles down very quickly--- it can be pretty subtle though)--- also, interest will tend to make awareness/samadhi increase more quickly. That being said, it's not that easy to just switch things up like that on a whim--- actually, just try to notice anytime you want the present situation to be different and/are trying to do/squirm out of it somehow--- if you notice this over and over again, good! you can learn how desire/aversion are working.

Re: Is home practice a waste of time for me?
Answer
12/14/17 9:30 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Meditation uses supports of various kinds in part because there's always a little bit of baseline stuff going on in the nervous system that sits at the bottom of the attentional window. If you have a lot of agitation, there are a couple of things you can try that take advantage of that. 

First, when you start your session, you may need to spin down to get to restfulness. Start your meditation session either with a body scan or with rotation of attention from one stimulus to another or one sense to another. For example, for three stimuli, finding that you can hear a clock ticking, music coming from the other end of the house, and cars passing by outside. For three senses, the clock again, a candle flame, and the weight of your body against the mat. Shift among the three in turn without sticking to any one, "like a bird hopping from branch to branch." When you start, do this quite rapidly, a little faster than is completely comfortable. Then, gradually slow down more and more until you land on one. Stay with that and then go to whatever support you prefer to use (e.g., breath sensation). If that doesn't work, do rotation of two or three stimuli in each sense simultaneously or independently.

Second, if you're still not having success, you may need to search out along the stimulation intensity curve to find somewhere where you can completely absorb your attention, entering "flow states", which are jhanas for highly active people. emoticon Some people reach these by running, or surfing, or dancing to EDM at eardrum shaking volume for a few hours. Others get there by doing some kind of work very, very well, at the edge of what they're currently capable of. Tantra works like this, particularly wrathful tantra, by dialing experience up, up, up until it flips over.

Then, once you've found that place where attention is full, you can stay there, push it a bit farther, or start dialing back to more and more subtle experience as you get better at managing that lower edge of the attentional window.


And of course, just when I finished writing this, an article on flow states showed up on Deconstructing Yourself http://deconstructingyourself.com/concentration-and-flow.html

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/14/17 11:32 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
The key is definitely off-cushion practice, so you can get as much 'meditation time's in your day as possible.

I'm not naturally gifted at all, and I only have slightly over 100 hours on the path. I think I'm roughly 50% in regards to getting stream entry.( In my map anyway)

It's defeatist shit to think that you can only awaken on retreats, and thinking about a perceptual shift like it's some sort of meditation induced state is just unhelpful.


 

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/15/17 8:25 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
4 to 6 hours per day and i start to feel, in the groove.  When i could get it into the double figures and maintain it there for a while.....then, that was when i started to cook...

Your not even simmering dear one....chuckle,  chuckle 

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/17/17 3:26 AM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
I personally see very slow progress outside retreat. Sometimes a refinement, sometimes a small improvement, but overall very very slow. However I'm not as assiduous as you are.

I was diagnosed bipolar in 2009, which came to no surprise in my family as my mom had the same diagnosis for all her life and manages the condition using lithium. At the time in 2009, I was experiencing some heavy shit, and the psychiatrist prescribed me anti-psichotic medication. After learning that the side effects were everything short of my dick falling off, I elected not to take the antipsychotic medication and started doing meditation instead.

On the 5th day of my second 10-day retreat, I believe it was January 3 2010, I got stream entry, and that made a huge difference. I was never depressed again, even though I would have ups and downs (people who know depression can tell the difference). I practiced off-retreat for the following four years, having a few small perceptual shifts throughout that time, and the last one in late 2013 brought nearly to an end all the ups and downs I was experiencing. In the last three years there was an even greater smoothening-out, to the point that nowadays my mood is way more stable than the vast majority of the non-bipolars out there :-)

So take heart, this shit really works.

But yeah, you really should do those retreats. In this previous thread I wrote some suggestions on that topic.

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/17/17 3:27 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I should also not neglect to mention that diet and exercise make a HUGE difference to me. If you have belly pain or discomfort then you might want to consider gluten-free and lactose-free diet, or a low fodmap diet. Going gluten-free, lactose-free and polyol-free did wonders for my wellbeing. But note that each person has their own sensitivities, some people don't really have any, and this may well be useless information to you.

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/18/17 3:14 AM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Dear Jay,

sorry to hear about your situation. I think it is indeed possible to pour in endless hours of meditation and not progress, which is definately frustrating.

I would like to suggest to you the method that I have found to be the most reliable in inducing initial awakening. What is different compared to most noting-based instructions is that you alternate in noting a very "I, me, myself " -based mode and an open, spaciouss, not-self -mode. Doing the technique carefully is likely to trigger a shift as you catch on the meaning of I and how it is taking place and affecting your perception/being etc. I will post the insructions below along with a link for further information. I hope you give it an earnest effort. Let us know how it goes!

"The two-part formulaBefore
you read on, I have one request: Drop all pre-assumptions you may have
concerning awakening and spirituality. Forget that you ever practiced
meditation, read spiritual books or received spiritual teachings. Have a
totally open mind. Start fresh without baggage. This is essential.
Steps of the two-part formula:
  1. First,
    sit down and relax thoroughly. Take a comfortable seat with eyes open
    or closed. Then scan through your body with attention and release
    tensions from anywhere you notice them. Scanning the body means that you
    look, feel and listen into the body space and scan around it as if
    using a flashlight in a dark house. When some tension is found and is
    allowed to release, pay close attention to what is found in the area of
    that released tension. Look closely. What you find is mere open space.
    After you notice this move on to next tension, release it, and again
    notice the open inner space in the place of the former tension. After
    you have done this for several minutes with some sharpness of attention,
    what happens is that the small locations of open space become connected
    and a greater open space becomes revealed. Notice and enjoy that
    spaciousness. Marinate in it for several minutes. This mode is called
    the ”I-less mode” because in this spaciousness there is no ”me” or
    ”you”. As you are in that experience of spaciousness, see if ”me” or ”I”
    can be found there. Check whether ”I” is there or not. Check left and
    right. Check front and back. Check up and down. Check the center as
    well. Can you find the sense of me-ness from this spacious mind? If you
    cannot find it, the recognition of the I-less mode is correct. If you
    are not sure, then do the exercise again and look with sharper
    attention. In this mode, when you listen to a sound or look at some
    external object in front of you, there is no ”hearer” or ”seer” but
    rather there is only ”hearing and ”seeing”. It is important to recognise
    this selfless mode well. It is not difficult, you just need to apply
    some attention and relax properly.
  2. Say
    to yourself "I, I, I", "me, me, me" or "mine, mine, mine", aloud or
    silently, with conviction, so that you mean it. Repeat the affirmation
    2-3 times and then for a moment wait for sensations to arise. How does
    it feel? Do you feel some tensions arising? Do you feel some lack of
    freedom when you reinforce the I-thought? How does the I-thought feel?
    You have consciously brought up the sense of me-ness and are now
    consciously experiencing how your sense of me-ness feels, perhaps for
    the first time in your life. The subject, me, now becomes an object that
    can be observed. Make note of how me-ness feels all over your body, in
    the chest and the head. Pick the strongest of these sensations and
    observe it more closely, just like a scientist does when looking at an
    organism under a microscope, not to change anything but just to study it
    with great interest. Consciously look and feel the sensation and simply
    by experiencing it, make observations about it. How is the I-thought?
    Does it have a shape? What's the size of it? Where is it located? Is
    this experience of me-ness the truth of you? Is that the real ”you” or
    not? Look carefully and make observations. After some time, the
    I-sensations disappear. If at that point you still feel calm and not
    agitated, you can do another set of affirmations. If one the other hand
    you feel a bit restless, look into that restlessness to find out what's
    causing it. When these sensations eventually subside the spaciousness
    again becomes revealed and so the formula begins again from the first
    step.
The
idea is that you keep comparing the two modes until the sense of
me-ness wears out. At some point when the affirmation no longer sticks
and the affirmation, no matter how intensely you say it, just echoes
into empty space, awakening has more than likely taken place. At this
point, you can feel a special kind of openness and elation, lightness
and unobstructedness, when compared to before.
When
practicing the two-part formula, it is best to sit down and process the
two modes silently 1-2-3 times a day for 20-30 minutes at each sitting.
These sitting sessions are essential along with processing during
activities. In activities, whatever they may be, make note of how the
two modes alternate. Also, when we are around others the ”I” can come up
unexpectedly and strongly because we are used to reacting to other
people from our sense of ”I”. Make use of these moments to look into the
self or ”I” with awareness.
"

Read also the longer explanation from http://www.en.openheart.fi/113 (includes a guided practice on Youtube)

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/18/17 6:59 AM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Jay Douglass:

But everytime I sit I’m hit with a wall of relentless agitation. I’ve reached my breaking point, and I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of willpower or fiddling with technique is going to change it. I no longer believe I will make any progress at home. There will be no breakthrough experience. I fear that I have a biological block preventing progress (I have a long history of depression).

The only time the agitation has lifted, was on the seventh day of a nine day retreat at Spirit Rock. I’m not sure if it was jhana, but whatever it was, it put a smile on my face for the entire session. I have not been able to recreate that experience.

So I think the only way forward is on retreat. I’m arranging things so that I can take off work for 3 months and go to a meditation center in Asia. I intend to maintain my home practice, but my goal will be to cultivate concentration with no expectation of entering jhana. There’s no point in torturing myself with long sessions.


Sorry for the vent. For every person who makes progress and posts on the net there are likely hundreds or thousands that don’t. It creates the false impression that progress is certain, when it is not for the vast majority of people.


Hi Jay Douglass 

No, the problem is not the home, and if you go with this mind to a retreat you will suffer far more.  You are  trapped by your expectations and a LONGING to GAIN.  and before you find a way out, i wouldn't recommend you to go to a retreat. 

You have to drop this expectation, and despair the soonest the possible about gaining and attaining and reaching and breakthroughs and ecstasies and whatever. You suffer, don't you see it? Don't you see that longing makes you suffer? 

As a general pointer, realize that the unconditionality that the meditation promises is not to be found in any specific conditions. You say that the conditions are not good now and you expect to get good in the future. They won't. You have to restore your relationship with present. Don't treat present as a means for the future. Present is all there is, and contentment, if anywhere, is there to be found. How would the situation change if you were guarranteed that your present with all its ordinariness, boredom and indifference won't be replaced by a better future? Would you still strive for this hopeless aim? 

The solution lies in the way of letting go. Can you try it? Can you try to let go of all these things that bother you and try to just rest in the present? See if the agitation drops somewhat when you are not concerned with anything. Just resting. Not pretend to be resting and secretly keep glancing at the future. There is no future, just present. Can you try to rest in that so easily overlooked place? Present won't give you any breakthroughs and won't give you any excstasies, but it cannot harm you either, and it is always here to find refuge. All the others will let you down and do let you down. 

And this is meditation. Gently and peacefuly and gladly you are back to meditation. 

Wish you the best. Metta 

 

Just FYI I completely disagree with jonjohn's diagnosis and approach. I think it is an excellent idea to do a retreat if you feel trapped by the worldly life. Having nothing worth comming back to, when entering a retreat, has worked for me by providing quite a lot of motivation. It promotes the at least three among the five strengths: conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment.

Of course different things work for different people and it could be that the above "just rest" or "just let go" or whatever approach is the best for you. E.g. one can assume that it works well for jonjohn since he is promoting it (although sometimes people just repeat pretty-sounding discourse without actual direct knowledge). Only you can figure out what is best for you, and that figuring out usually requires lots of trial and error.

I just wanted to let you know so you don't think that opinions expressed on this board are somehow unanimous. What happens is that oftentimes people present what has worked for them as if it was the best solution for everybody, so they sound more certain than they really ought to.


RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/24/17 9:21 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Jay,

You might want to consider how other factors in your life influence meditation. I find that diet and exercise make a huge difference. For me, too much exercise is a problem, I suspect because exercise increases cortisol levels. Also refined carbohydrates (sugar, sweets, etc) cause problems for me too. And I am not a vegitarian. (I do exercise but I can tell when it's too much and I limit myself, and I don't eat a low carb diet, I eat a balanced diet with low glycemic index carbohydrates). Also if you lead a  normal busy life, it can also help to prepare the mind before you start meditating by doing something that will calm it somewhat. When I went on retreat they would do bowing practice and chanting practice before sitting meditation. At home I sometimes do some yoga like exercises, tai-chi and other relaxation exercises that calm my mind before meditating.


I think of meditation as a fine adjustment. It is my opinion that if the mind needs coarse adjustment, meditation can be waste of time (depending on why you are meditating and how much time you do it for and what technique you are using). 


You mention jhana's, you might want to look at this thread about a technique for experiencng bliss during meditation:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5823529?_19_threadId=5823530

RE: Is home practice a waste of time for me? Over 500 hours and scant progr
Answer
12/24/17 9:48 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
I don't know Jay so I can't say if the following applies to him or not, so I will just say this as a general comment:

Sometimes people develop unrealstic expectations of what meditation can accomplish because they don't understand the full scope of the Buddhist path. Notice below that meditation is that last step of the eight fold path, the eight fold path is described in the last of the four noble truths, and the four noble truths are the last step of the six stage gradual training. People want to make rapid progress easily by skipping to the last step of the last step of the last stage, giving scant if any attention to the rest of the path and then they don't get the results they want. 

I think renunciation in particular is a crucial step that many people neglect. Buddha did not neglect renunciation. Buddha didn't live with his family, he didn't have a job, he didn't go to school, he didn't own a house or a car or a smartphone. I don't advocate or discourage renunication, it is for each person to decide for himself. Personally, I don't practice it to the extent Buddha did, and I adjust my expectations accordingly.  Some people think meditation will allow them to be non-attached to their attachments. It doesn't work that way.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ati/ptf/dhamma/index.html
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Here is the Buddha's six-stage gradual training in more detail:

1. Generosity (dana)
2. Virtue (sila)
    The 5 Precepts
    The 8 Precepts
    The 10 Precepts
    Uposatha observance days
3. Heaven (sagga)
    The Thirty-one Planes of Existence
4. Drawbacks (adinava)
5. Renunciation (nekkhamma)
6. The Four Noble Truths (cattari ariya saccani)
    A. The Noble Truth of Dukkha (dukkha ariya sacca)
        Dukkha
        The round of rebirth (samsara)
    B. The Noble Truth of the Cause of Dukkha (dukkha samudayo ariya sacca)
        Craving (tanha)
         Ignorance (avijja)
    C. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha (dukkha nirodho ariya sacca)
        Nibbana
    D. The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha (dukkha nirodha gamini patipada ariya sacca) — The Noble Eightfold Path. The Commentaries group the eight path factors into three divisions:
        Discernment (pañña):
            1. Right View (samma-ditthi)
                Intentional action (kamma)
                Admirable friendship (kalyanamittata)
             2. Right Resolve (samma-sankappo)
        Virtue (sila):
            3. Right Speech (samma-vaca)
            4. Right Action (samma-kammanto)
            5. Right Livelihood (samma-ajivo)
        Concentration (samadhi):
            6. Right Effort (samma-vayamo)
            7. Right Mindfulness (samma-sati)
            8. Right Concentration (samma-samadhi)
               Jhana