Developing a Good Meditative Skillset

Mettafore, modified 6 Years ago at 11/23/17 8:23 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/23/17 8:23 PM

Developing a Good Meditative Skillset

Posts: 171 Join Date: 3/24/14 Recent Posts
I posted this on my log. But, I think this also needs to be shared as an independent post.

Before lunch, I do some weight training while listening to a Dharma talk on YouTube. I got a very intersting insight from I think Ajahn Jayasaro who is in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. He explained that in their tradition,that some people couldn't attain Apamana Samadhi only Upacara Samadhi,
so they reverted to Vipassana type investigation to get deeper. Some people got good Apamana Samadhi practice going. After the mind is recharged in Samadhi, it naturally falls out of Samadhi. That is, a good time to practice investigation according to the Ajahn.

I've been practicing Metta + Anapana Shamtha practice for a few months daily. This was very much in line with my actual experience. I noticed that sometimes the mind went deep into calm. Then, it naturally came out.

Today morining (also yesterday night), after the mind no longer wanted to be in calm, I tried some gentle Vipassana practice. As I suspected, there was plenty of hindrances/defilements to work on with the added bonus of the calm previously attained. If that gets too annoying, I ussually revert to Metta phrases. Metta and other BrahmaViharas are a great subliminal medicine to administer to eradicate defilements in my opinion. The medicine simile was something I heard while listening to a Sri Lankan monk on YouTube. Also, if the energy builds up too much, a good way to use it is through walking meditation.

So, in conclusion, one can use various tools in the Yogi toolkit according to the situation and inclination of the mind. For example:
  • Metta (For daily practice such as commutes, difficult situation start of sits)
  • Anapana Shamtha (Followed by Metta)
  • Vipassana (Noting, Sitting)
  • Vipassana (Walking)
This may not be surprising for many. But, I think my view in regards to practice has changed a lot in the past few years. When I stated practicing intensively in the Goenka tradition, they always warned about mixing practices. This may have some merit. Maybe, it is not conducive for beginner meditators to incessantly change styles. But, after some experience, I do not see anything wrong with broadening one's meditative skillset.

Would love to hear more thoughts emoticon .
Adam M, modified 6 Years ago at 11/23/17 9:24 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/23/17 9:24 PM

RE: Developing a Good Meditative Skillset

Posts: 51 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Certainly agree with your main point. I've adopted techniques from various traditions at different points in my practice. Everything I tried has worked to some degree. It's provided some variation which has created interest, given me some insight into the different benefits and drawbacks of different approaches and helped me find my own balance of concentration and insight practice that has worked for me. I find it hard to understand how some in the internet age can still get so attached to just one tradition.
Matt, modified 6 Years ago at 11/23/17 11:43 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/23/17 11:40 PM

RE: Developing a Good Meditative Skillset

Posts: 316 Join Date: 1/14/14 Recent Posts
When I'm walking around in somewhat tight quarters, like the grocery story or my home, I like to try to notice where my body is in space as I navigate around objects. If I'm giving full attention to the task, I feel well balanced and I don't bump into things or wobble at all and my mind is at ease.

It's easy to think I'm paying attention and attending to what I see but my mind has actually taken a snap shot of the suroundings and is navigating using that snap shot, not what is actually visable.  That's when I wobble or bump into stuff and then I notice that my mind was actually wandering around space and time like a butterfly instead of looking/seeing what's in front of me.

Another skill I like to practice is hitting the light switch with the tip of my finger.  As I approach the switch, I keep my eye on the switch and my finger as my finger gets closer and closer and I watch very carefully till the tip of my finger is actually pressing on the tip of the switch, then carefully adding pressure till and it goes 'snap' without the finger sliding off in the wrong direction.  When I'm not paying attention to that with everything I have, my whole hand kind of thrashes around and paws at the switch till some part of it hits the switch or misses and I have to take another swipe at it till it snaps into place, and I realize that I wasnt even really looking at anything at all.

Navigating the whole body through space can be a continuous activity that lasts for many seconds at a time and as such feels to me like it can add up to a decent interval of practice.

The lightswitch thing is so sporatic that it seems more like a self assesment test than a sustained practice.