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looking for someone to help me along the path

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looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/24/18 7:11 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Yilun Ong 3/24/18 9:07 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/24/18 10:37 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Yilun Ong 3/25/18 7:39 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/25/18 9:08 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Yilun Ong 3/25/18 10:25 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Jordi 3/25/18 10:22 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/27/18 8:29 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Mathew Poskus 3/26/18 11:03 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path seth tapper 3/26/18 11:20 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/27/18 11:32 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Yilun Ong 3/28/18 7:42 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/28/18 9:25 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Yilun Ong 3/28/18 9:39 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/28/18 12:24 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/28/18 8:43 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Richard Zen 3/28/18 9:39 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Rebecca P 3/28/18 11:33 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Richard Zen 3/29/18 8:49 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Mathew Poskus 3/25/18 5:47 AM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Richard Zen 3/26/18 1:09 PM
RE: looking for someone to help me along the path Andrew S 3/28/18 3:24 AM
Hi all. My name's Rebecca and I'm a wee beginner on this great journey. I would absolutely love to have someone around who can tell me what I'm doing right, what I'm doing wrong, and to give me advice and pointers to help me along. Problem is, I don't know where to look or who to ask.

I'm 32 and I live in Western Kentucky. I've got about six months to a year of meditation experience, but have yet to reach the first jhana. I meditate for about an hour daily, do walking meditation almost daily, and practice mindfulness as much as I can. Concentration is good.
I have a dark past including childhood abuse and problems with addiction. 
I've done a lot of reading concerning Buddhism. Shobo Genzo, Thich Nhat Hanh, a few sutras, the Jatakas and the MCTB. 
I've also been keeping to the precepts.

So, what do?

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/24/18 9:07 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi Rebecca,

I've probably had a darker past than you but who's comparing? emoticon Can you check how well you can face yourself and your past? Would you qualify under 'will benefit with therapeutic consultation with an expert'? Even if remotely yes, it might be wise to do so.

Otherwise, do tell us more about your practice, how well you can focus on the meditation object, how affected are you by distractions, how mindful are you during and off-practice, what your short-term goals are and of course, what problems you are facing and any other information that will be helpful to the friendlies here to pitch in, to suggest for your perusal.

Here's wishing you joy in this journey...

With Compassion,
A friend

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/24/18 10:37 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Hi Yulin Ong,

I'll start by saying, that I'm ready to face my past, and I am seeing a therapist, so I'm covered on that front.

When I meditate, I usually focus on my breath. I try to focus on the sensation on my nostrils until I have concentration, then I will move to the full body sensation of breathing. I've counted my breaths to see how long I can go without losing concentration, and counted thirty seven breaths. If a thought comes along, I catch myself and very rarely get carried away. I try to view thoughts and sensations with equanimity during meditation and also throughout the day. I strive to observe all things with a curiousness as to their true nature. I went about a week working hard on mindfulness while off the cushion, but sadly I've slacked off some. As an excuse, I'm usually thinking about the Dharma!

My short term goals are to have more self-control, which is improving, and to reach the first jhana. I'm afraid I'm trying too hard to grasp it. I can generate a good physical sensation throughout much of my body, but when I feel myself going deeper, I get all excited which snaps me out of it immediately. The best I can think to do is to just continue meditating, and let that first jhana come along when I'm least expecting it. 

So yeah, if anyone would like to chime in, be my guest. emoticon

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/25/18 5:47 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca:

I have a dark past including childhood abuse and problems with addiction. 


So, what do?

At some point in my vippasana practices childhood traumas got released with energy behind it . I suggest try vippasana.

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/25/18 7:39 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hi Rebecca,

I will start by making mini-resolutions before each sit, shaped by a healthy desire/intention. Wishing to attain anything is usually greed, which causes stuff like jhanas to elude us. I find that desires which are limited to 'knowing/understanding more about xxx' works very well. I would start by making resolutions like: knowing more about which parts of the breath (e.g. pause after the out-breath) causes changes to the behavior of raptures.

If the jhanas continue to elude you and you feel dejected/frustrated, I will switch to developing strength/speed in Access Concentration. Access Concentration happens when you are contented from seclusion/free from hindrances and you notice that concentration is absorbed (less effort is required to sustain concentration) and out of the ordinary stuff starts to happen. A very strong AC is your main stronghold thoughout your meditation career.

I will drop counting breaths and using length of my sits to judge my progress (that is just me) and switch to watching better markers of my meditation proficiency. A lengthy 120 minute sit of suffering/no greater comprehension does little more other than massaging the ego.

I will look to the Anapanasati Sutta for the set of (16) skills that I should develop:


Anapanasati InstructionsQuick Explanation
LongDeep breathing as a pre-exercise to achieve sensitivity, stability, calming, releasing. Watching the effects and thus able to summon their usage into minute details later.
ShortTo drop controlling of the breath by observing only. Noticing the many details of the breath coming to a stable, subtle, short breathing, signaling stability to proceed.
Sensitive to entire body
Scanning – Detailed vs Overview (awareness) / Breath + Body / Combining (Joy) - Samatha
Calming bodily fabrication
Ability to call upon techniques to achieve stillness
(ST) [Sensitve to] Rapture
How to build? Watch Start/Middle/End/Pause After of In & Out Breath
(ST) Happiness
How to sustain & combine?
(ST) Mental Fabrication
Bringing the resolve to keep alert watch on coarse feelings, thoughts and emotions. Body vs mind- conditioning
Calming Mental Fabrication
Observing how bodily techniques calm the mind and how to master conditioning the mind
(ST) Mind
Gaining a greater clarity and observing the quality of mind
Satisfying Mind
Ability to use techniques to achieve rapture/happiness through calming the mind (Check/Drop mental resistance)
Steadying Mind
Equanimity when faced with challenges; using markers to check on EQ and apply remedies
Releasing Mind
Through gradual insights from various challenges: Relinquishing control; dropping ‘I’; surrendering
Focus on Impermanence
Observe A&P, alert to Arising’s and their pre-conditions (Vipassana)
Focus on Fading
Investigation of phenomena, cause & effect, mind vs body (Vipassana)
Focus on Cessation
Observe Passing Away & related characteristics (Vipassana)
Focus on Relinquishment
To let go of grasping to objects and illusion of self, optimally after clear comprehension (Fruition/Jhana Entry)

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/25/18 9:08 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Thank you for the lovely chart and wonderful advice. I will work hard to follow it. 

Concerning Mathew's comment, am I ready for Vippasana practice?

There is another issue I'm facing while off the cushion, which I have been hesitant to divulge. I'm still facing my addiction issues. I have chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, and it's far too easy to just take a pain pill, which I enjoy doing far too much. In reality, the pain I experience is not intolerable, but it does bring me down and bring me difficulty when it comes to enjoying the given moment. The feeling I get from the medication seems to block the more subtle nice feelings I experience during meditation. I also know that perhaps if I didn't enjoy taking the pills so much, it wouldn't be such a big deal for me to take them to lessen the pain. 
So, it's definitely standing in the way of my practice. I want to be able to quit. I don't want to crave them anymore, but the pain is always a reminder that I don't have to feel that way. 

I do have a certain amount of guilt attached to what I'm saying, and I know that's not helping me either. So, how to let go of all these useless feelings?

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/25/18 10:25 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
These are my opinions ONLY.

I will work on Access Concentration if and only if for easing through the inevitable Dark Night. It is worth it. I will revisit working on Vipassana intently (not if the mind chooses to do so, if yes, I will go along. I will never fight anything on this journey. Disagreeing with reality is F^(#ing RIDICULOUS. Everything that comes up, good/bad - they are my dharma teacher. I will be especially curious about the negative/suffering as that drives me and my desires are limited to clear-seeing and thus complete comprehension AND transcending them IS key to liberation.) after I am discouraged/frustrated with not being able to attain the 4th jhana and switch to Vipassana.

I will watch my addictions mindfully by spotting and separating craving from clinging. I will be more wary of clinging as that means the mind is holding onto something that isn't even pleasant (craving). I will allow my being to comprehend this addiction and through feeling good about letting go, let go in a most natural manner. I will not beat myself up to quit, I strive to reach an equilibrium of understanding my problems, I will not judge them, I will not resist them. When they are ready to leave, they will. However, I will not fool myself by letting clinging disguise itself as my pure intentions of true understanding of these problems.

When I feel more ready to give up my addictions, I will take them extra-mindfully and intent to meditate ON them. No multi-tasking is allowed. I will sit quietly, with no thoughts/distractions and focus on watching the effects they have on me. I will repeat this as much as necessary to achieve true comprehension.

I will start metta practice and remember to first go to them in distress before making any judgement/decision. I will be compassionate towards the being that I am and never forget that.

I will see that the path is a mix of Samatha/Vipassana/Metta (Brahma Vihara's) and intending to separate them is necessary for communications but they are ONE. I see that that the 4 jhanas and the 4 BVs are related. I see that to arrive at true Equanimity (and 4th Jhana/Stage of EQ in Vipassana), I will need to develop the 1st 3, especially compassion. With a developing equanimity through the BVs, I am better equipped to diss the sufferings of Life as necessary pains and be okay with them...




RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/25/18 10:22 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
How many time do you meditate every day?

What are your objectives? what you want to achive or focus?


My advice is work in your Access Concentration is the foundation of the house, if you have good access concentration jhanas will come for it self and you will be able to explore and observe sensations, emotions, mental states more accurate.

Also going on retreat is very important if you want to make big steps in the path. Also retreat provide a safe space for doing intense vipassana meditation. I point that becouse if you have a "Dark Past" and you do good vipassana practice shit will arise, and usually when shit arrise we dont want to face it. Doing retreat you are in the mindset for face it and process it and you will not able to clinging to old patterns like smoke, drink, eat, drug etc, can be a very cleaning process and also get depth insights about ultimate nature of reality.

Meditation is a feeling process is not pushing a button or counting numbers ( its good for checking how you concentration is going emoticon), for my expirence is important to develop this capicity to feel. For exemple, if you want to enter to the Jhana's this is very important becouse what leads to Frist Jhana is the skill to fuse with a good sensation and enjoy the feeling of good sensation not willing/wanting to achive frist jhana.

Also Metta practice at least for me is very important and can be mixed up to 4 jhana. So, smile and also have a good times in your meditation emoticon

I recomended to you these books :

The mind Illuminated - Culadasa
Right Concentration, a practical guide to the Jhanas - Leigh Brasington
The four immeasurables, practices to open the heart - B. Alan Wallace

Enjoy the path, hugs!!!

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/26/18 11:03 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
 Well I said to myself ,it's gonna hurt when childhood traumas gonna show up (for me they did alot) ,but I have to deal with them sooner or later and they're impermanent.Dealing with that paychological issues in vippasana I think is better then to be "haunted" byt them for the rest of life.

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/26/18 11:20 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Addiction and pain and guilt and pleasure and fear and joy and anger and doubt and and and and. 

This shit is all just a gift of evolution and arises in every single human's mind.   Pain pills are not different intrinsically to addiction to power or exercise or cinnabon.  

The worst of all of these, IMHO,  is guilt.  We feel like we should let go of all the other negative feelings, but we feel like guilt is our duty and letting it go is somehow an abomination before god. (even if you dont believe in God). 

I think working with a therapist to explore and release the guilt and getting into treatment for addiction is more important at this stage than meditating.   As you dig into meditation, stronger and stronger feelings are likely to arise and the call of the pain meds is likely to get stronger.

Do you do Yoga?  

I am a random and likely crazy stranger on the internet, so you should probably ignore me,  but my advice would be to start an everyday yoga practice in a group with a teacher, find an easy going and friendly therapist to bounce things off of (do you think the one you work with is effective? ) and work with a psychiatrist to figure out what combination of non opioid pain medication and anti depressants can get you through the day.   When you can put your head to your knees and go a month with out pain pills and still smile, then I would start opening up the pandoras box of mind. 

Do you have enough money/insurance to follow this advice?  If not, there are probably other options. 

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/26/18 1:09 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Rebecca:
Hi all. My name's Rebecca and I'm a wee beginner on this great journey. I would absolutely love to have someone around who can tell me what I'm doing right, what I'm doing wrong, and to give me advice and pointers to help me along. Problem is, I don't know where to look or who to ask.

I'm 32 and I live in Western Kentucky. I've got about six months to a year of meditation experience, but have yet to reach the first jhana. I meditate for about an hour daily, do walking meditation almost daily, and practice mindfulness as much as I can. Concentration is good.
I have a dark past including childhood abuse and problems with addiction. 
I've done a lot of reading concerning Buddhism. Shobo Genzo, Thich Nhat Hanh, a few sutras, the Jatakas and the MCTB. 
I've also been keeping to the precepts.

So, what do?
It took a few months to get my first Jhana. It's basically teaching the brain the difference between being engaged on a goal in the present moment vs. ruminating about the goal. Here's the story of how I ended up in Jhana for the first time:

https://youtu.be/pBAtA2waS0M
Jhana

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/27/18 8:29 AM as a reply to Jordi.
@Jordi:
I meditate three to four times a day, for a length of anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes. 

I suppose my main objective is to achieve a state where I can be content with things as they are in each moment, and to have better self-control. I have already seen improvements in both these areas. There's also the part of me that's not entirely sure if the jhanas even exist, so I'd like to experience them for myself. My supreme goal would be enlightenment although I don't expect it to happen in this lifetime. 

I would absolutely love to go on retreat, but being in western kentucky, i may have to travel a long distance, and I have no clue if these retreats require a payment of money. If they do, I'm out of luck. I'm pretty poor.

I'm going to start metta practice soon, and yes, I do smile during meditation! I don't even have to think about it anymore. 

I'll check out those books. Thanks for the recommendations and kind words.

@Yulin Ong,

Your words are wise indeed. I do have issues with guilt and self-loathing every time I give in to some silly craving or my less than silly addiction. Having PTSD, self-love is a very weak force in my life. I realize how important it is for me to change that. 

I like the idea of seeing all things as your Dharma teacher. I think that may be what so much of the symbolism of the Buddha's epic battle with Mara was about. Don't remember the exact details, but didn't Mara shoot arrows at Buddha, but before they could hit him, they turned into flowers and perfume? I think He took his own weaknesses and used them to his advantage. I've got plenty of weaknesses so, I have plenty of opportunities to gain insight from them. 

Thanks to everyone who's chimed in. Lots of kind people here. 

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/27/18 11:32 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
back to respond to more of you guys' suggestions.

@seth tapper,
I'm seeing a therapist, although I don't get to see him quite often enough as he is always booked. However I'm keeping my appointments and doing all the homework he's assigned me. He is very intelligent and professional and I think we have a good dynamic. I'll probably be in therapy for a long time.

Concerning addiction treatment, I could check myself into a 30 day rehab facility, but it might cost me my job. This girl's gotta work to keep her head above water. I am developing more and more of an aversion to the pain pills. If I can make it through the withdrawals I think I can stay clean, but you're right that certain issues may come to the surface during this grand journey that could make me want to use again. Feel a little lost.

I haven't been doing yoga, and can't afford to take classes, but I can probably find some video tutorials on youtube or netflix, which I'm sure won't compare to the face to face experience. I'm going to give it a try though.

I'm on several psychotropic medications, but most of my mental state depends on my thoughts and attitude, which affect me far more than the meds possibly could. Since I began meditating, observing my thoughts, and practicing mindfulness, I've seen a huge improvement. Still, I know better than to just stop taking the medication.

My situation is a complicated one, but I'm feeling brave about making my life, and the lives of those around me, better. I am absolutely determined, even if I never make any progress beyond where I am now, to keep this habit of meditation. 

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/28/18 3:24 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Hey Rebecca!
Best of luck with your journey
Just wanted to point out: there are centers at which you can do retreats for free, and their model is one where each retreatant's stay is paid for by previous donors. You can check out the 10-day Goenka Vipassana courses (www.dhamma.org) although these can be quite intense and aren't usually recommendable for people with big trauma issues, they can still be quite helpful especially if you are also doing therapy and are generally working on being grounded and so on. If you can find a buddhist monastery you might be able to do short retreats for free too, so its worth checking out. I don't know if this place for example is anywhere near you: https://www.watmetta.org/overnightVisitors.html
Thanissaro Bhikku who founded the place is very reputable

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/28/18 7:42 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
This is another version of jhana-entry that is worth looking into/practicing, I am sure many can identify with the truth of this version. I think this will work very well if integrated with the understanding of Leigh Brasington's instructions too.

Not Tao:

Hello eveyone,

I'd like to share this method I've been using because of how relaxed and easy it is.  I had a lot of misconceptions about concentration practice before that made it into a bit of a chore to do regularly and actually ended up stopping me from practicing for a period of time.  I'm hoping this little tutorial/explanation will inspire more people to practice concentration regularly.

Anyway, the essentials are very anapanasati.  I take a seat and watch the breath.  However, there are lots of details no one mentions that actually make this a whole lot easier.

Firstly, I don't try to sit still.  This can be a big barrier to entry, and I've never seen anyone point out that this isn't important.  Who wants to spend 30 minutes trying to fight against an itch or leg pain.  Move as much as you want!  Scratch your nose.  Bounce your leg.  Shift positions every 10 seconds.  The only thing you have to do is keep watching your breath.  So as you scratch that itch, just make sure you're still watching your breath.  It's amazing how much easier it is to concentrate when you don't have this kind of manufactured distraction.  As concentration builds, you will naturally become still - the body calms down and you don't even notice.  Afterward you'll get up and suddenly realize you hadn't moved for 40 minutes!

I also don't try to sit on the floor or any special position.  Sit in the most comfortable way you can - your favorite chair, maybe.  As an added help, do something that requires you to stand for 30 minutes before meditating.  This will help the body relax when you sit.

You also don't need to close your eyes.  You can if you like, but if it makes you tired, try just leaving them open.  I do both, personally.  I've found practicing with my eyes open helps to transition the jhana factors into everyday life.

Now, the practice of samatha, rather than thinking of it as a concentration exercise, think of it as training to become patient.  A person with perfect patience has no need to think about anything or do anything.  They would just be willing to wait forever for nothing to happen.  As you watch the breath and distractions come up, see them as your own impatience - your own desire to solve some the problem or finish this current task and move on to the next one.  Go back to the breath with the idea that, "It can wait."  This is really the key to jhana, I think.  Tranquility is not something you attain so much as what's left when you stop trying to do anything in particular.  Tranquility is just being content to exist for a little while.  The breath is not even so important as patience, so if you notice yourself impatiently trying to concentrate on the breath, then drop that impatience as well and just go back to breathing peacefully.  Don't try to force anything - this is just more impatience.

Think of the breath as an anchor to the present moment.  I count both out-breaths and in-breaths (like, one, one, two, two, three, three, and so on...) because it's easier to maintain a stream of awareness that way.  If I notice I'm thinking about something, or I've developed a tension somewhere, I go back to the last number I remember clearly.  This is a good time to see impatience clearly.  The mind will rebel when you go backwards.  It will say, "No, no, I've already done that!  I'm just losing progress!  When I get to 100 I can be done."  This is actually the main reason I count.  When you see this tension clearly and drop it, you'll start to see what tranquility is all about.

Now, this is key.  The jhana factors arise when you are fully relaxed - not when you are fully concentrated. The goal is not to maintain a perfect lazer-like awareness of the breath, but rather to remove all impatience and the tension related to it.  Awareness has a way of "blooming" for me when I become fully relaxed mentally.  It's effortless and somewhat magical.   The breath becomes very easy to watch, as well as a kind of "nowness" - or a sense of time standing still.

When this happens, excitement is not an obstacle!  There is no need to try to focus in or stop yourself from thinking, "oh, there it goes!"  Instead, just remain relaxed and enjoy the piti and sukha as it arises.  If you find yourself losing the jhana factors, just remember that the key is letting go of striving and just resting.  Use the breath as a support for this.

This is also how you can bring this skill out of formal meditation and into everyday life.  During the day, you can watch yourself for impatience.  For me it almost feels like I'm trying to push myself forward or escape the current situation.  J ust the other day I was doing flash cards and I noticed this hapoening.  It's a full body tension, like bracing against the world.  When I let go of it, I actually dropped into the first jhana for a time.  After a bit of sitting, you don't even need to watch for this intentionally during the day, but if you do it manually it can increase the effectiveness of your sitting practice.

Eventually it becomes very easy just to enter jhana - even if it seems like there are many distractions.  The truth is, there are never any distractions, just the incessant desire to be anywhere but here.  When this goes away, tranquility is what remains.

MEDITATION CONCEPT by Chuck Kasmire:

For sitting: approach it with a sense of exploration, wonder, and curiosity. Don’t think about getting anything nor about interpretations. Have fun with it. When the body and mind relax, the energy will present itself - trying to do something or force something - to expect something - is not a relaxed mind. If you try to push forward, you block your way. When you sit, give the mind a chance to settle down - this can take 45 min or more. Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t. When the mind is caught up in thoughts, that’s where you are at - so always need to attend to experience as it is happening and not trying to want it to be different. So how is it that thoughts are grabbing your attention such that you get sucked into them? You need to see what is going on here. You need to experience the feeling of ‘abandoning’ - that is a key skill. 


Remember that the breath energy is like a set of training wheels on a bike - it gives you a pleasurable experience away from thoughts - a way for the mind to learn to be aware outside of attending to a flow of thoughts and it can carry you much deeper then that. If you are not aware of the breath energy then that is not the training wheels you should be using at that time. Find some sensation - could be just the sense of pressure on the bottom of your feet, or a sense of warmth in the body or coolness - something that you can use as an anchor for awareness to stay with in a relaxed way. It has to be something that you are aware of right now - not something sought after - which just creates tension in the mind. The breath energy will appear when it is ready. Attending to your experience in this way, eventually things will quiet down to the point where the stillness of the mind presents itself - explore it in silence. It’s a very personal journey - you just have to see where it leads for yourself.

All the best to your journey! emoticon

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/28/18 9:25 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
More wonderful advice. Thank you!

I expected this community to be a haven of kindness, but I'm still humbled and impressed by how nonjudgemental, helpful, and caring each of you has been toward me. I am truly grateful.

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/28/18 9:39 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Pleasure, Rebecca... For cravings, see if you can notice the unpleasant 'tension' that occurs when you desire/aversive to stuff. When this tension irks you enough, you will want to drop that craving naturally. Clinging is where the tough stuff lies - all the thoughts, I/me/mine, stories, feelings, reasons, views - be very gentle with yourself here. Remember that this is the middle path, we see clearly/realize that these are bad and let them go, we never put up a fight...

Compassion to yourself, pretty please! emoticon

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/28/18 12:24 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Compassion to yourself, pretty please! emoticon

I'm working on it. Slowly but surely. emoticon

I think I get the gist of what you're saying about cravings. That when I realize their true nature, letting them go will be easy. In the meantime I shouldn't force myself too much, just pay attention to my desires and look into them very deeply. 

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/28/18 8:43 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Also, I have another question.

Since yesterday I've been fighting to stay awake during meditation. I normally haven't had such a problem. I'm not sleep deprived and don't feel overly tired while off the cushion.
Is there a way to combat the sleepiness? Should I just go with it and let myself fall asleep? Is there any significance to me experiencing this?

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/28/18 9:39 PM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Sleep is an important part of healing. You need to sleep well in order to meditate well. It's also good for your everyday life and keeping you sharp. Sleep when you need to. 

If it's a conditioning thing, like laying in bed and starting to feel sleepy, then you need to situp and breathe deeper to get more oxygen/energy.

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/28/18 11:33 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
As far as sleeping when I need to, I'm glad you said that. I need 9+ hours to feel my best, which usually includes a nap during the day. Then I read what the Buddha said about not letting yourself be overly fond of sleeping, and didn't know if I should start staying awake in the daytime. So you're pretty much telling me to sleep as much as I need to, right?

I sit when I meditate, so that's not the issue. But, I just finished my nighttime session and it was the best sit I've had so far! No sleepiness, nice tingling in my head, and 50 minutes of great concentration! I am pleased.

RE: looking for someone to help me along the path
Answer
3/29/18 8:49 AM as a reply to Rebecca P.
Sleeping is good for your brain. I think the Buddha is talking about oversleep. Sleep as much as you need because the brain clears up a lot of useless neuroconnections and helps to bolster the things you need to remember. Sleep also does a lot of body repair as well. Lacking sleep is not good.

Sleeping can be reduced a little bit when you have lots of practice, but gauge your energy in the morning. You should feel fantastic when you wake up, not groggy.

Focus on daytime practice with your eyes open so you don't feel the need to meditate for long hours into the night. The goal is to think when you need to think and let go of thinking when it's counterproductive. No matter how far you are on the path you need good practices when you are outside nirvana, which is most of your life. There's always a little bit of stress just to keep you conscious. 

I also have a video on walking meditation and Thich Nhat Hanh already warns about jumping to the end in the mind, which is basically the becoming part of dependent origination. That's what you need to target even in sitting meditation. Learning to get as much mindfulness out of short periods of time will help you to not waste time when you have time free for sittings.

Incorporate it all the time and watch how the mind jumps to self-concepts all the time, even in relation to meditation attainments.

https://youtu.be/K9jz24WQfi8
How to Walk

https://youtu.be/GCxtgwoJmbc
Dependent Co-arising