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Author Topic: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?  (Read 13594 times)

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Offline scb07d

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #315 on: January 08, 2014, 02:16:52 PM »
Very good points Cheesus. :)

People tend to interpret Mindfulness 2 ways I think.

1) Doing nothing is the solution to uncomfortable feelings.
2) There is no solution to uncomfortable feelings and you have to live within them.

The second one seems to be legitimate Mindfulness while the first is a misinterpretation.

Some people would say that our system of Language and Cognition is designed in such a way that when you try to get rid of something uncomfortable inside your skin it can never work because you're referencing that thing in the process. It's like trying not to think about a pink elephant or whatever. So basically, there can never be a "solution" to how you feel... and Mindfulness is the acknowledgement of that I think.
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Offline doogle2

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #316 on: January 08, 2014, 04:26:31 PM »
Well I can't say I agree - take this story:

There were 2 monks, Master and Student, out walking one day. The sun was shining, birds were singing, there was a lovely gentle breeze in the air, it was a fine day for a walk.

They came to a river bank. The river was swollen. They could still cross but they would have to get wet as the water was waist deep.

Just then a woman arrived, "oh dear", she said "I need to cross, but I can't, could you help me".

"Certainly said the Master, I'll carry you across, if you would allow it.", the woman agreed and so the Master picked her up and carried her across. At the other side she thanked him and went on her way, the monks walked on. The student was very upset, but didn't say anything.

Hours passed and the Master, knowing the student was very distracted, finally asked him what was wrong. "Master" said the Student "Why did you carry that women, we are not supposed to get involved with women?", the Master replied "I put the woman down at the river bank, it is you that is still carrying her!".

The Master isn't doing 1) or 2) - the Master let go of any mental agitation or "suffering" at the river bank, moved on and went back to enjoying the sun shine, the birds singing, the gentle breeze in the air (what else was there for him to do?).

He didn't have uncomfortable feelings because he was free of them - he put them down, let them go, moved on and came back to reality, out of the mental realm of living and back into the NOW, the present moment - where life is actually happening (as Thoreau quite rightly said).

The student on the other hand got lost in worry, doubt, fear, concern, etc. and "suffered" as a result.
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The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish ~ Evelyn Waugh

Offline Cheesus

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #317 on: January 08, 2014, 05:13:37 PM »
The woman is the master's suffering. He treated her with care as he carried her across the river. Once on the other side, once he had offered his burden lovingkindness, he was able to put her down move on.

The student exists in Samsara. He did not offer the woman compassion or kindness and thus was he unable to drop his burden.

I get where you're coming from with 'b', scb. However, I would not quite phrase it as 'live within' and understand where Doogle's interpretation has arisen. I would more like to think of it as a compassionate acknowledgement. To sit gently with your experience as it rises and falls offers different connotations to living within the experience. The former suggests a gentle presence, the latter indicates being trapped. I do not want to hold my experience at arms' length, and nor do I want to fully exist as the experience. I just want to gently reassure it that everything is okay, and promise it that I am happy to sit vigil by the bedside until it passes.

Honestly I can never think of any better way to describe it other than treating suffering as you would a crying child. You do not push it away, you do not command it to stop, you do not encourage it, you do not sit and do nothing. Instead you hold it close and offer it warmth. When the experience is ready to pass, it will pass.
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Offline Cheesus

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #318 on: January 08, 2014, 05:26:42 PM »
Taking the metaphor further, the woman never would have been able to cross the river without the master's compassion. Nor could he simply drop her whenever he liked. Only once he reached the far side of the river could he let her go.

Furthermore, the student was actively averse to the woman. He could not let her go.
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Offline scb07d

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #319 on: January 09, 2014, 01:46:08 AM »
Yeah, you're right.

You can make a distinction between toleration VS acceptance or willingness. I didn't mean to suggest that one should *tolerate* the way they feel... you're right it's more about incorporation.

I think when you tell people they have to accept the way they feel it can come off as just saying "suck it up" or "just deal with it." That's definitely not what acceptance is. I'm probably guilty of coming off like that.

It can be difficult to remember what it felt like prior to reaching a point of acceptance. And so you can end up talking to people without being delicate because you lose touch with that other perspective. I definitely need to get better at remembering what it's like to be carrying that level of suffering around everyday. It's obviously more complicated than just telling people to "let go" of it.
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Offline Cheesus

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #320 on: January 09, 2014, 03:06:34 AM »
Yeah I agree. I suffer from a chronic, untreatable, incurable, physical illness. I can't just 'let go' of that. I need to treat my suffering with care. Moreover, having just broken up form my girlfriend, there is a time for mourning and pain. I should not, and would not want to, attempt to force my attention away from my upset and into direct present moment, sensory experience. My experience is the suffering, I need to allow that and treat myself with kindness.

I was recently listening to a dharma talk by Gil Fronsdal, a guy who is an ordained Zen and Theravada monk and has practiced for years in Japan and Burma. He noted that the Buddha suffered from chronic back pain (from the asceticism of his youth, no doubt) and would often have to forgo teaching due to the pain. This actually really shocked me. He could not simply let go of his suffering. He could be with it, and he could treat himself with kindness. The whole point of his enlightenment was that he ended his antagonistic relationship with suffering. He learned to walk a middle path between asceticism and indulgence, between aversion and craving. Just because you let go of something, it doesn't mean it has to go anywhere.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this because it was a pitfall that I fell into hook, line and sinker when I started my practice, and it caused a huge amount of tension and anguish.I also recognise that in the context of anxiety people want to use mindfulness to circumvent their suffering. It is impossible to circumvent suffering, however it is possible to use mindfulness as a guide to navigate suffering.

That's not saying that you can't be mindful of the beauty of present moment experience whilst this is happening, it's just that you must allow for it to happen and be kind to it.

In addition to Jack Kornfield's A Path With Heart, I also recommend Sharon Salzberg's Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.
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Offline doogle2

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #321 on: January 09, 2014, 03:25:17 AM »
I agree. The metaphor about the Master and the Student sums this up for me.

The Master was faced with a problem, he met that problem and carried that problem ONLY as far as was necessary. The moment it became appropriate - he put that problem down again and moved on.

The Student was faced with a problem, struggled to meet the problem and as a result carried the problem far longer than was necessary. In fact he made it into more of a problem and as a result struggled to put it down again - BECAUSE his mind was full of ideas/beliefs/worries/doubts/concerns, etc. about how it should have been, how it shouldn't have been, now what will happen to us, etc. etc. ............ and isn't that what we all do when we are given a problem?.

We don't have to carry our problems around with us and we certainly don't have to make them any bigger than they already are - but sadly we do.

Mindfulness helps with this. It doesn't rid you of your problems, but, simply put, it reminds you to put them down again - the moment it becomes appropriate to do so.
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The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish ~ Evelyn Waugh

Offline Cheesus

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #322 on: January 09, 2014, 03:48:45 AM »
Yeah. Sounds pretty good :)
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Online tinam7

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #323 on: January 09, 2014, 07:47:32 AM »
This gets the brain cells going. Am no longer wearing the wrong outfit to follow DL. Am in my sporty outfit ready to sit on my cushions.

But why am I sitting that way twice a day? What are my expectations? Also do Tai Chi, another form of meditation, as I see it. To become happy? To eliminate suffering? To give myself rides on Cloud 9? Transport myself to Shangri La? The First Noble Truth is, Life is Suffering. The Second is, Suffering is Caused by Selfish Craving.
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Online tinam7

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #324 on: January 12, 2014, 09:36:40 AM »
To counteract the last dismal entry, I can suggest Easwaran's thought for today (link on screen 20). Here are parts of it.

"We all need joy and we can receive joy in only one way, by adding to the joy of others.

Our destiny is in our own hands. Since we are formed by our thoughts, it follows that what we become tomorrow is shaped by what we think today."
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Offline ChimpMelons

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #325 on: January 12, 2014, 03:27:17 PM »
1) Doing nothing is the solution to uncomfortable feelings.

This probably means feeling the pain but not adding to it.

2) There is no solution to uncomfortable feelings and you have to live within them.

This most likely means acceptance which can goes with the rule above.

So basically mindfulness is just a tool use to accept pain which overtime makes it hurt less because you begin to realize and just know that pain is just pain nothing more and nothing less,
If that makes sense, obviously pain hurts and we hate it, but i dont know.
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Offline ChimpMelons

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #326 on: January 12, 2014, 03:31:04 PM »
All I want is my memory and focus to thrive again. Brain fog sucks old saggy orangutan t i t s
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Online tinam7

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #327 on: January 13, 2014, 08:26:32 AM »
There are countless books on meditation. There are different types of meditation. Individuals may have different goals and even these may vary from session to session.

So it's tough to summarize in a sentence or two much as I like to do that too. Sitting quietly, focussing on breathing in and out could be a start. There may not be dramatic results immediately, but over time the brain can calm down, we feel stronger, more confident, more in control and more at peace.
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Offline scb07d

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #328 on: January 13, 2014, 09:21:55 AM »
1) Doing nothing is the solution to uncomfortable feelings.

This probably means feeling the pain but not adding to it.

2) There is no solution to uncomfortable feelings and you have to live within them.

This most likely means acceptance which can goes with the rule above.

So basically mindfulness is just a tool use to accept pain which overtime makes it hurt less because you begin to realize and just know that pain is just pain nothing more and nothing less,
If that makes sense, obviously pain hurts and we hate it, but i dont know.

The idea is that the process of searching for a solution to pain is the problem. For example, over a given 5 year stretch of your life would you rather look back and say, "I was really happy during those 5 years" or "That 5 year period was difficult but I felt like I helped people and did positive things"?

Essentially, the idea of happiness changes from being about *feeling good* to being about *doing good*. But it's not that doing good things is going to make you happy either. You basically just have to give up the pursuit... which I think is hard for some people to grasp.

People spend an astounding amount of time and energy looking for things that will make them feel better. I think it makes more sense to accept feelings and instead focus on functional, physical behaviors in the environment that are valuable to other people.

As it turns out, I think Buddhism is actually much more accurate than people give it credit for. I'm not Buddhist or anything and I've always been critical of any religion. That being said, I think when they say "desire" is the source of suffering they're referring to this search for happiness/a solution to pain. And when they say "life is suffering" I think they're referring to the fact that pain is inherent because of how our brains work. Our brains are designed to never be satisfied with anything.
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Online tinam7

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Re: anyone ever tried meditation/mindfulness?
« Reply #329 on: January 22, 2014, 08:40:52 AM »
Today's quote says a great deal about meditation in a few words.

"This is the central principle of meditation: we become what we meditate on."
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