Is effort necessary to stay present?

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Dcdc
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Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Dcdc » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:52 pm

Good morning, everyone. I'm sorry for my english; it's not my first language, hehehehe. :-)

I don't want to talk about an ego that doesn't exist, but I have to talk a little bit about me to explain my question. Excuse me for that.

So, I've been practicing for some years (using formal and informal meditation practices), and I am amazed with the results and the way life presents itself at every moment. I can not say that I can be present at absolutely every moment, but more and more I become aware that I was "sleeping" and, then, gently bring myself back to the present moment. In all humility, I really think I understood what means to be present, what means the idea of ​​the gaps between two thoughts increasing, etc, and I'm practicing this the most that I can. I love it!

It is not a problem at all, but, for me, it's necessary some kind of "effort" to be present, especially after realizing that I was "sleeping". It's not a big effort, but I always have to "choose" something to anchor myself - which is usually my breath, my favorite anchor, but also sounds, sensations, and so on. If I don't do that, usually I start to "sleep" into my thoughts again.

However, I saw a video of Eckhart Tolle that he said something about "in some point, even the method has to be dropped."

Well, my question is: am I right about anchor myself in something every moment? If I'm correct, someday (maybe, who knows? hehehehe) I will not feel this "necessity" and drop the methods? If this is correct, the methods' drop will be automaticly? What are your thoughts about that?

Thank you for this, and I'm sorry for this big text.

Best regards, my friends.

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by kiki » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:52 pm

I think you are doing wonderfully - just keep doing what you are doing. At some point being awake will be the default mode, and when it becomes obvious you have momentarily slipped back into something else that moment of recognition will be all that's needed to return to presence.

Welcome to the forum, Dcs.
kiki
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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Dcdc » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:59 pm

kiki wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:52 pm
I think you are doing wonderfully - just keep doing what you are doing. At some point being awake will be the default mode, and when it becomes obvious you have momentarily slipped back into something else that moment of recognition will be all that's needed to return to presence.

Welcome to the forum, Dcs.
kiki
Thank you so much, my friend. Your answer is very helpful. :- )

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Loffe » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:05 am

In my experience, use everything what works for you. Meditation, affirmations, "be present" reminders in the phone or sticky notes on the bathroom mirror. If something helps you be in presence - use it. But be gentle with it, don't make techniques something you must do but rather something you want to do. Same goes with discipline and routine. It is needed but it needs to be soft.
When you know you don't need those techniques then you know. But meantime you want to be careful because when egoic mind feels threatened by techniques it gonna create story why you don't need to practice anymore. You can recognise the story by mind generated arguments - "I don't need this anymore, because...."
Just do what you do without expecting results. I had helpful affirmation: "Ok, I do this maybe the rest of my life and nothing happens. I don't mind and I don't know nor have to know. Let see what happens."
Loffe

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Dcdc » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:15 pm

Loffe wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:05 am
In my experience, use everything what works for you. Meditation, affirmations, "be present" reminders in the phone or sticky notes on the bathroom mirror. If something helps you be in presence - use it. But be gentle with it, don't make techniques something you must do but rather something you want to do. Same goes with discipline and routine. It is needed but it needs to be soft.
When you know you don't need those techniques then you know. But meantime you want to be careful because when egoic mind feels threatened by techniques it gonna create story why you don't need to practice anymore. You can recognise the story by mind generated arguments - "I don't need this anymore, because...."
Just do what you do without expecting results. I had helpful affirmation: "Ok, I do this maybe the rest of my life and nothing happens. I don't mind and I don't know nor have to know. Let see what happens."
Thank you for your answer, my friend.

I fully agree with you. My practice is soft, and the goal is gently bring me back to the present moment the most that I can without create expectations, because they would be another ilusions. I love it, it's not hard or painful anchor my self in things during the day - although in the start it was hard, but with experience and a lot of "a-ha" moments, things started to get easier and funnier, hehehehe. :- )

I do this literally the most that I can. Since I wake up everyday until the bedtime, I try my best to be present at every perception of moment;

But as I never spoke to anyone about this (even in years) - and considering what ET said about dropping the methods -, I was wondering if this practice (to "choose" to anchor my self in my breathing, or the sounds, and so on, one moment at time) is right; and your answers were very helpful to understand more about this.

This is my first forum about this subject, and I already like it, hehehehe. Thank you for that.

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Sighclone » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:32 pm

Totally agree with others' responses. For me, if I'm feeling stress, I just "settle back." That may sound like an odd phrase, (awakening doesn't have a direction) - but it seems to work. Tara Brach also commented about "moving behind herself." Kiki said that the simple recognition that you are not "present" is enough. Is this effort? Not really. Just let go of the wheel, the vehicle will straighten itself. After many years, meditation seems sort of redundant, although I still do it, periodically. Just because you have 'awakened' to the fundamental truth of who we are, doesn't mean you will never get 'hooked' by a thought-stream or that the 'painbody' is banished forever...the potential for backsliding is still there. But once you have realized your Self, these perturbations can never be permanent.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Dcdc » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:25 pm

Sighclone wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:32 pm
Totally agree with others' responses. For me, if I'm feeling stress, I just "settle back." That may sound like an odd phrase, (awakening doesn't have a direction) - but it seems to work. Tara Brach also commented about "moving behind herself." Kiki said that the simple recognition that you are not "present" is enough. Is this effort? Not really. Just let go of the wheel, the vehicle will straighten itself. After many years, meditation seems sort of redundant, although I still do it, periodically. Just because you have 'awakened' to the fundamental truth of who we are, doesn't mean you will never get 'hooked' by a thought-stream or that the 'painbody' is banished forever...the potential for backsliding is still there. But once you have realized your Self, these perturbations can never be permanent.

Andy
Thank you for your words, Andy.

I agree with you, especially with the part of "(...) meditation seems sort of redundant, although I still do it, periodically. Just because you have 'awakened' to the fundamental truth of who we are, doesn't mean you will never get 'hooked' by a thought-stream or that the 'painbody' is banished forever."

Do you have a time/schedule (I don't know how to say this in english) to meditate (with the formal form) everyday? In my current case - although it seems to me that meditation seems sort of redudant too -, I meditate (with the formal form) almost everyday, but I don't have a exact time for this; I just think "Hm, I want to meditate now" and found a quiet place to do it (which is, a lot of times, the bathroom of my work, hehehehe, or a zafu that I have in my home).

Again, thank you.

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Sighclone » Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:09 pm

Dcs -

I do not have a schedule for meditation, but won't start one unless I know I have at least 45 minutes in a quiet area. Rarely go more than three days without meditating.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by kiki » Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:23 pm

If you have a formal meditation practice and are a new meditator a regular meditation schedule would be best. However, if you've been meditating for some time meditate when you get the inspiration to do so. I no longer meditate to get some "spiritual" benefit from it. But I have returned to meditation for its physical benefits and because, to me, its like spending time with good company.

When I meditate I usually wait until my body feels right - not hungry or thirsty, not overly tired, not soon after eating and when I get the impulse to do it. My meditations are shorter than they used to be, maybe 15-20 minutes instead of 30-45 minutes or even an hour like they used to be.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Dcdc » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:34 pm

Sighclone wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:09 pm
Dcs -

I do not have a schedule for meditation, but won't start one unless I know I have at least 45 minutes in a quiet area. Rarely go more than three days without meditating.

Andy
kiki wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:23 pm
If you have a formal meditation practice and are a new meditator a regular meditation schedule would be best. However, if you've been meditating for some time meditate when you get the inspiration to do so. I no longer meditate to get some "spiritual" benefit from it. But I have returned to meditation for its physical benefits and because, to me, its like spending time with good company.

When I meditate I usually wait until my body feels right - not hungry or thirsty, not overly tired, not soon after eating and when I get the impulse to do it. My meditations are shorter than they used to be, maybe 15-20 minutes instead of 30-45 minutes or even an hour like they used to be.
It's great to hear more about you, guys.

I used to be a hard meditator, with a schedule and so on. Nowadays, I just try my best to stay in the present moment the most that I can, and when the present moment naturally shows to me a great opportunity to do a formal meditation session, I do. I like it! However, usually I don't have a predetermined duration. Most of times, they are short sessions (7~15 minutes), but some times go beyond.

Do you guys do the formal meditation sessions sitting in a regular chair, or use something as a zafu (from Zen), for example, to sit with the crossed legs?

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by kiki » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:11 pm

I don't do cross-legged sitting due to bad knees, so I just sit on a chair or a couch, making sure my back is upright and not slouched.

Staying in the present moment, for me, is like meditation, and that was why I let go of the meditation regimen that I had followed for nearly 30 years. That and the fact that I recognized I had become heavily identified as a "meditator" as a significant part of my egoic identity. When I finally realized that the present moment is all there ever is I relaxed about being rigidly tied to a regular and formal meditation practice and eventually dropped it altogether. I think that made my day more spontaneous because I had become freed from being distracted with anticipating what meditation could eventually bring to me in some nebulous future that never seemed to arrive; simply being here now in a conscious way was enough. And as I mentioned, I returned to meditation for its health benefits, but with a very flexible approach in regard to time and regularity.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Dcdc » Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:56 pm

kiki wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:11 pm
I don't do cross-legged sitting due to bad knees, so I just sit on a chair or a couch, making sure my back is upright and not slouched.

Staying in the present moment, for me, is like meditation, and that was why I let go of the meditation regimen that I had followed for nearly 30 years. That and the fact that I recognized I had become heavily identified as a "meditator" as a significant part of my egoic identity. When I finally realized that the present moment is all there ever is I relaxed about being rigidly tied to a regular and formal meditation practice and eventually dropped it altogether. I think that made my day more spontaneous because I had become freed from being distracted with anticipating what meditation could eventually bring to me in some nebulous future that never seemed to arrive; simply being here now in a conscious way was enough. And as I mentioned, I returned to meditation for its health benefits, but with a very flexible approach in regard to time and regularity.
That's wonderful, Kiki! Absolutely beautiful.

I agree with you one hundred percent, and that exacly process happened to me too - although I wasn't following a meditation regimen for so much years as you, hehehehe. And although I still have my zafu, nowadays I prefer to sit and a chair either.

Once I read in a book of Mingyur Rinpoche something that I will never forget: he argues that it's hard because it is so easy, hehehehe. Oh, and: "Let yourself enjoy the view as you travel along the path. (...) you'll realize that the place you want to reach is the place you already are." :D

One question to you, Kiki: do you think that is there a difference between do a formal meditation with the back upright and do it without paying attention to it?

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by Sighclone » Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:04 pm

I have never been able to hold a full lotus position. I think the purpose of that and the Zen squat position is simply to stabilize the body in a vertical position - sitting in a chair is just fine for that. Like kiki, I trained and practiced TM for many years...but I do not use my mantra, except on rare occasion, mainly just to keep all modalities available. I do think that a vertical back is helpful to keep from falling asleep.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Is effort necessary to stay present?

Post by kiki » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:14 am

One question to you, Kiki: do you think that is there a difference between do a formal meditation with the back upright and do it without paying attention to it?
Upright (but not to the point of being uncomfortable) is an aide to ward off sleepiness. It also helps to breathe from the diaphragm better since the lungs can expand more freely on the inhale. Putting a bit of peripheral attention on the posture helps to maintain this posture throughout your meditation session.
...Oh, and: "Let yourself enjoy the view as you travel along the path. (...) you'll realize that the place you want to reach is the place you already are."
That's a great quote, and I couldn't agree more. When you boil it all down it's about being right here, right now.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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