Great Difficulty Meditating

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Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby DCameronMauch » Thu May 05, 2011 9:39 pm

Hello everyone. Since reading TPON, I got the concept of meditation as a tool to help with me disassociate with my ego-mind.
Apparently, my ego-mind is not terribly fond of this concept. Before this I could meditate quite easily. Now I am experiencing
lots of procrastination. When I manage to get past that, and actually attempt to meditate, my mind barrages me with random
thoughts. I find it very difficult not to get swept away. If I do begin to quiet down, I just fall asleep. I have only reached a
state of relative quietness while fully conscious twice in the last two years.

During the beginning of this time, I had some fairly serious health issues with my gut. Thankfully, I seem to be fully healed now.
But it has left my nervous system a bit on the over-sensitive side. So I am also really wanting to use meditation was a tool to help
me readjust my nervous system sensitivity to a more calm/relaxed level.

Has anyone else here had a similar experience? I would greatly appreciate any advice on how I might overcome this blockage.

Thank you
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby ZenDrumming » Fri May 06, 2011 2:18 am

Your difficulty might be arising from the mental construct of "meditation" you have created. When you go into a meditation session with expectations and attachments, you're just bringing ego-stuff with you. You hit the nail on the head when you said your ego-mind isn't fond of the concept. Instead of waiting for meditation to "feel good", try sitting and observing your thoughts. If you're anything like me, the thoughts will be similar to "this isn't working" "this is a waste of time" "look at all these thoughts, I must be failing" "where's my results?" etc etc. Instead of fighting against or agreeing with these thoughts, just watch them float by. Focus on your breathing or whatever it is you focus on when you practice, and realize that all of these thoughts are the ego trying to get your attention. They are harmless. The ego will NEVER be ok with you pulling your attention away from it.

Also keep in mind that meditation isn't the only way for us to become more aware and present. We can choose to be more present in everything that we do by focusing on the Now. Life is our spiritual practice, not just meditation. Good luck.

-ZD
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby Rick » Fri May 06, 2011 3:18 am

DCameronMauch wrote: I manage to get past that, and actually attempt to meditate, my mind barrages me with random
thoughts.



Meditation...or mind-watching, is like going into a pen of wild horses...at first the horses rebel and resist wildly against your presence amongst them. There will be fear and panic in the air for an unknown stranger is in the midst. There will be a great commotion, lots of noises, wild movements, hoofs running to and fro, kicking up dust making it hard to see what is going on. There will be a few dominate ones that may charge at you to test you for fear, to try to dominate you, but have no fear...hold your ground and they will not harm you. There will those who run to the furtherest reaches of the pen to avoid you as if to hide. All will be very disturbed by your Presence. But if you will hold your ground, if you will not panic, if you stay very still, your Presence will soon extend a Peace out into the pen, and slowly but surely, a calm will come over everything in your purview. If you remain in this stillness long enough all the wild horses will become quiet and still too, even against their will. As Peace and Stillness enter the pen, Calm will rule over all that was previously wild and unruly. The key is in the daring to remain still long enough, consistently enough for your Presence to do its Good Work.
Daily life IS spiritual exercise.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby kiki » Fri May 06, 2011 3:49 am

Reread ZenDrumming's post - it's one of the best I've seen here concerning meditation. What You are is what sees the turmoil and discomfort; it's always present, always alert to what's arising.

As Rick suggests, "wild horses" will run about, but that which sees them running is always perfectly still and absolutely silent - is there not a sense of stillness and silence present watching all of this? There is no need to try to corral or lasso them, for that would only be another horse inserting itself into the "meadow". Watching them is enough. At some point you will see them settle down as they are soothed by the silence of the witnessing awareness that You are. So, you don't bring silence into the meadow - You ARE the silence itself, and that silence is ever present because You are ever present. Not the "you" that you imagine yourself to be, but the You that You truly are.

By the way, welcome to the board.

kiki
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby ashley72 » Fri May 06, 2011 4:58 am

This Eckhart Tolle video may be useful watching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bAXwBbCtHg

Have you considered an inner body meditation... where the attention is on the feelings within the body?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaVMZf91d7w

In the past, I meditated twice daily for about 9 months. I learned a lot from those sessions.. but I dispensed with it eventually. As it had served its purpose at the time.

My new meditation became.... staying in the present moment as often as possible..... I do this by becoming aware of whats around me, how my inner body feels, smelling scents, listening to the sounds. Being awake to life generally. Getting out of thinking. Embracing the moment, accepting what is.

Good luck.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby Maiken » Sun May 08, 2011 7:51 pm

I wanted to share my experience as well, it is similar to Ashley´s actually.

I used to be able to meditate easily, but then suddenly I started to feel too restless and it just didn´t work like it used to.
After a while I gave up the trying and started to focus on my senses more. Like everytime I walk the stairs, I am present, I feel the movement, and mind automatically is still. Then when I eat, I focus entirely to taste and biting and again the mind is quiet. The more I have practiced it, the easier it gets to take these little moments and they seem to be more frequent. And it almost feels like the little me dissolves when I am in the senses, I can not explain it, but it gives me the same calmness and joy as the long meditations used to. So maybe you could try to bring more presence into your everyday life and not worry about the meditation.

All the best.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby ashley72 » Mon May 09, 2011 1:53 am

Maiken wrote:I wanted to share my experience as well, it is similar to Ashley´s actually.

I used to be able to meditate easily, but then suddenly I started to feel too restless and it just didn´t work like it used to.
After a while I gave up the trying and started to focus on my senses more. Like everytime I walk the stairs, I am present, I feel the movement, and mind automatically is still. Then when I eat, I focus entirely to taste and biting and again the mind is quiet. The more I have practiced it, the easier it gets to take these little moments and they seem to be more frequent. And it almost feels like the little me dissolves when I am in the senses, I can not explain it, but it gives me the same calmness and joy as the long meditations used to. So maybe you could try to bring more presence into your everyday life and not worry about the meditation.

All the best.


Thanks for sharing Maiken - You have to follow your natural instinct sometimes.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby kiki » Mon May 09, 2011 5:46 am

Maiken - well done. What you are doing is wonderful.

In Zen they say it like this: when I eat, I eat; when I walk, I walk. In other words, fully immerse yourself in whatever you are doing, giving it full attention - this is meditation. Meditation then is no longer confined to a sit-down formal session, but becomes a full time practice.

And it almost feels like the little me dissolves when I am in the senses, I can not explain it, but it gives me the same calmness and joy as the long meditations used to.


You explained it beautifully.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby snowheight » Mon May 09, 2011 1:57 pm

kiki wrote:Maiken - well done. What you are doing is wonderful.

In Zen they say it like this: when I eat, I eat; when I walk, I walk. In other words, fully immerse yourself in whatever you are doing, giving it full attention - this is meditation. Meditation then is no longer confined to a sit-down formal session, but becomes a full time practice.

And it almost feels like the little me dissolves when I am in the senses, I can not explain it, but it gives me the same calmness and joy as the long meditations used to.


You explained it beautifully.


I want to repeat something that I wrote to Rick when he and rachMiel kindly illuminated to me the distinction between judgment and discernment -- herein we court the holy ghost.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby DCameronMauch » Wed May 11, 2011 12:03 am

Before this period, I had meditated about once a week using the transcendental method I was taught. Just focusing on a specific word/sound that I continuously repeated. I had the usual amount of mind noise. Thoughts such as ZenDrumming described. And/or (does this happen to anyone else?) completely random songs that I haven't heard in forever. Kind of strange to be trying to meditate when your mind suddenly wants to start playing "Whip It!" by Devo. :D This noise would usual settle down after about 10 to 15 minutes. Then I would stay in a nice calm quiet place for a little while. Usually would get to the point where I was barely even breathing.

Now is different. I don't seem to have a concentration issue in general. I can sit down and write complex programs all day long. But soon as something in me realizes that I am trying to meditate, the mind noise level drastically increases. I have tried body sensation awareness, like breathing, heart beat, tracing up/down spine with breathing, and whole body. Tried relaxing music, guided meditation audio, etc. But keeping my focus on the present is extremely difficult. I can only manage it for 5 to 10 seconds at a time. It's like trying to get a solid grip on a greased up seal that really doesn't want to be there. Strange imagery. But this difficulty has that squirmy/slippery feel to it. It seems that my mind/ego is literally throwing everything it has at my awareness to keep me distracted. Some random thought pulls me away from the present. At some point I realize and snap back. But only very briefly. Or my awareness of some object (such as heart beat) gets clouded and lost. Don't know how else to describe. Have to focus very hard to find it again, but then it just slips away again. Or, lastly, I very suddenly fall asleep.

Not being able to meditate is very frustrating. Especially since is used to be to easy, relatively speaking. I really don't know how to get past this. And I don't seem to be making any progress.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby Rick » Wed May 11, 2011 11:37 pm

DCameronMauch wrote:
Not being able to meditate is very frustrating. Especially since is used to be to easy, relatively speaking. I really don't know how to get past this. And I don't seem to be making any progress.


Here is what I suggested to someone else where. You may find it of use.
One of the ways I've learned from ET to stop the mind cold is to become aware of space. Sitting on your bench, simply notice the space between you and the nearest tree, shrub, rock, anything. Just notice it. Same in any room. Notice the space between you and the wall in front of you. Notice that the wall, floor and ceiling aren't the most important part of the room but the space that makes the room possible. Notice that space. Hold out your hand in front of you. Notice the space between your eyes and your hand. It is impossible to think and be aware of space at the same time. This is a powerful meditation that you can do anywhere. In the bathroom, (forgive me) while walking, driving, anywhere, anytime. Notice that when you notice space, you become still and spacious yourself.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby ashley72 » Thu May 12, 2011 1:07 am

Meditating once a week is not enough in my opinion. You need to really loosen up your minds ability to steal you away from the present moment. Try meditating at least daily for a few weeks. If you can fit it in do it in morning and evening. Even before going to sleep and just after waking you need to check in with those thoughts to see what's going on.

You really have to embrace mindfulness fully in your life to see a major shift towards being more conscious.

I recommend reading a book like "mindfulness in plain english". Its a great meditators handbook, because it explains the basics of mindfulness practice.

What do others think?
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby DCameronMauch » Thu May 12, 2011 2:48 am

Hello. I have been trying to meditate almost every day since my life shifted two years ago.
Like I said, out of roughly 700 attempts, I have only been successful twice. Not a great average.

I will try the "notice space" technique and see how it works. Thanks.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby kiki » Thu May 12, 2011 4:06 am

Like I said, out of roughly 700 attempts, I have only been successful twice


How would you define "successful"?

You mentioned the Transcendental method earlier - do you mean Transcendental Meditation? If so, and you are continuing to use the TM technique, have you had your meditation checked?

I will say this about that technique: do not struggle with the mantra, do not force the mantra or use it in a mechanical way; use it easily and innocently, and think it as easily as you think any other thought - notice right now how easily, innocently, and spontaneously thoughts come. Think the mantra in that same way. So don't "pound away" with the mantra or repeat it in a forced way. Be innocent with it and let it fade into a more subtle form rather than trying to hold it clearly in the mind.

As you get into more subtle levels of thinking the mantra will become more like a faint idea and may fade away completely - let it fade away, don't try to hang onto it, and don't try to make it fade away, don't expect anything; just be innocently alert to what's happening. Then let whatever happens in meditation arise because it's all part of the process. Thoughts coming is part of the process; they aren't an indication that you are doing something wrong. But when you notice you've become caught up in thoughts again then bring back the mantra in that innocent and easy way.
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Re: Great Difficulty Meditating

Postby ashley72 » Thu May 12, 2011 4:13 am

DCameronMauch wrote:Before this period, I had meditated about once a week using the transcendental method I was taught. Just focusing on a specific word/sound that I continuously repeated.


I found a link to "Mindfulness In Plain English" Pdf version. I was surprised it was uploaded on the web. I bought a copy of the book a couple years ago.

Mindfulness in Plain English (PDF version)

Here's a navigational web book

Mindfulness in Plain English (Web Book)


The method used is to follow the breath. This technique I found quite easy to follow.
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