Meditation Forum / Startup Forum

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by KnowSelf, Apr 5, 2020.

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Are you interested in learning/sharing types of meditation and techniques for growth & Understanding

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  3. Maybe

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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. KnowSelf

    KnowSelf Active Member

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    I propose an informative / sharing forum dedicated to meditation techniques and experience.

    I want to learn and share information regarding meditative techniques and the journey within.

    Topics may include Mantra's, Chanting, Tibetan Gong, breathing/counting beads, light dimming and movement. sitting position, types of medication and their purpose, how to meditate, purpose & benefits of mediation and so on.

    As a result of my own religious and spiritual experience I am only now interested in pursuing meditation for personal growth and understanding. I hope through the experience and knowledge of fellow forum members I will gain pertinent information at a quicker pace as opposed to reading about meditation variants.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    One of my favorite preachers used to say....what do you need a book in meditation for?

    JUST SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!

    it is a bit over simplified but has a point...the most salient for me is that meditation is unique to the individual, if we 'expect' to have others experiences...you can expect disappointment.
     
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  3. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Good teacher. Usually, meditation students talk too and pay too little attention...

    On the other hand, meditation "terrain" can be disorienting. It can be very validating and helpful to know, for example, that after a first settling down, there will be bumpy stretches, not because of any failing of the meditator, but because that is what the mind is like.

    Not sure I want to be part of an online meditation discussion group, though. I'd recommend to go find a good teacher and learn from that person, one-on-one, build a foundation.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    The monkey mind that won't quit chattering when you try to get still.

    That is why some folks like guided meditations....often for me I go out right at the beginning and return when they say 'you are coming back to this time and space'. I miss all the walking by the lake in the gentle mist every time!

    Somewhere along the line I heard that as the monkey mind starts chattering imagine you are leaning on a bridge watching slow moving water go under you and the bridge. Every time a thought comes up,.acknowledge it, then toss it in the river and watch it go downstream, under the bridge and outta site...

    But yeah, it takes some time.getting used to sitting down and quieting the mind. Like any new skill it takes practice. For many a habitual time and location is beneficial. Others like to set the mood, build a small altar, light a candle, or some other thing....the ritual helps them.

    Just don't quit sitting.
     
  5. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Oh yes, an old friend.

    And once a meditator knows how to deal with the monkey mind, there are more challenges, which present themselves in broadly similar ways to all, but which nevertheless tend to vary greatly in the individual specifics. A good, trusted, experienced teacher will be vastly superior to a chorus of dissenting advice from a forum, even if each voice of the chorus were making helpful suggestions.

    Also, I'm not sure such a teaching/mentoring forum would fit the interfaith discussion paradigm we have going here.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Is there a region that doesn't use a form of meditation?

    I recall sermons when I was a kid that were so boring they caused me to daydream...that was a start!
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I am not clear if he is asking about this forum or starting another...

    Seattlegal (pbuh) used to dream of this forum becoming a reference for serious thinkers...
     
  8. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Oh, there are several such forums already in existence. Some have very knowledgeable, experienced participants who know what they are talking about, as far as I can tell. There is a lot of wisdom to be found in some of those places.

    Still - meditation is powerful stuff. It can and will start psychological, emotional, and perhaps spiritual processes, some of which can't be easily un-done or forgotten or opted-out of. I personally think it is worth every moment I spent on the proverbial cushion, but think about it, I'm a random voice on the internet. Do you trust random voices on the subway or tubes recommending life-changing practices? Right.

    Going to an on-line forum for teachings on meditation is a bit like going to an on-line forum for advice on nutrition. You'll get the ever-bickering vegetarians and vegans, the macho paleo-diet people, the raw foodies, the fruitarians, the breatharians, the meatarians, the proponents of the standard american diet, the whole-food crowd, those quoting from the USDA recommendations, the permaculture people, the slow-food connoisseurs, lactose-intolerants, gluten-intolerants, soy-intolerants... all talking at the same time. It'll give you a good impression of what kinds of diets we human beings are able to adapt to, but you need to be on your toes if you want to gain a solid understanding of nutrition from that riot of opinions.

    Go find a teacher. Don't give the teacher power over your finances or romantic relationships, obviously, but trust them on what it is they teach, take your time to learn from them, and then, once you can make an educated choice, see if there isn't something to be learned from other places. Metaphorically, don't dig many shallow wells, dig that one deep well. It's okay to use other digging tools after a while if the spoon your teacher gave you ("shut up and sit your butt down") turns out to be a bit too limited for the task. Likely, your teacher will hand you a real shovel then. But you'll have to stay with a teacher long enough for them to trust you with the edged tools...
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
  9. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Look for it and you can’t see it. Listen for it and you can’t hear it. Reach for it and you can’t touch it. Grasp at it and you can’t hold it. Approach it and it has no beginning. Follow it and it has no end.
    Tao te Ching 8
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    @Cino I am a shoot from the hip, seat of the pants kinda guy...

    I go to the buffet, take what I like, avoiding what I don't, but am more interested in the variety of tastes and texture than any one item.

    But I do know, my way is not the only way and I recommend everyone make their own mistakes...
     
  11. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    I like the buffet a lot!

    Still, the host wants you to know which ones are the brownies with the special ingredient. The rock candy in the left bowl is laced. Free beer, and the person over there knows where the alka selzers are. Eat as many menthos as you like, but careful washing them down with Pepsi when you do, or was it the other way around?
     
  12. KnowSelf

    KnowSelf Active Member

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    more specifically looking for mediation techniques
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    OK: Let me play the whatsit's advocate here ...

    Is that not an aspect of monkey mind?
     
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  14. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    I'd say, monkey mind and eclecticism-for-the-sake-of-it are two separate manifestations of "distraction".
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  15. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Here are some techniques I know about. Caveats apply, as mentioned in previous posts ("think it through before acting on random internet acquaintance's suggestions regarding mind-altering activities")
    • putting attention on the breath sensations of the nostrils or abdomen
    • mentally repeating a word or phrase
    • keeping the gaze steady (by looking at a mark on the wall or a not-too-bright light source)
    • putting attention on various body parts, one by one
    • alternating the attention between one's face and the back of one's head
    • play a note on a piano or guitar (edit: or singing bowl/bell), listen to it fade, paying attention to the moment it becomes inaudible
    • visualizing a letter or a short word
    • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
    • Autogeneous Training
    • Active Imagination
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  16. Beautiful

    Beautiful Active Member

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    What would you like to know? What is missing in your practice, or what difficulities have you encountered?

    Much love. Stay safe my sweet brothers and sisters.
     
  17. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Welcome back!

    Here's something I experienced. After a few months of diligent, regular practice with my technique, I had it all figured out. Monkeys pacified, no aching body parts, could sit for hours, mind steady like bedrock. I had some really interesting dreams. Everything was great, except I got fired from my job and my personal relationships fell apart left and right.

    This was years ago, my personal life has stabilized, my practice has moved on.

    But back then, what would you have said? I was quite resistant to advice, what with being a spiritual super-athlete and all?
     
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  18. Beautiful

    Beautiful Active Member

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    Thank you Cino ^_^

    The world is swept away. It does not endure.

    “Great king, there are four Dhamma summaries stated by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened. Having known & seen & heard them, I went forth from the home life into homelessness. Which four?

    “‘The world is swept away. It does not endure’: This is the first Dhamma summary stated by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened. Having known & seen & heard it, I went forth from the home life into homelessness.

    “‘The world is without shelter, without protector’: This is the second Dhamma summary.…

    “‘The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind’: This is the third Dhamma summary.…

    “‘The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving’: This is the fourth Dhamma summary.…

    “These, great king, are the four Dhamma summaries stated by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened. Having known & seen & heard them, I went forth from the home life into homelessness.”

    ~ Majjhima Nikaya 82, Ratthapala Sutta.
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.082.than.html


    Another excerpt from the Ratthapala Sutta:

    Understanding Ven. Ratthapala's acquiesence, his father went to his house and, having the floor coated with fresh cow dung, had a great heap of gold & silver made, two great heaps made — one of gold, one of silver — so large that a man standing on the near side could not see a man standing on the far side, just as a man standing on the far side could not see a man standing on the near. Hiding them behind screens, he set out a seat between them, surrounded by a curtain.[6] Addressing Ven. Ratthapala's former wives, he said to them, "Come, daughters-in-law. Adorn yourself in the ornaments that our son, Ratthapala, used to find dear & appealing."

    Then, as the night was ending, Ven. Ratthapala's father had exquisite staple & non-staple foods prepared in his own house and had the time announced to Ven. Ratthapala: "It's time, dear Ratthapala. The meal is ready."

    Then, early in the morning — putting on his under robe and carrying his bowl & robes — Ven. Ratthapala went to his father's house and, on arrival, sat down on the seat made ready. Then his father, revealing the heap of gold & silver, said to him, "This, my dear Ratthapala, is your mother's inheritance. The other is your fathers; the other, your grandfather's — [enough that] you can enjoy wealth and make merit. Come, my dear Ratthapala. Leave the training and revert to the lower life. Enjoy wealth and make merit!"

    "Householder, if you'd do as I say, you would have this heap of gold & silver loaded on carts and hauled away to be dumped midstream in the river Ganges. Why is that? This [wealth] will be the cause of your sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair."

    Then, clasping each of his feet, Ven. Ratthapala's former wives said to him, "What are they like, dear master-son: those nymphs for whose sake you lead the holy life?"

    "Sisters, we don't lead the holy life for the sake of nymphs."

    "'Sisters' he calls us!" And they fell down right there in a faint.

    Then Ven. Ratthapala said to his father, "Householder, if there's food to be given, then give it. Don't harass us."

    "Eat, then, my dear Ratthapala. The meal is ready."

    So, with his own hands, Ven. Ratthapala's father served and satisfied him with exquisite staple and non-staple foods. When he had finished his meal and withdrawn his hand from the bowl, Ven. Ratthapala stood up and recited these verses:

    Look at the image beautified, a heap of festering wounds, shored up:
    ill, but the object of many resolves, where there is nothing lasting or sure.[7]
    Look at the form beautified with earrings & gems:
    a skeleton wrapped in skin, made attractive with clothes.

    Feet reddened with henna, a face smeared with powder:
    enough to deceive a fool,
    but not a seeker for the further shore.
    Hair plaited in eight pleats, eyes smeared with unguent:
    enough to deceive a fool,
    but not a seeker for the further shore.

    Like a newly painted unguent pot — a putrid body adorned: enough to deceive a fool,
    but not a seeker for the further shore.

    The hunter set out the snares,
    but the deer didn't go near the trap.
    Having eaten the bait,
    we go,
    leaving the hunters to weep.
     
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  19. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    I was well on my way into homelessness, in fact.

    Gobbling down the bait, I was certain I had already tricked the hunter...

    Edit: I'm being too harsh. Here's a relevant passage from the Pali Canon, about not doing this kind of meditation regime alone (also applies to non-renunciants):

    https://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.002.than.html
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
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  20. Beautiful

    Beautiful Active Member

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    Thank you for bringing this wonderful sutta to mind. Its very nice that the Tathagata said such enlightened words. Most all philosophers have arrived at this same understanding that 'Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.'

    As Aristotle said Friendship is a virtue which is "most necessary with a view to living…for without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."

    However, its important that we correctly interpret what we call 'alone' in regards to the logic expounded upon in the Dhamma. The Radiant One would interpret himself as an admirable friend, as good company, even for us in the year 2020 as we read his words right now...so the mere reading and understanding of this sutta would classify us as not being alone in the path, as having a friend who cares for our wellbeing,

    Example:

    "And how do students engage with the teacher in opposition and not in friendliness? There is the case where a teacher teaches the Dhamma to his students sympathetically, seeking their well-being, out of sympathy: 'This is for your well-being; this is for your happiness.' His disciples do not listen or lend ear or apply their minds to gnosis. Turning aside, they stray from the Teacher's message. This is how students engage with the teacher as opponents and not as friends.[6]

    "And how do students engage with the teacher in friendliness and not in opposition? There is the case where a teacher teaches the Dhamma to his students sympathetically, seeking their well-being, out of sympathy: 'This is for your well-being; this is for your happiness.' His disciples listen, lend ear, & apply their minds to gnosis. Not turning aside, they don't stray from the Teacher's message. This is how students engage with the teacher as friends and not as opponents." [from MN 122]


    Thus the buddah says [of those who have gone forth from the home life into homelessness out of conviction in him] "I am their leader. I am their helper. I am their inspirer. They take me as their example."
    [from MN 4: Fear and Terror]



    This is quite different to the type of friendship seen on the sitcom Friends, or even expounded upon by Socrates/Plato (etc,.) While that the premise is the same, the logic is more refined and subtle, digging deeper into the meaning of relationships.

    The sutta you quoted, a very short one for a change, briefly continues and concludes;


    "And how does a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, develop & pursue the noble eightfold path? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops right resolve... right speech... right action... right livelihood... right effort... right mindfulness... right concentration dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. This is how a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, develops & pursues the noble eightfold path.

    "And through this line of reasoning one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life."



    I would like to highlight what the text says:

    "There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment."


    The Radiant One calls the Tathagatas, monks, and Arahants 'a friend to all.' All these practice seclusion, are called Recluses, and are venerated for this quality of 'aloneness.' This is based on the logic explained by the Radiant One that '
    the greatest generosity is non-attachment.'

    Let us take the example of an excerpt from the following sutta (which I have previously quoted above);

    MN 122:
    Maha-suññata Sutta: The Greater Discourse on Emptiness

    " [...] The Blessed One, having put on his robes and carrying his bowl and outer robe, went into Kapilavatthu for alms. Having gone for alms in Kapilavatthu, after the meal, returning from his alms round, he went to the dwelling of Kala-khemaka the Sakyan for the day's abiding. Now at that time many resting places had been prepared in Kala-khemaka the Sakyan's dwelling. The Blessed One saw the many resting places prepared there and, on seeing them, the thought occurred to him, "There are many resting places prepared here. Do many monks live here?

    Now at that time Ven. Ananda, together with many other monks, was making robes at the dwelling of Ghata the Sakyan. Then, when it was evening, the Blessed One rose from seclusion and went to the dwelling of Ghata the Sakyan. On arrival, he sat down on a seat made ready. Having sat down, he asked Ven. Ananda, "There are many resting places prepared in Kala-khemaka the Sakyan's dwelling. Do many monks live there?"

    "Yes, lord, there are many resting places prepared in Kala-khemaka the Sakyan's dwelling. Many monks live there. Our time for making robes has come around.

    "Ananda, a monk does not shine if he delights in company, enjoys company, is committed to delighting in company; if he delights in a group, enjoys a group, rejoices in a group. Indeed, Ananda, it is impossible that a monk who delights in company, enjoys company, is committed to delighting in company; who delights in a group, enjoys a group, rejoices in a group, will obtain at will — without difficulty, without trouble — the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening. But it is possible that a monk who lives alone, withdrawn from the group, can expect to obtain at will — without difficulty, without trouble — the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening.

    "Indeed, Ananda, it is impossible that a monk who delights in company, enjoys company, is committed to delighting in company; who delights in a group, enjoys a group, rejoices in a group, will enter & remain in the awareness-release that is temporary and pleasing, or in the awareness-release that is not-temporary and beyond provocation. But it is possible that a monk who lives alone, withdrawn from the group, can expect to enter & remain in the awareness-release that is temporary and pleasing, or in the awareness-release that is not-temporary and beyond provocation.

    "Ananda, I do not envision even a single form whose change & alteration would not give rise to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair in one who is passionate for it and takes delight in it.

    "But there is this (mental) dwelling discovered by the Tathagata where, not attending to any themes, he enters & remains in internal emptiness. If, while he is dwelling there by means of this dwelling, he is visited by monks, nuns, lay men, lay women, kings, royal ministers, sectarians & their disciples, then — with his mind bent on seclusion, tending toward seclusion, inclined toward seclusion, aiming at seclusion, relishing renunciation, having destroyed those qualities that are the basis for mental fermentation — he converses with them only as much as is necessary for them to take their leave."


    This wonderful sutta goes on to explain, as is done throughout the Cannon, very high levels of meditation and how they are further refined through non attachment (right view.)

    As for your mention of in the past being well on your way into homelesness, the story of the farmer who replied: “Good, Bad, Who knows?” comes to mind



    As always, thank you. Much love and God Bless.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020

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