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Serious Practice

It always amused me when mopping the floor or washing up on retreat when people with a very serious and determined look on their face asked to be excused as 'meditation was about to start'.

Que?

Now they knew that these tasks were practice, were mindful meditations ... they knew but wanted to get to the 'serious' hardcore sitting stuff.

All around us are activities we can engage in and focus on.

Maybe we can do 'living meditation')? How does that work?

dantepwBunksEliz

Comments

  • No, just call it mindfulness, for which meditation is an essential foundation.

    lobsterKundo
  • mmommo Veteran

    we can try to be mindful when doing day to day thing. This helps to make us better focused when living among external stimuli.

    But when you are looking inside of yourself, it is important to be secluded away from outside disturbances. Dealing with internal noises from the mind is already tough enough.

    Traveller
  • I find being in wild, remote places very helpful.

    Traveller
  • NamadaNamada Veteran

    Are there any wild places in England?

  • Yes, though you really need to go to Wales or Scotland. ;)

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran

    "Living Meditation" sounds nice, hehe! :)

    I find it really hard to be mindful when I am doing some sort of activities that needs lots of attention (like programming). Maybe because I am used to be un-mindful when doing that? :open_mouth:

  • howhow Veteran

    @Lobster
    Some folks just don't see how attached they can be to any job they are doing at a retreat, and make judgements about others who may be more freely dropping whatever they are doing to follow the schedule onto the next activity.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @how said:
    Lobster
    Some folks just don't see how attached they can be to any job they are doing at a retreat, and make judgements about others who may be more freely dropping whatever they are doing to follow the schedule onto the next activity.

    Yes indeed.
    Scheduled meditation, like time to be aware/time to meditate is a discipline initially. If we have done the previous, then the awareness of who or what is happening in the now is just an observation.

    I do make judgements. I am amused. I is just bad Buddhist. :3

    To be honest @dantepw I have never been able to program mindfully. I can use the computer mindfully but program, not so far. Too intense, too concentrated. It might be possible, not in my skill set. You have to paradoxically choose mindless or simple tasks initially ... B)

    dantepwSarahT
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited May 2015

    "I have never been able to program mindfully". , Iam also using computer at work, but I do also have big problem to be mindfull when working with a pc...There are some bells you can use to wake you up every 10 minutes..
    but its good to be very concetrated at the work you are doing I belive...

    dantepw
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Yes, though you really need to go to Wales or Scotland. ;)

    Those Highlanders are a rowdy bunch (I'm a MacLeod so that's my excuse) :p

    lobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Namada said:
    Are there any wild places in England?

    The Outer Hebrides are pretty wild on a cold winter day!!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Apart from pubs at closing time, wildness is all around, even in London ... :p


    I would suggest the quiet graveyards, deserted quiet spaces have always attracted the practitioners. Why? The mind is noisy and easily distracted and absorbed in external turmoil. The value of quietening this internal and external display is to become aware of our central being.

    Sometimes in sitting, sometimes in quiet doing. Always in familiarising with the emptying of self rather than finding another selfie ...

    VastmindNamadaKenneth
  • @Bunks said:> The Outer Hebrides are pretty wild on a cold winter day!!

    I stayed on the Isle of Skye many moons ago, fantastic! I'm lucky to live by the sea and walk by it everyday, a wonderful feeling of space, movement and being in the elements.

    BunksVastmindNamadalobster
  • JohnMacJohnMac Veteran

    I am at present at my parents house on the west coast of argyll, the beaches are fabulous miles and miles of emptiness no nudists unlike fuerteventura! Hehe

    lobsterTraveller
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I find being in wild, remote places very helpful.

    Since I am a darned city slicker, my experience is quite the opposite.
    I find it's a cinch to rest mindful while sitting under a palm, or wading in the moors.
    But who can stay mindful and connected while strolling about a mall, sitting in a crowded café, merging with other sentient beings on a public bus?
    That's the real acid-test to our mindfulness proficiency, and probably more real than finding a secluded spot.

    VastmindsilverSarahT
  • @JohnMac said:> I am at present at my parents house on the west coast of argyll, the beaches are fabulous miles and miles of emptiness no nudists unlike fuerteventura! Hehe

    There's a nudist beach near me but unfortunately it's populated by overweight middle-aged men who do a good impression of beached seals ( though not as agile ). ;)

    SarahT
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited May 2015

    @DhammaDragon said:That's the real acid-test to our mindfulness proficiency, and probably more real than finding a secluded spot.

    I don't think of it as a test or competition, more as being drawn to quietness rather than noise, not seeking continual distraction.

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    I mentioned test, but not as in competition.

    In my case, quietness could be a preference -though not really, no- but it would be totally unreal, because I don't live in a bucolic setting.

    My life unfolds among the maddening crowd.
    If my mindfulness does not work for me in a human setting, among human beings, then well, better start over again.

  • I think we're always starting over again with mindfulness. But what do you think the point of being mindful really is?

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I think we're always starting over again with mindfulness. But what do you think the point of being mindful really is?

    You really don't know or are you playing devil's advocate?

    Buddhadragon
  • howhow Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I think we're always starting over again with mindfulness. But what do you think the point of being mindful really is?

    Is that not like asking what the point of the 4NT & 8 FP is?

    Buddhadragon
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran
    edited May 2015

    "Bhikshus, that is the practice of conscious breathing, whose function it is to calm the body and mind, to bring about right mindfulness, looking deeply, and clear and single-minded perception so that the practitioner is in a position to realize all the Dharma doors that lead to the fruit of nirvana."
    (Anapananusmriti Sutra - Chinese version of the Anapanasati Sutta)

    lobster
  • @how said:> Is that not like asking what the point of the 4NT & 8 FP is?

    No, mindfulness has a particular role.

  • SarahTSarahT Time ... space ... joy South Coast, UK Veteran

    Breathing is something I have a real problem with. I know I do it badly. When I breathe from my abdomen, as recommended, it makes me feel extremely dizzy - not a perception I enjoy. I am divorced from an opera singer who used to criticise my breathing for his issues with breathing properly. I have lost my problems with hearing classical and then opera music over the years we've been separated but anyone telling me to focus on my breath pushes me straight into panic mode.

    Somewhere, in the back of my mind, is a perception that my father used to criticise me as a child for not breathing properly too. No idea whether this actually happened.

    Do I just lose my attachment to being able to use breath to bring me to mindfulness as so many recommend (I tend to use an image of a candle flame if in dire straights) or does anyone have any tips on how to loose this fear? Not sure what the skilful way is to deal with this ... Any and all comments would be most welcome.

    :bleep_bloop:

  • @SarahT said:Do I just lose my attachment to being able to use breath to bring me to mindfulness as so many recommend (I tend to use an image of a candle flame if in dire straights) or does anyone have any tips on how to loose this fear?

    Don't worry about how you are breathing, just be aware that you are breathing. You don't have to focus on the abdomen, you can focus on the sensation of air entering and leaving the nostrils ( mouth closed ). Be relaxed and accepting in your approach. A little metta bhavana might be helpful.

    You don't have to use the breath, you can look at a candle flame or Buddha image or whatever.

  • SarahTSarahT Time ... space ... joy South Coast, UK Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    A little metta bhavana might be helpful.

    Led me to find this:

    Eventually we want to become like an emotional bonfire: a steady blaze of emotional warmth that will embrace any sentient being that we become aware of. This is an attainable goal for every human being. All it takes is time and some persistent effort.

    ~ http://www.wildmind.org/metta/introduction/outline

    Now that's a goal I love - far more than awareness of breathing! Thanks, @Spiny :mrgreen:

    lobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited May 2015

    Ajahn Brahm is good on how to approach meditation, there are lots of his talks on Youtube. He has a lovely story about how Sam Atha and Vi Passana go for a walk in the hills of insight with their dog Metta. ;)

    lobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    who always brings the stick of Karuna back....

  • @SarahT said:> Now that's a goal I love - far more than awareness of breathing! Thanks, Spiny :mrgreen:

    Traditionally there are 40 meditation subjects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kammaṭṭhāna

  • SarahTSarahT Time ... space ... joy South Coast, UK Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Traditionally there are 40 meditation subjects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kammaṭṭhāna

    Includes this, to help guide on basis of temperament:

    Greedy: the ten foulness meditations; or, body contemplation.
    Hating: the four brahma-viharas; or, the four color kasinas.
    Deluded: mindfulness of breath.
    Faithful: the first six recollections.
    Intelligent: recollection of death or peace; the perception of disgust of food; or, the analysis of the four elements.
    Speculative: mindfulness of breath.
    

    Would say my temperament is more deluded/speculative than anything else. Both come down to mindfulness of breath!!!!! Hmmmm ... shall meditate on it ;) Perhaps I am being a little hard on myself - also faithful and intelligent but don't feel a need to do anything about these. But dizziness hits the instant I bring my attention to breath :( And however long I sit with it, it just gets worse until I have passed out in the past. Now I stop when I feel my vision beginning to crack.

    Also says:

    The six non-color kasinas and the four formless states are suitable for all temperaments.

    Am I right in thinking that the "non-colour kasinas" are the four elements (earth, water, fire, air), enclosed space and bright light? Last two are not subjects I have meditated on before. Will give them a try!

    The four formless states are subjects I often meditate on - have always been fascinating to me (esp as a mathematician) :+1:

    So appreciate the passing on of knowledge/experience. Thanks all who do this and particularly @SpinyNorman in this case :mrgreen:

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited May 2015

    @SarahT said:>The four formless states are subjects I often meditate on - have always been fascinating to me (esp as a mathematician) :+1:

    So what approach do you use with those? I've worked a bit with infinite space
    and infinite consciousness, but I wouldn't know where to start with infinite nothingness
    and neither perception nor non-perception.

    I work with the elements sometimes, but not usually in mediation.

  • SarahTSarahT Time ... space ... joy South Coast, UK Veteran

    Emptiness is form and form emptiness - I see no real distinction between infinite space and infinite nothingness. I'm not an image person so it's all concepts to me - just a transcendence above the finite.

    Bertrand Russell got me into it in the first place - with his years of struggling to prove that the infinite can be derived from the finite (as the finite is derived from nothing). Eventually had to accept that all those years were wasted, that it can't be done. That's why I love it so much - I have to go beyond anything I can experience or comprehend.

    Perception/non-perception: again seems an arbitrary distinction to me. Whether I perceive, what I perceive - all transient, all affected by conditioning. Meditation, to me, is where I can transcend these limits :)

    What I love about the elements (I tend to use the five Chinese elements - yes, I know there are only 4 in the traditional subjects but 5 works for me) is the way they are all interlinked. Each one has power over another and is controlled by yet another. When one feels out of balance to me, I can meditate on the relevant element to augment/diminish and start swinging the scales again. And I'm not ever expecting to find a consistent balance point so always gives me something to meditate on! But it's the formless states that give me the greatest joy.

    Or perhaps a commander's guide would make more sense to you? I am a very pure mathematician and am well aware of the weirdness of such folk ... ;)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited May 2015

    Yes, after extensively studying TCM for my Shiatsu practice, I'm deeply taken by the 5 elements. And they touch every aspect of existence. Domestic (Feng Shui - I used to be a high-paid consultant!) Environmental (they're all an aspect and component of Nature) and physical (each 'Element' controls different organs).

    There isn't a day goes by when they all pay me a visit and leave a good lesson in their wake....

  • SarahTSarahT Time ... space ... joy South Coast, UK Veteran

    Saw my shrink on Monday. When she was happy there was nothing else I wanted to discuss with her, she asked me about my breathing. She is referring me to a physio who specialises in breathing! Apparently, exhaling too much CO2 leads to blood picking up hydrogen which throws magnesium levels and all sorts of knock on effects. Always willing to try something once (or, nealy always) :neutral:

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Interesting @SarahT will be glad to hear what the breathing physiology says. :)

    Meditation does slow and calm the breath, does alter the plasticity of the brain. Meditation is a wholistic mind/body path of change. Meditation does change us even when the practice is not motivated by desire to change ...

    Zenni
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