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Meditation help

I have had deppression for a long time and it has brought down my wanting to meditate. I enjoy it but I easily get discouraged sometimes and find it hard to make myself start. Anyone have similar experiences? Help on the subject?

Comments

  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    I don't struggle with depression, but I do find myself having an on-again off-again sitting practice for a variety of excuses, just not sticking to it being one of them.

    When you say that depression is "bringing down" your intention to meditate, could you elaborate on that?

    For me personally, reading a good book on Buddhism (e.g. A Still Forest Pool; Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, etc), or even just reading quotes on Buddhism help me get motivated to meditate again. Also if you have a group to meditate with regularly, there's sort of a peer pressure to attend and meditate. Not the most altruistic of reasons, but if it makes you go!

    I also think that an important thing to remember is that meditation is a life practice. It's not something you become "good" at even with months or years of regular sitting. It may not even have any off-the-cushion effects for you for awhile. But the moments on the cushion can help you get glimpses of reality sans the ego-chatter.

    EarthninjaJeffreydhammachick
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    edited September 2015

    Yes, there should be some change in routine like to take a break and travel to a nice place. We may mediatate without sitting specially too.

    Invincible_summer
  • What I meant by bringing down was that I sometimes don't feel a point to meditation because it takes so long to be half way decent at it. I know this is how it is and everyone has to go through the same long experience. I see others such as lamas and then myself and think man I'm hopeless compared to them. I also look at the other side and Think how far I have come compared to years ago.

    Invincible_summer
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    edited September 2015

    Are you trying to gain peace from meditation? If yes then it is not a meditation. I do had problem to practice meditation because of many reasons like i was surrounded by gossips, internet, fb etc. I think if one can manage a place where we can keep silence and no noise around then easily manage to meditate. You need to find what is obstacle you are having right now to concentrate.

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

    There really is no 'getting good' at it. Try just doing mindfulness during the day and it will come to you what meditation is all about. B)

    rohit
  • @woods93 said:
    I see others such as lamas and then myself and think man I'm hopeless compared to them.

    never compare to anyone, you are unique

    be happy with the little meditation you were successful
    forget (let go) the unsuccessful sessions, that was past
    be happy with this moment
    there is a possibility you can use it successfully

    woods93
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @woods93 said:
    What I meant by bringing down was that I sometimes don't feel a point to meditation because it takes so long to be half way decent at it. I know this is how it is and everyone has to go through the same long experience. I see others such as lamas and then myself and think man I'm hopeless compared to them. I also look at the other side and Think how far I have come compared to years ago.

    There is really no point to good meditation, I used to put expectations on meditation and this caused some suffering.
    Is judge one session as bad and then the next as good. I had deep samadhi. I thought that letting go of the bad sessions as nothing and secretly hoping for blissed out deep samadhi was the goal.

    I've since come to realise this isn't the goal at all. When I meditate now I just let everything be as it is. Be it good, bad, ugly, noisy.
    If you let everything just be as it is, including expectations. No matter what, you have good meditation.
    Nothing can touch you. Your just sitting there. Thoughts are like clouds, and even getting drawn into thought is just a movement.

    woods93silverSpinyNormanDavid
  • ZeroZero Veteran
    edited September 2015

    @woods93 said:
    I have had deppression for a long time and it has brought down my wanting to meditate. I enjoy it but I easily get discouraged sometimes and find it hard to make myself start. Anyone have similar experiences? Help on the subject?

    What I meant by bringing down was that I sometimes don't feel a point to meditation because it takes so long to be half way decent at it. I know this is how it is and everyone has to go through the same long experience. I see others such as lamas and then myself and think man I'm hopeless compared to them. I also look at the other side and Think how far I have come compared to years ago.

    As unhelpful as it sounds, the best way to start is just to do it. Just sit and you've started.

    The latter statement is more challenging as it seems to be in summary that you feel hopeless and to support this hopelessness, reasoning is provided however the reasoning is speculative at best and therefore there doesn't seem to be a tangible support for the proposition.
    Do you think you lend more support to the 'hopelessness' than to the 'other side'? and if so, is this something that you can see yourself abandoning / readjusting so at least both have equal merit?
    If it helps, I've personally found that experiences, including but not limited to those arising in sitting meditation, that I have interpreted as positive or negative have been equally formative.

  • EvenThirdEvenThird NYC Veteran
    edited September 2015

    From personal experience, I can say that it's possible to have a consistent sitting practice with mental illness (not saying that's what you have, just what I'm working with). What keeps me coming back to the cushion is motivation. If I want to tame my mind and work towards the happiness of all sentient beings, what choice do I have but to sit and at least try to meditate? It's essentially one of the few things I can do that will make a lasting difference for my life and my practice. When you think about it from an altruistic, "bodhisattva" perspective and can rile up the motivation, it almost feels like there is no choice whatsoever but to meditate. Of course, you need to also have compassion for yourself and be gentle- maybe try walking meditation or something more soothing or inspiring for you than your current practice. Then go back to it when you're ready. But whether you do it or you don't- there is no need to worry about meditation practice. It will always be there when you're ready, so take it easy on yourself in the meanwhile. How your practice is going isn't really the point. Making time to even sit (or walk) a few minutes allowing yourself be as you are is already a compassionate act, regardless of result. <3

    silverSpooglewoods93
  • Do not find time to meditate. Find fun in meditation then the time will come!

    Maybe have a piece of cake or cookie everyime you manage to sit? This requires a bit of discipline but works like a charm.

    You will get chubby and happy! :)

    I've been through depression as well and meditation pretty much changed it all.

    Depression is a painful physical feeling, generally located in your chest area. Be aware of it, let it ache, this will pass. :) give it some love and even physical attention (pet it or get some warm water in there!). Sounds weird but could work for you, good friend.

    Best regards and wishes!

    woods93
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Probably the only thing worse than meditating is not meditating.

    SpinyNormanEvenThird
  • If you have depression I would say don't meditate. Meditation is known as not safe method as buddhist practice(maybe not in the western area, it seems everyone meditate here) if you don't know how to do it properly because its the practice of the past so you don't get merit nor protection from the Buddhas and Boddhisattvas. There are many evil beings in this world, if you dial your channel to these beings' channel while meditating by mistake, you can lose yourself. I would rather recommend you to read Lotus Sutra instead. I've been practicing Lotus Sutra and my severe depression has gone out the window. I am not sure where you can learn Lotus Sutra practice where you are though.(its very important to learn properly. don't go read somewhere and try such as sgi or nichren ect ). why not start reading Lotus Sutra to be safe. (just keep in mind that Lotus Sutra has many hidden treasure teachings inside so don't focus too much on wording- not to interpret word for word I am trying to say). Try to have faith in Buddhas that they will lead you to the right way. Hope this helps. Wishing you blessings of Buddhas.

  • @woods93 said:
    I have had deppression for a long time and it has brought down my wanting to meditate. I enjoy it but I easily get discouraged sometimes and find it hard to make myself start. Anyone have similar experiences? Help on the subject?

    Meditation is basically a practice of "letting go". If we meditate for other reasons that's fine. What I am trying to say is that we need to learn to let go of our "selves" and "our" problems. We can take breaks and/or vacations, but we may have to face the same problem once we get back. Meditation is like taking a break (from our "self") but at the same time dealing directly with the problem.

  • @woods93 said: I have had depression for a long time and it has brought down my wanting to meditate. I enjoy it but I easily get discouraged sometimes and find it hard to make myself start. Anyone have similar experiences? Help on the subject?

    A good tip is to do a little bit everyday even if you don't feel like, even 5 or 10 minutes is helpful to keep the connection going. Also explore different approaches to meditation, and find one that suits you - simple methods like watching the breath are suitable for most people. Find a way of meditating that is at some level enjoyable, not an approach that feels like a chore or a challenge.

    Ajahn Brahm has some good meditation talks on Youtube. He tells a story about how a couple called Vi Passana and Sam Atha went for a nice walk in the hills with their dog Metta.

  • 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

    Sit!

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Sit!

    Woof!

    silverdantepwdhammachick
  • I use to suffer from depression and anxiety a long long time ago. Meditation was the cure for me and so I would encourage you to keep your motivation up and stay at it.

    As you probably have already discovered, depression and anxiety have at their root cause too much ME thoughts that become quite delusional stories. These thoughts can become obsessive, blocking out your true Buddha nature.

    With meditation we practice letting go of all of our thoughts without judgement. Simpy returning our awareness to the breath that is occurring in the present moment.

    Observing the impermanent nature of all that arises (including feelings) helps us to stop craving and avoiding. Wanting things to be other than they are.

    Just asking yourself what is wrong with this present moment may be enough to break the chain of negative self delusional thought that causes one to become stuck in depression. The past is gone and the future is not yet arrived. Be mindful of this fact.

    I would suggest trying to take a positive approach to your mediation practice.
    Know the more we sit and focus on the breath the more calm and comfortable we will feel. Do not look at meditation as a chore but as an activity you look forward to because of the relaxation and pleasure it brings the mind and body. .

    Best Wishes

    Invincible_summer
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    @KarikoPuppies said:
    If you have depression I would say don't meditate. Meditation is known as not safe method as buddhist practice(maybe not in the western area, it seems everyone meditate here) if you don't know how to do it properly because its the practice of the past so you don't get merit nor protection from the Buddhas and Boddhisattvas. There are many evil beings in this world, if you dial your channel to these beings' channel while meditating by mistake, you can lose yourself. I would rather recommend you to read Lotus Sutra instead. I've been practicing Lotus Sutra and my severe depression has gone out the window. I am not sure where you can learn Lotus Sutra practice where you are though.(its very important to learn properly. don't go read somewhere and try such as sgi or nichren ect ). why not start reading Lotus Sutra to be safe. (just keep in mind that Lotus Sutra has many hidden treasure teachings inside so don't focus too much on wording- not to interpret word for word I am trying to say). Try to have faith in Buddhas that they will lead you to the right way. Hope this helps. Wishing you blessings of Buddhas.

    He was looking for meditation advice, and mentioned that he enjoys meditation but just gets discouraged. I don't know why you'd recommend reading some dense sutra and taking up a practice that would involve completely uprooting what he already has developed.

  • @Invincible_summer said:
    He was looking for meditation advice, and mentioned that he enjoys meditation but just gets discouraged. I don't know why you'd recommend reading some dense sutra and taking up a practice that would involve completely uprooting what he already has developed.

    hello invincible.

    I am not sure what kind of meditation you guys are talking about but if you are talking about the meditation that buddhist monks do,
    Because meditation is not safe for everyone, it might be prefect for you or some other people but possibly be more harmful than good for OP since he already suffering from depression, Lotus Sutra is safe for everyone cause of the protection that comes with the practice. and its good a start to read Lotus Sutra for a start and he can decide he likes to give a practice a try or not. OP can chose whatever he wants. I feel that I need to tell him that. Better be safe than sorry is what I am saying. I don't understand why people are so hung upon meditation, meditation can drive people crazy if you are not made for it. Its just commonly know in where I am from, people can go looney. maybe meditation you guys are doing is different I don't know.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    No harm in Kariko recommending some reading. Some might appreciate the suggestion. But I wasn't aware of meditation making depression worse (or better). Is that a recognized risk in Psychology?

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    There are many different meditation types @KarikoPuppies

    Some are safer than others. Mindfulness and Zen style are completely safe for anybody.
    You are simply aware of what's going on.
    We do it all the time anyway.

    If one is doing spiritual gymnastics and trying to enter oblivion through their crown chakra. It may be dangerous :)-

    dantepw
  • 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

    @KarikoPuppies , I think part of the issue here is that you have one teacher, whom frankly, you praise beyond high heaven, and you have attached all your dependence on learning, instruction, Buddhist knowledge and understanding on him, and his teachings, alone.
    Now here you are, on a multi-national board, and suddenly, you are one of many, diverse, different, varied and individual people, all of whom have arrived at a stage in their practice through different means.
    Your way, is not the only way.
    I think this may have come as a bit of a surprise to you, because you may find this a challenge to what you have hitherto practised.
    Your teacher and his teachings may be wonderful, and may have supported your purpose well.
    But neither he, nor you, may be right, all the time.

    There are many different facets to this diamond, and they all sparkle.
    So while you may expound what you have learnt, what you have learnt is not always correct, or appropriate, to the situation.

    Making something Simple, more Complex, is not always suitable.

    Invincible_summerhowdhammachick
  • KarikoPuppiesKarikoPuppies Veteran
    edited September 2015

    hello guys, thanks for all your comments.
    I do understand why you guys say what you all say. But wouldn't you want to know if something you know is not the correct information and that will lead you to unhappiness in the long run. why not give few seconds a thought on the possibility. what is so big deal of hearing different opinion. As a buddhist I feel the responsibility to mention them at least. If someone is in trouble, you can say nice things to hear to make someone feel better but that is not going to help that person. I am not saying you all have to agree with what I have to say but give a possibility a chance.
    (as for meditation), The reason why I say that meditation is not for everyone-
    there are people born with the "spirit door" open due to past life's cause and condition. If you have open door, you can get in trouble dialing into the wrong channel. Lotus Sutra is for those who are unprotected.
    Shakyamuni buddha has left valuable teachings and most of people including the buddhists are not interested in. But we all live and die and born again and do it all over again for ever and ever so we are not in a hurry only if we can make the next one just a little better than this one...

    Steve_B
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @KarikoPuppies said:
    hello guys, thanks for all your comments.
    I do understand why you guys say what you all say. But wouldn't you want to know if something you know is not the correct information and that will lead you to unhappiness in the long run. why not give few seconds a thought on the possibility. what is so big deal of hearing different opinion. As a buddhist I feel the responsibility to mention them at least. If someone is in trouble, you can say nice things to hear to make someone feel better but that is not going to help that person. I am not saying you all have to agree with what I have to say but give a possibility a chance.
    (as for meditation), The reason why I say that meditation is not for everyone-
    there are people born with the "spirit door" open due to past life's cause and condition. If you have open door, you can get in trouble dialing into the wrong channel. Lotus Sutra is for those who are unprotected.
    Shakyamuni buddha has left valuable teachings and most of people including the buddhists are not interested in. But we all live and die and born again and do it all over again for ever and ever so we are not in a hurry only if we can make the next one just a little better than this one...

    It's nice, I can see you mean well. You've found something that works and you want to share it with others. Only natural. Nice one. :)

    It's just you are making grand statements that are totally just a belief of yours. Something you've learnt, not necessarily something you know as true.
    How do you know someone's spirit door is open from past life experience?
    Can you see that right here and now. You can't know. Or if you can, I'm reading g that damn sutra! Haha XD

    Invincible_summer
  • @Earthninja said:

    hi Earthninja : ) thanks for taking it with open mind.
    there are people who can see the trace of the people with open door is what I was told.(have to see in person though).
    Of course I don't have that ability to see it, ha! ( only those who has purified six roots of sense can tell, and you only gain that ability through practice).
    When people who have open door practice Lotus Sutra, they themselves will know. (sometimes right away, sometimes takes long practice, it depends on person to person). Because this practice protects people ( especially the open doored ones ) from evil beings, you feel physically.
    I try not to mention Lotus Sutra often because the penalty of speaking ill of the Lotus Sutra is so great.(if someone say badly about this Sutra).
    I feel that people react differently to Lotus Sutra. one- allergic to even the word Lotus Sutra, two-jump with joy. I am the latter case. so I am aware of that reaction varies.
    I've been told its also the cause and condition from the past lives with Lotus Sutra.
    Some people are meant to love Lotus Sutra.

    Earthninja
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I don't know you or your history, @KarikoPuppies so I am trying not to make assumptions but you seem particularly knowledgeable in a way that suggests to me that your Buddhist beliefs and practice are present not just with you and your teacher, but perhaps in your family and your culture as well? Many of us do not come from such a place, and so all these years perhaps you were learning Buddhism from the time you were very young, but many of the rest of us did not. Plus many of us come from a culture that embraces a religion very different from Buddhism and so have that to work with and around, including it's influence on our society and culture. Like i said, not trying to assume you are a life long cultural Buddhist, but just the way you "speak" that is what I was thinking.

    Indeed some types of meditation can be harmful to someone with mental illness. But there are many types of meditation and many levels of mental illness. I think it does not hurt to mention it though, as many people are unaware. Also, different branches of Buddhism focus on those types of meditation more than other branches, I think.

    To get back to the OP, I personally always keep in mind the little saying of "if you don't have time to meditate for 30 minutes, then you need to meditate for an hour." or something to that effect. I also view it as, the more I don't want to meditate, the more I probably need to. I don't always want to, and sometimes I make excuses not to. But just like exercise and eating well, when I meditate I am just more able to handle all that comes at me and see things from a better perspective. It has become, more or less, just as much a part of my self-care as brushing my teeth. It's just as necessary. When I started to view it as something I was blessed to have been taught and have access to, rather than something I have to do, it was easier to just do it.

    I always liked Trungpa's quote, too. I don't feel like digging the book out, but it was something like "It's hard. When your recognize and accept that it's hard, it becomes easy." I have found that to be true. It is our resistance to a challenge that creates the difficulty. Letting go and falling into it releases that resistance.

  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    @KarikoPuppies said:
    the penalty of speaking ill of the Lotus Sutra is so great.(if someone say badly about this Sutra).

    Spare me from this evil:

    Earthninjalobster
  • KarikoPuppiesKarikoPuppies Veteran
    edited September 2015

    @karasti said:
    I don't know you or your history, KarikoPuppies so I am trying not to make assumptions but you seem particularly knowledgeable in a way that suggests to me that your Buddhist beliefs and practice are present not just with you and your teacher, but perhaps in your family and your culture as well? Many of us do not come from such a place, and so all these years perhaps you were learning Buddhism from the time you were very young, but many of the rest of us did not. Plus many of us come from a culture that embraces a religion very different from Buddhism and so have that to work with and around, including it's influence on our society and culture. Like i said, not trying to assume you are a life long cultural Buddhist, but just the way you "speak" that is what I was thinking.

    hi karasti, how are you, thank you for thoughtful comment.
    I guess I learned it hard way. Before I became a buddhist, I believed in everything, I would jokingly say a prayer naming all gods and buddhas and sun and the moon, anything there is to believed as holding "power" not knowing what that meant.(later on I became a Christian and I do feel like that lead me to buddhist path).

    We are all born differently regardless of races but spiritually. For those who have healthy mind and body and spirit, they can probably get away with many mistakes in this life ( but you get to be responsible for them in next life ). People like me on the other hand who have accumulated sinful karma in previous lives can only improve life through buddha's teaching.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that there is only one Truth and Shakymuni buddha explained that Truth the best. Jesus did a great job too but Buddha did explained better. So anyone who wants to be happy in a long run should listen carefully to what Shakymuni buddha had said. Lot of buddhist ignore his later teachings. (such as Lotus Sutra). In that Sutra he said the previous teachings were just a tactful means, to throw away. I think this part is where people get ticked off.
    I just want to mention this but I guess my ability is very limited.
    I will try my best though if I can be help at all. ( even if that is to plant a good root for next life not this one so that more people will have good cause and condition in next life )
    for now I feel my shortcoming so I will go practice harder!
    hope you have a good rest of the week, happy and healthy.

    btw invincible, I will help you ! just wait a little bit so I can be strong enough to drag you out of there. I will do my best my friend. but if you do it yourself it will be easier and faster! you can do it.

    karastiEarthninjaSteve_B
  • I apologize that I went off the topic of meditation. For those who love meditation, I did not meant to totally diss the meditation. Wishing you all the protection from Buddha.

    Earthninja
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @KarikoPuppies I really enjoy your comments and input :)

    EarthninjaKarikoPuppies
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    Me too. Sometimes I think the negative comments about your posts seem mean. But all the threads are really just collections of different points of view. I wish we could value all input, and also add our own. We need all the Al Sharptons, Ted Nugents, John Lennons, and Rush Limbaughs we can get.

    KarikoPuppies
  • @woods93 said:
    I have had depression for a long time and it has brought down my wanting to meditate. I enjoy it but I easily get discouraged sometimes and find it hard to make myself start. Anyone have similar experiences? Help on the subject?

    It is good you enjoy meditation, that is quite an achievement. Let us riff with that. The depression is a separate issue. If it is clinical you need medicine/help.

    • For me first thing is wake, sit up meditate. No ifs, no buts - just butt on cushion.

    • Even if I don't feel like meditating, I sit and pretend to meditate (in my case 'pretend' is more or less the same as 'real') O.o

    • Vary the focus. I very often chant a bit, dedicate a bit, scan the body a bit etc. Count. Breathe. Visualise. Call on the power of Greyskull/Dalai Lama/Chenresig. Visualise bowing to the long lineage of accomplished practitioners. Send me your evil thoughts to feed demons on my next compassionate visit to the hell realms.

    • Never underestimate the draw of a special cushion and shrine area. Mr Monkey Mind likes it.

    Good luck <3

    dhammachickInvincible_summer
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    @Steve_B said:
    Me too. Sometimes I think the negative comments about your posts seem mean. But all the threads are really just collections of different points of view. I wish we could value all input, and also add our own. We need all the Al Sharptons, Ted Nugents, John Lennons, and Rush Limbaughs we can get.

    Who on this forum are you comparing to Rush Limbaugh?? O.o :p

    Walker
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited September 2015

    Rigdzin Shikpo in his book Never Turn Away says that the meditation he teaches is 'self-sealing' which means that if you are not ready for it then it won't harm you. The type of meditation he teaches is called 'formless meditation' by my teacher who is his wife. I think it begins with noting thoughts as 'just thinking'. Probably you can find guides from Pema Chodron on youtube. She (Pema Chodron) had the same teacher as Rigdzin Shikpo that being Trungpa Rinpoche.

    But on the topic of danger in meditation I think one thing is certain is that at some point you will get sick and die. Whether you meditate or not; whether you chant the Lotus Sutra or not. It is a certainty that at some point you will get sick and die. Maybe it is good to 'go for it' in this lifetime. There are other dangerous things such as mountain climbing that do not even have the ultimate benefit of meditation. At least with meditation you are going for something (more) meaningful. Perhaps a risks and rewards situation.

    lobsterInvincible_summer
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