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My meditation has been getting worse over time.

I used to be able to clear my mind on and off and meditate two hours a day. I practice daily and the past few days, I can barely focus on my breath at all anymore and I'm so restless I can barely sit. What could be causing this? Would listening to metal outside of meditation, gossiping, or using exagurations have something to do with that? Because I have been.
I've been practicing almost every day for about a couple months or more (on and off for about three years). I am of the Theravadin tradition.

ashwin

Comments

  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran

    Yes. It happens over time. We need to skillful in wordly life to have good meditation sessions.Concerntrating on breath is so hard task for me. Do you learned vipaasana as you told that you are theravedian.

  • The first step is virtue(sila} and sense restraint. The progress comes one by one only if the right conditions are present. They cannot be forced by willpower.

    "For a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue, there is no need for an act of will, 'May freedom from remorse arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that freedom from remorse arises in a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue.

    "For a person free from remorse, there is no need for an act of will, 'May joy arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that joy arises in a person free from remorse.

    "For a joyful person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May rapture arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that rapture arises in a joyful person.

    "For a rapturous person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May my body be serene.' It is in the nature of things that a rapturous person grows serene in body.

    "For a person serene in body, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I experience pleasure.' It is in the nature of things that a person serene in body experiences pleasure.

    "For a person experiencing pleasure, there is no need for an act of will, 'May my mind grow concentrated.' It is in the nature of things that the mind of a person experiencing pleasure grows concentrated.

    "For a person whose mind is concentrated, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I know & see things as they actually are.' It is in the nature of things that a person whose mind is concentrated knows & sees things as they actually are.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an11/an11.002.than.html

    mmodooksta123
  • @dooksta123 said:
    I used to be able to clear my mind on and off and meditate two hours a day.

    You think? o:)

    I practice daily and the past few days, I can barely focus on my breath at all anymore and I'm so restless I can barely sit.

    Oh. O.o
    Welcome to cushion country. <3

    What could be causing this? Would listening to metal outside of meditation, gossiping, or using exagurations have something to do with that? Because I have been.

    Please lecture me on Sila and the 8 fold path ... I refuse to insult your intelligence ... you already know the answer. B)

    I've been practicing almost every day for about a couple months or more (on and off for about three years). I am of the Theravadin tradition.

    LOL
    You are a human being. Congratulations.

    Restless? Learn walking meditation or prostrations.
    You have a teacher? Need one? Get one!

    Everything is fine. Truly. Long live the Mahayana Infidels! o:)

    dooksta123
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    If it wasn't challenging at times, they probably wouldn't call it "practice"!

    howStingRaymmodooksta123
  • @genkaku said:
    Anyone can count to one.

    Seems like a plan. B)

    One, One, Won ... and back to beginner ... One, two,
    mmm ... two seems dualistic and back to One, One, One

    ... and now back to making sure the paint dries ...

    StingRay
  • StingRayStingRay Glasgow Explorer

    Hi @dooksta123 I have thought a lot about your post after having read it a few days ago. You sound exactly how I used to sound when I first started setting about 10 years back. I used to measure success in meditation in accordance with how concentrated I became. We have been programmed to measure success and failure in a specific way it is in our culture. You see not being able to concentrate during meditation as a failure it is actually a success believe it or not. Every time you bring your mind back it is it is a kind success if you want to label it this way. it does not matter how many times your mind drifts off the main thing is when you bring it back you have shined a light of mindfulness on to your dreamworld. Without forcing the mind back. Be compassionate to yourself and to your meditation practice as it is all about everything includingthoughts all distractions everything the awareness of not being concentrated. is the meditation. If you have a meditation sitting where you somehow manage to be ultra concentrated on your breath you may have not have learnt anything about letting go if the concentration is very forced and u are shutting out all thought it is not about achieving anything and this achieving of nothing is so hard for us to understand!

    lobsterJeffreysilver
  • My sense is that like just about anything else, spiritual practice is cyclical, with ups and downs. In fact, it is designed to bring one face to face with the most difficult parts of oneself and reality. My feeling is that the greatest opportunity for growth actually comes during what we perceive as "low" points. If we push through those, a new dawn will come. The alternative is to retreat back into our fantasies of what is good, pleasant and safe- the very place where we suffered so much that we got moved to practice to begin with.

    lobsterStingRayKale4Dayzmmo
  • Well said @shadowleaver
    Meditation is not a part time escape from practice. It is the beginning and disciplining of the real cushion. Life, the Universe and Everything ... o:)

    StingRay
  • I figured out over the past few days how susceptible I am to anxiety after breaking precepts. I decided to do some reading on compassion in the Pali Canon and after purifying my mind with this reading, I found myself easily able to meditate for three hours. I tend to be sensitive to almost everything. Lol

  • @dooksta123 said: I found myself easily able to meditate for three hours.

    You must be very advanced then. ;)

    StingRaydooksta123lobster
  • StingRayStingRay Glasgow Explorer

    Hi @dooksta123 and during those three hours did you have any "bad meditation sittings if you did those were probably the good ones for your spiritual progress!

    FoibleFulldooksta123
  • StingRayStingRay Glasgow Explorer

    Sorry I just wanted to add something further Gill Fronsdal from the insight meditation centre always says "when things get difficult and even feel impossible in your practice that's when the real practice begins".

  • @StingRay said: Sorry I just wanted to add something further Gill Fronsdal from the insight meditation centre always says "when things get difficult and even feel impossible in your practice that's when the real practice begins".

    It can mean that, but it can also mean that you aren't doing it right.

    StingRaylobstersilverdooksta123
  • StingRayStingRay Glasgow Explorer

    @SpinyNorman yes that could be what is happening but in Other cases it is seeing the distractions themes as the problem instead of looking at the reaction to the distractions and as a result over efforting and trying to hard to find and have highly concentrated meditation sittings.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited December 2015

    Meditation isn't supposed to be a continual battle. If it is then you're doing it wrong.

    The mind should become pretty calm after 10 or 15 minutes. If it doesn't then there is something wrong with the method you are using. Samatha ( calm ) and vipassana ( insight ) work in tandem.

    lobsternamarupadooksta123
  • StingRayStingRay Glasgow Explorer

    @SpinyNorman one could still be sitting in the correct posture and meditating in the correct way in accordance to the method being used and may not attain a feeling of calm due to all the stress and mind stuff going on in their life ie ) they may have had a traumatic experience such as having lost a love one or one could be going through a very difficult time in there lives. what ever comes up during Meditation becomes the practice it is not about becoming calm it is about what ever comes up and letting go and more things coming up and letting them go. We may not alwsys feel calm and could get caught up with the many things and then we let go. sometimes The feelings are so strong that we can't let go but being aware that we are caught or we may not be able to bring mindfulness if the feelings are too strong but eventually thru right effort and over time we will have the skills to let go more deeply or not. this is all practice that's why it is called practice. Practice for the times we are off the cushion.

    silver
  • @StingRay said: @SpinyNorman one could still be sitting in the correct posture and meditating in the correct way in accordance to the method being used and may not attain a feeling of calm due to all the stress and mind stuff going on in their life ie ) they may have had a traumatic experience such as having lost a love one or one could be going through a very difficult time in there lives.

    Oh sure, that happens to all of us on occasion but it doesn't sound like what the OP was describing. Sometimes people do get the wrong idea about meditation and then they really struggle with it.

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    Buddhism is process-oriented, not goal-oriented.
    In other words it is what IS happening, not where you are trying to go, that counts.
    It sounds like you are trying to achieve something through your meditation, and are attaching importance to your meditations results.
    But Vipassana is about becoming aware ... if your meditation produces restlessness, you become aware of THAT .. you observe it mindfully.

    I would suggest you buy a copy of "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Gunaratana. It is perhaps THE best book I have ever read on Buddhism and especially on how to do mindfulness meditation. Mine was a gift from a Sri Lankan bhante, but I think you can buy it from amazon.com.

    StingRaydooksta123Jeffrey
  • @FoibleFull said: But Vipassana is about becoming aware ... if your meditation produces restlessness, you become aware of THAT .. you observe it mindfully.

    It is better if samatha and vipassana work in tandem.

  • StingRayStingRay Glasgow Explorer

    @FoibleFull thanks very insightful. The journey not the destination all this talk of meditation encouraged me sit again today!

    Meta

    silverlobsterdooksta123
  • @SpinyNorman said:

    @dooksta123 said: I found myself easily able to meditate for three hours.

    You must be very advanced then. ;)

    LOL. Too wikid. o:)

    I remember a Tibetan meditation teacher saying it took him three hours of sitting, just to settle his mind before he could start 'real' meditation. Seemed to impress the superficial, nobody wondered why so much clutter and business needed to settle ...

    This explains why Sila/moral behavour is part of the Grinches hate fold path ...

    Part time dharma? Tsk, tsk ...

    StingRay
  • ashwinashwin chennai Explorer

    it is very difficult to meditate,can you give me some effective methods that works?my breath is very unsteady after 4 mins,and unable to concentrate.

  • @ashwin said:
    it is very difficult to meditate,can you give me some effective methods that works?my breath is very unsteady after 4 mins,and unable to concentrate.

    Some notes I took on my meditation:
    Meditation Thought Checklist
    -Just be.
    -In the moment.
    -Don't do, just be.
    -There is no future, there is no past, there is just the breath.
    -Focus on entire breath from bottom to top to bottom.
    -Don't force it.
    -Soft focus. Let it deepen.
    -The mind will relax like a mug of water. It will settle when you put it down.
    -Count breaths.
    -Rising/falling
    -Focus on the idea of breath, or in nostril, or abdomen, etc.
    -Don't move.
    -Walking meditation.
    -Namo Buddhaya mantra if needed.
    -When mind is restless, direct that energy into Metta.
    -When you're focused on the breath, stay focused on the breath. When the mind wanders, do shikantaza/vipassana and acknowledge the thoughts and let them go. Return to the breath.
    -Don't meditate for the helpful side-effects. Meditate to be in the moment.
    -Don't meditate with an oval image:

    Meditate with a wave image:

    Staying present in each moment.

    lobster
  • @ashwin said:> it is very difficult to meditate,can you give me some effective methods that works?my breath is very unsteady after 4 mins,and unable to concentrate.

    Ajahn Brahm has some good meditation talks on Youtube. Is there any way you could get some face-to-face meditation instruction?

  • ashwinashwin chennai Explorer

    dooksta123.what is vipassa,how to do it bro?

  • Does anyone else have some serious trouble meditating in the morning? If it's at night, I can manage occasionally up to 3 hours but if I meditate in the morning, I'm lucky to get 15 minutes. Thoughts?

  • I'm the other way round.

    dooksta123
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