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Why should we meditate?

NamadaNamada Veteran
edited October 2016 in General Banter

Why should we meditate?

Isnt daily mindfullness good enough?

Shoshin
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Comments

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

    I think mindfulness is good enough. Probly cuz I'm no good at meditating - my mind is rebellious too much to settle in.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 2016

    Why should we meditate?

    The mind is easily distracted, it often becomes charmed by its own thoughts which leads it astray...Meditation trains the mind, and by doing so, one can get up close and personal with its intricate workings...

    For me personally, meditation is reinforcing a beneficial habit ie, charging ones "mindful" batteries so to speak...

    "Tis the mind itself that leads the mind astray
    So of the mind be mindful every moment of the day!"

    lobsterBunksDhammaDragon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    You should do what works for you. I meditate because it sets the stage for the type of day I want to have, along with my yoga and writing and studying. I find it easier to carry mindfulness through my day when I meditate regularly every morning (as well as mini-moments throughout the day). It is an opportunity to reconnect with myself during the craziness of running kids around and making dinner and blowing up the bread machine (my day so far, lol). But if I don't keep up with meditation, my mindfulness fails all around.

    Also, it seems that Buddha got it right doing meditation and not just mindfulness, along with plenty of other awakened or high-level masters/teachers. It seems he largely knew what he was talking about.

    Lee82shep83
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    It's like practice and training for daily mindfulness. Lots of situations it isn't natural or easy to remain mindful, so by practicing in formal meditation we get better at it.

    At a deeper level it gets one in touch with your inner workings so that you can weed out negative patterns and reinforce positive ones.

    But at whatever level it isn't a should, it's about seeing the longer term benefits and wanting to do it in spite of any short term difficulties.

    lobster
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    @silver said:
    I think mindfulness is good enough. Probly cuz I'm no good at meditating - my mind is rebellious too much to settle in.

    I'm intrigued by this. It makes sense to concentrate on what you're good at, make it work for you. But then I think that if I'm not good at meditating, it would probably do me MORE good to learn it than it would for people to whom it comes naturally, because it's obviously something I'm missing.

  • @Namada said:
    Isnt daily mindfullness good enough?

    B)
    When your mindfulness is good enough - it is meditation. o:)
    (Gosh I iz so ultra-spiritual in a New Agey sort of way)

    Tee Hee.
    Many years ago I read and was very impressed with the idea of mindfulness as the only practice required.

    I was not able to implement. If you are bravo, otherwise you need mind training. Don't kid yourself.

    shep83
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Why should we meditate?

    I guess the nutshell answer would be to develop "Tranquillity & Insight" which flows through ones everyday life...However if one feels they can obtain this elsewhere, good on them... :)

    Bearing in mind as Buddhists we are not forced to do or believe anything ....just to see for ourselves :)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Namada said:
    Why should we meditate?

    Because it's a good foundation for mindfulness. Because it's a way of connecting with stillness.

    lobsterNamada
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Namada said:
    Isnt daily mindfullness good enough?

    Usually not!

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @silver I think it is a common mistake to assume we shouldn't do something we feel we aren't "good" at. I felt the same about meditation for a long time. Until I learned how to let go of having expectations of it. Even years later, some days are better than others. It's just the nature of the mind. Some people might get their minds to settle faster, or learn how to do so faster, but everyone still has to learn. Like yoga, it is a practice. So many people think they can't do yoga because they aren't flexible. But if that's your goal, yoga will get you there. You don't do yoga because you are flexible, you do yoga so you can be more flexible. Likewise, you don't meditate because your mind is calmer. You meditate to train your mind on how to be calmer. Some dogs potty train in a matter of hours. Some take much longer. So with the mind :wink:

    I used to think I couldn't meditate either. My brain was too busy, it clearly wasn't meant for meditation. Oh I couldn't have been more wrong. My brain was exactly the type that needed meditation. And now I am more efficient at using my mind because it is better controlled. Just like a dog that likes to work. If it's not given direction, it just runs amock, eating the furniture, peeing on the floor, tearing up the carpet. Now it has aim and direction and is happy as a clam to be focused more often, like a sled dog, because it's job is more clear.

    lobsterFosdicksilver
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited October 2016

    Its difficult to do something we are not used to, its just to start small and trying to turn the light on for this activity. We do have many diffrent ereas in our brain thats need stimulus before we get used to it. After few hours of practice it should be more easy to sit on the cushion, its sounds very boring, just to sit and watch your breath.

    But what benefits do meditation really have? Some get more frustrated because they can see all their faults and problems that they have been covering up by distractions during the years. For some meditation can be really difficult to do.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I think there comes a point for most people in meditation and other contemplative activities that they have to face the parts of them they don't like. We have to face things that happened to us. We have to face our responses to things. It's hard to face ourselves when we live in a culture that never teaches us to do so. But I think that is one of meditations greatest benefits. Anything you put your whole heart into is going to have some big challenges, because you are making yourself open and vulnerable. I think it is necessary to ever have a chance to come face-to-face with ourselves and reconcile our true nature with all the rest that goes on in our minds and bodies.

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

    I've always felt that I really have gotten somewhere with this mindfulness practice. I feel like it has improved my life in a wonderful way but when I even think about sitting still and meditating, it's just distasteful and I don't know all the reasons why I react like that. Which brings me to the insight about 'reacting'. I've been living my life using the reacting part of my brain and not really 'thinking'. It's hard to explain, but this is what has sold me on mindfulness/meditation/Buddhism.

    Since I lost my son, I've spent periods of time where I just kinda zone out and it gives me a curious mix of ideas about what is really going on - if anything - in my brain. It feels almost like I imagine meditation to be like. I'm not going to worry about feeling able to meditate properly at this point.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Namada said:

    Isnt daily mindfullness good enough?

    What is "mindfulness" = a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations,

    I'm under the impression that in order to practice mindfulness one must be in "meditation" mode, they're one of the same...and if one goes by the above definition of 'mindfulness' the only difference between mindfulness and (for example) "shikantaza".... is the "cushion"

    "quiet sitting in open awareness, reflecting directly the reality of life"

    ~Merv Fowler~

    Perhaps a question to ask oneself "Can one practice mindfulness and not be meditating ???"

    NamadaFosdicklobstersilver
  • @silver said:
    It feels almost like I imagine meditation to be like. I'm not going to worry about feeling able to meditate properly at this point.

    <3
    It is meditation. It is the ideal state as @Shoshin mentions. It was a constant state of awareness/mindfullness that I recognised in my teacher. If such awareness exists, there is no need for formal cushion practice.

    However most people, even 'advanced' meditators go into a samdhi like trance at best and back to zzzz .... land when 'finishing'. There is ideally and ultimately no start and 'entering altered consciousness' and then 'finishing ones formal practice.

    Stay sharp. Be aware. Iz plan. Iz dharma.

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

    @karasti said:
    I think there comes a point for most people in meditation and other contemplative activities that they have to face the parts of them they don't like. We have to face things that happened to us. We have to face our responses to things. It's hard to face ourselves when we live in a culture that never teaches us to do so. But I think that is one of meditations greatest benefits. Anything you put your whole heart into is going to have some big challenges, because you are making yourself open and vulnerable. I think it is necessary to ever have a chance to come face-to-face with ourselves and reconcile our true nature with all the rest that goes on in our minds and bodies.

    Well said. I could say what you just said a million times about Buddhism and meditation. It is so very valuable - partly because all these things we face about our lives and our past can remain private, but it doesn't have to. <3

    karasti
  • @Namada said:
    Why should we meditate?

    Isnt daily mindfullness good enough?

    It's never enough. The mind has to stay sharp like a warrior looking out for the next trap, and the enemy is an army of professional killers and masters of disguises.

  • @namarupa said:
    It's never enough. The mind has to stay sharp like a warrior looking out for the next trap, and the enemy is an army of professional killers and masters of disguises.

    Tee hee!
    Ain't it though.

    Mara, the well known Buddhist enemy (my pal and constant companion) is always with us. That is why we need to dance with wolves and cushions. Stillness and movement. Stillness is an aquired taste, like stilton. :glasses:

    When we are as lax and confused as [lobster raises hand as an example] me, we need every uber-dharma-tool we can muster ...

    ... and for thise who just can't meditate ...
    http://www.chriswinfield.com/meditation-hacks/

    namarupaCinorjer
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @namarupa said:> It's never enough. The mind has to stay sharp like a warrior looking out for the next trap, and the enemy is an army of professional killers and masters of disguises.

    And sometimes it is something innocuous like ice-cream. :p

    lobsternamarupa
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @karasti said:
    I think there comes a point for most people in meditation and other contemplative activities that they have to face the parts of them they don't like. We have to face things that happened to us. We have to face our responses to things. It's hard to face ourselves when we live in a culture that never teaches us to do so. But I think that is one of meditations greatest benefits. Anything you put your whole heart into is going to have some big challenges, because you are making yourself open and vulnerable. I think it is necessary to ever have a chance to come face-to-face with ourselves and reconcile our true nature with all the rest that goes on in our minds and bodies.

    But it's important to realise that all of Buddhism is about choosing what we want to be, out of the wider set of our impulses and nature. Through gaining insight you clarify what you are and remove ignorance and delusion, through working on the perfections you encourage what you see as beneficial or skilful, you make the four efforts which includes reducing unhelpful states of mind, you learn to conquer the hindrances.

    It is a development process, and meditation is a part of that. On the one hand there is a conscious effort, and on the other there is the insight that comes out of meditation, which also leads to growth. The one without the other doesn't have the same cumulative effect, meditation is like the dredge that brings up what is deep inside.

    lobsterShoshin
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Kerome I don't disagree at all. My post was in response to Namada who mentioned that perhaps meditation is too difficult for people because they get frustrated at what comes up. I was just saying that that is what is supposed to be happening. Meditation is hard work with oneself and not just peace and smiles and fancy cushions. One is bound to get frustrated and experience other things. That doesn't mean there is a problem with meditation or that it should be abandoned.

    lobsterperson
  • @karasti said:
    Meditation is hard work with oneself and not just peace and smiles and fancy cushions.

    Pah! or Phat even! ;)

    May the dharma saints and awakened bodhi preserve and save us! I haz gone wrong again?

    Peace and smiles and fancy cushions (both literal and metaphorical) is probably the bulk of my practice :open_mouth:

    I would suggest that meditation does not have to be hard work. In fact 'meditation is hard' is a way of result based 'you get out what you put in'. Perhaps meditation is what you take out, when there is nothing to it ...

    You are on holiday. On a beach, sitting in a deck chair, your worries behind you. Chill out.

    That is easy. So 'led meditation', can be a holiday from monkey mind.
    See Youtube for details

    Shoshin
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @lobster I thought of you when I made the cushion comment :wink:

    I guess what I meant is, sometimes meditation is hard for me. But hard more like chores or exercise are sometimes hard. I might not always enjoy the process but I always am grateful I took the time and I enjoy the results. There have been times things have come up in meditation that were difficult to deal with or roadblocks I hit. That is what has made it hard for me. But I am grateful that I can go to my teacher with those issues and find ways through rather than giving up out of frustration.

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Regular meditation practice 'cushions' the mind......it's a no brainer :winky: :)

    lobster
  • smarinosmarino florida Explorer

    Mindfulness IS meditation. It's simply active meditation. That is, if it is correctly done. There are thousands of ways to operate w/ mindfulness apparently, and it's become quite a fad and a great way to get an audience for a book or speaking engagement. The best reason I can think of to meditate is that this is how the Buddha came to enlightenment. If it's good enough for the Buddha, it's good enough for me. Besides, it works. It does what it's supposed to do, it wakes us up.

    DhammaDragon
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    Two branches of the Noble Eightfold Path, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration, rest on the practice of meditation, @Namada.
    As @smarino stated above, it was after long hours of meditation that the Buddha attained Enlightenment under the bodhi tree.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    Two branches of the Noble Eightfold Path, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration, rest on the practice of meditation, @Namada.
    As @smarino stated above, it was after long hours of meditation that the Buddha attained Enlightenment under the bodhi tree.

    Welcome back @DhammaDragon :)

    lobsterDhammaDragon
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    @Namada said:
    Why should we meditate?

    Isnt daily mindfullness good enough?

    I was just thinking, by the way, @Namada, that you make meditation sound like a chore.

    Have you ever actually meditated?
    You do it once, you want to keep doing it.

    It is through the practice of meditation that you become more mindful.
    You can't dance "Swan Lake" unless you do the previous barre job.

  • I meditate because I enjoy my little 15 minutes to myself. It recharges my batteries, and if it was good enough for Buddha to find enlightenment it's good enough for me.

    lobster
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @DhammaDragon Depends what you mean by meditating, but sitting on the floor crosslegged its terrible for my back, so iam not so good at it.

    But during the day when iam walking, biking, washing dishes, drinking tea and other daily things I try to have awarness of what Iam doing in the moment.

    I will never get these deep Jahans like Ajahn Brahm always talk about, but whatever, does it really matter?

  • justushobbitsjustushobbits Virginia New
    edited October 2016

    @Namada said:
    @DhammaDragon Depends what you mean by meditating, but sitting on the floor crosslegende its terrible for my back, so iam not so good at it.

    I agree, I can't quite get those legs crossed anymore so just sit in my chair and follow my breath. 15 minutes a day keeps the doctor away!

  • I know what you mean... my poor legs won't take it anymore. Not to mention my back! It's depressing to get old. I just sit in my chair for 15 minutes and follow my breath.

  • Yes, Iam doing the same.

    Or laying down in bed its also nice :)

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    Point is.... nobody ever said the only position to meditate were sitting on the floor cross-legged, people...

    karasti
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited October 2016

    Anyway if we want to experience deep jahanas it recuiers also alot of concentration and a good posture. Iam not there jet. But its nice to hear that other are good in their practice of "formal sitting".

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran


    I've found this to the most comfortable position for meditation....To explore the inner workings of the mind :)

    DhammaDragonjustushobbitssilver
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:

    Point is.... nobody ever said the only position to meditate were sitting on the floor cross-legged, people..

    Some people do say things like that, though I think it is largely cultural baggage.

    lobster
  • It is cultural baggage.
    It is possible to meditate in a chair, standing, walking, doing many things (yes ultimately everything).

    Personally I tend to fall asleep if meditating in corpse posture. It does not work for me. I find the reclining Buddha posture (on the side) effective.

    Also some simple yoga asana can be held for a while ...

    DhammaDragonNamada
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    @Namada said:
    Anyway if we want to experience deep jahanas it recuiers also alot of concentration and a good posture. Iam not there jet. But its nice to hear that other are good in their practice of "formal sitting".

    Not only cultural baggage, but also some self-fulfilling prophecy, looking for the easy way out and a certain limited view on meditation, I would say.

    You should practice meditation for the sake of meditation itself, not with the aim of attaining the jhanas.
    In the 25 years plus I have meditated, I have never bothered to check if I have attained any jhanas.
    I may never attain enlightenment, but that is no excuse not to tread the Buddha's path.

    And being mindful throughout the day on activities such as walking, biking and drinking your tea is no replacement for the practice of meditation.

    No critic intended in my comment, but I just perceive excuses rather than solid reasons not to meditate.
    Find a comfortable position, relax, breathe in, breathe out, repeat for as long as you wish.
    How complex can that be?

    lobsterjustushobbitsNamada
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Namada said:> I will never get these deep Jahans like Ajahn Brahm always talk about, but whatever, does it really matter?

    Opinions vary. Some schools/teachers view them as an important part of the process, others argue that it is more important to develop insight, and that jhana is not essential for that.

    I have experienced jhana on retreats when doing a lot of meditation practice, but rarely at home. They give you a sense of the possibilities, very different states of mind, though I have found the insight approach more suited to lay-practice.

    lobsterjustushobbits
  • I try not to expect anything from my sit. I think the whole idea is to sit... no expectations, no Jhana, no anything, find something to focus on.(usually the breath) and sit.

    ShoshinDhammaDragonlobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Jhanas is not something that is part of my practice so I couldn't tell you if I've experienced them or not as I couldn't tell you what they even are. But it seems to me that meditating to accomplish something in particular (with a goal in mind, like trying to get an A on a test) defeats the purpose. But I could list a lot of benefits I do get from meditation and that is enough for me in this life, whether it leads to enlightenment or not. I do sit daily, but increasingly more of my meditation comes in other areas of my life, not just the 15 or so minutes I sit. But, my sitting practice (and I mean dedicated meditation time not necessarily in a seated posture) is what has lead to that, for me.

    I have a bad knee, and I get awful sciatica sometimes. So I cannot always sit cross legged for very long, especially if it's morning before I've done yoga and loosened up. I actually sit on the floor most of the time now, because I've found sitting in furniture has actually caused my back problems and ceasing to sit on it has mostly resolved them as my back has strengthened from not constantly being overly supported from cushioning and improper posture. Anyhow, meditation is meditation. It doesn't matter if you practice the 7 point posture or sit in full lotus, half lotus, cross legged, in a chair, on a bed, etc. The process in the point, not the posture.

    Namadalobster
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran
  • @justushobbits said:
    I meditate because I enjoy my little 15 minutes to myself. It recharges my batteries, and if it was good enough for Buddha to find enlightenment it's good enough for me.

    Indeed.
    Some very simple examples of 'healthy' meditation in this thread.
    I was dismayed by the very common, often unworkable posture in @DhammaDragon pic (though the message is good)
    That posture is being modelled. If that photo pose is adopted you will slouch forward, feel pain and feel discomfort very quickly. Boo! Non-yogi! ;)

    Here is a more at ease version ...

    a holiday from the mind ...

    DhammaDragonNamada
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @karasti said: ....meditating to accomplish something in particular (with a goal in mind, like trying to get an A on a test) defeats the purpose.

    Could you explain why? I have never really understood this view, and it seems like a cliche. In Theravada for example, the "goal" of meditation is usually to develop the qualities of tranquillity and insight.

    We have no problem with clarity of purpose when it comes to other activities, eg taking regular exercise to keep fit, so I don't understand the coyness when it comes to Buddhist practice.

    People who continue to meditate regularly are clearly getting something from it, if they weren't then they wouldn't bother. What that "something" is will vary according to the individual and the school/method they are following, but I don't understand the reluctance to be clear about it.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Cinorjer said:> If you mean formal, lotus posture sitting down and doing something special mediation, maybe it's not necessary. Most Buddhists in the world don't do formal meditation to any degree, you know. They leave that to the monks.

    Though most western Buddhists do meditate regularly. And meditation is emphasied in Zen I believe.

    I don't even have a set time to meditate anymore. Now when I sit down and have nothing to do, then I sit quietly doing nothing. No big deal and nothing special.

    I've had a period like this recently, but have now returned to doing a formal meditation practice. I suppose a sense of more to discover.

    Cinorjer
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited November 2016

    I think its important to have a goal with what you are doing,
    why should you sit on a pillow watching your breath whitout any purpose or meaning.

    Buddha sat under the three for 7 years, he had one goal in mind, not a worldly goal but a spiritual goal.

    The Reason to why people in the buddhist circle say you shouldnt have any goal, its because of the word craving, a word which can be easy misunderstood. Craving = suffering. But
    thats not always the case :)

    Cinorjer
  • @karasti said:
    I guess what I meant is, sometimes meditation is hard for me.

    Yes. Transient, malleable - changeable.

    When I first practiced meditation I was completely impervious to the subtleties and only noticed the gross changes. Positive and calm mind space being the obvious.

    In a sense meditation discipline is always hard but the hardship becomes easier. Positive, calm, inner space we like? Of course.
    http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/ferryboat.html

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