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Meditation itself can be resistance

MingleMingle Veteran
edited November 4 in Buddhism Basics

Just spent an hour on the cushion and I have realised how even when meditating I spend an awfully long time trying to control my thoughts.

As the meditator it can be very easy to fall into the trap of asking yourself "am I meditating yet?" when all the thoughts we have or the feelings we feel we become attached to by trying to be un-attached and that I believe is resistance.

Most of my sessions are like this and it is very rarely that I can experience complete non-attachment as I still carry with me many ideals of what meditation should be. From now on I think my approach is gonna be to just go with the flow. Screw meditating I'm just gonna carry on sitting and breathing. If I'm attached so what? If I'm not attached so what?

I'd say one of the biggest obstacles of learning Buddhism is actually un-learning Buddhism.

personUkjunglistDavidSnakeskinlobster

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Buddhism is a collection of information attempting to explain experiences. When you start to have the experiences, you find you need less and less of the information that is attempting to explain it. No matter how hard anyone tries, turning deeper experiences into words is almost impossible. There is always so much more to the experience than words can ever convey.

    UkjunglistSnakeskinlobsterperson
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited November 4

    I'd say one of the biggest obstacles of learning Buddhism is actually un-learning Buddhism.

    No one can un-think a purple cow, but it sure can be diverting to try. @mingle -- I think you are on target ... just keep on sitting. Sit when it's blissful, sit when it sucks ... eventually, you will get tired of your own shenanigans.

    Once, during a long-ish retreat, I was in a lot of pain. I sat there silent and still ... all the time yowling in my mind, "I can't do this! I can't stand this!" After screeching like this for the better part of an hour, suddenly it occurred to me that at the same time I was complaining that I couldn't do it, I was, in fact, doing it.

    turning deeper experiences into words is almost impossible.

    @karasti -- Words cannot and will never adequately describe experience. Pretending that words are adequate is just that -- a pretense: I make nice with you and you make nice with me and both of us have a cozy chat that can sound oh-so-important and 'true.' As my teacher used to say, "It is impossible to describe the taste of tea. But if I drink and you drink, then both of us know what tea tastes like."

    What is called "Buddhism" may offer hints but, as @mingle almost points out, it is also bullshit.

    Snakeskinlobsterkarasti
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I’ve mostly gotten the hang of “just returning to the breath” recently. Controlling thoughts tends to be futile because in what direction would you control them, and isn’t that another thought... it is better to watch for the arising of thoughts, and as soon as you notice you have been carried away (again!) to label it a thought and return to the breath.

    Snakeskinlobster
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve mostly gotten the hang of “just returning to the breath” recently. Controlling thoughts tends to be futile because in what direction would you control them, and isn’t that another thought... it is better to watch for the arising of thoughts, and as soon as you notice you have been carried away (again!) to label it a thought and return to the breath.

    Watching could also become a burden and create anxiety. Am I watching at all times? Did I miss something? And also the very desire to be aware (as opposed to being unaware) creates resistance.

    lobster
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Explorer

    @genkaku said:
    What is called "Buddhism" may offer hints but, as @mingle almost points out, it is also bullshit.

    I'm glad you said that, as I've long thought that, only it's better BS than mine.

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Explorer

    @techie said:

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve mostly gotten the hang of “just returning to the breath” recently. Controlling thoughts tends to be futile because in what direction would you control them, and isn’t that another thought... it is better to watch for the arising of thoughts, and as soon as you notice you have been carried away (again!) to label it a thought and return to the breath.

    Watching could also become a burden and create anxiety. Am I watching at all times? Did I miss something? And also the very desire to be aware (as opposed to being unaware) creates resistance.

    But then when resistance breaks down and awareness settles on the breath there's that moment when you become aware of the awareness of breath, the breath thought, and aware of the awareness of awareness of breath, the awareness thought. What to do with those? :lol:

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Um so Buddhism is bullshit and bullshit baffles brains yep that sounds about right... :winky:

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    From now on I think my approach is gonna be to just go with the flow. Screw meditating I'm just gonna carry on sitting and breathing. If I'm attached so what? If I'm not attached so what?

    Just sitting sounds good...

    There is no doer...only doing ....if "I" think "I am" doing something.... then nothings changed...

    DhammaDragon
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 5

    @Shoshin said:

    @Mingle said:
    From now on I think my approach is gonna be to just go with the flow. Screw meditating I'm just gonna carry on sitting and breathing. If I'm attached so what? If I'm not attached so what?

    Just sitting sounds good...

    There is no doer...only doing ....if "I" think "I am" doing something.... then nothings changed...

    I see it close to this except it isn't the doer that seems illusory, only the distinction between subject and object.

    The doer is still in the doing but the noun isn't a thing, it's a process.

    That's just me though.

    ShoshinlobsterDhammaDragon
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 5

    @Snakeskin said:

    @techie said:

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve mostly gotten the hang of “just returning to the breath” recently. Controlling thoughts tends to be futile because in what direction would you control them, and isn’t that another thought... it is better to watch for the arising of thoughts, and as soon as you notice you have been carried away (again!) to label it a thought and return to the breath.

    Watching could also become a burden and create anxiety. Am I watching at all times? Did I miss something? And also the very desire to be aware (as opposed to being unaware) creates resistance.

    But then when resistance breaks down and awareness settles on the breath there's that moment when you become aware of the awareness of breath, the breath thought, and aware of the awareness of awareness of breath, the awareness thought. What to do with those? :lol:

    Laugh, let'em go and return to the breath.

    lobster
  • Now you are talking kangeroo @Mingle

    The mind hops, hopes and monkeys. In meditation whilst the mind is chasing mothballs, we sit and watch. This is dualistic practice - to start. Perhaps we return to the hara, breath, mantra, visualisation, awareness of body etc. Gradually like taming a bull/ox/monkey, that which we do dualistically becomes what is happening ... or what we return to/settle with ... the present being ...

    Bravo. B)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Mingle said:> I'd say one of the biggest obstacles of learning Buddhism is actually un-learning Buddhism.

    Or not having learned enough, and not realising that there are different approaches to meditation. You might find that zazen / just sitting practice is more helpful.

    DhammaDragonlobsterele
  • FelinoFelino Portugal New

    Zazen...just sitting...that's my practice ..non practice... Meditation can't be practiced...it happens when it wants...

  • 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

    @Felino said:
    Zazen...just sitting...that's my practice ..non practice... Meditation can't be practiced...it happens when it wants...

    I think of Meditation as being more like a shopping trolley; you go partly where you want to, and partly where the damned thing takes you....

    Hozan
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    Screw meditating I'm just gonna carry on sitting and breathing.

    Why? Is there any other thing to do during meditation?

    I'd say one of the biggest obstacles of learning Buddhism is actually un-learning Buddhism.

    One should make sure to be learning it well first...

    Hozan
  • 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

    @Mingle said: I'd say one of the biggest obstacles of learning Buddhism is actually un-learning Buddhism.

    Yes indeed, @DhammaDragon; one can't 'un-learn' something once learnt. The closest you will get to this, @Mingle, is to learn whatever you can skilfully and with appropriate discernment, then let go of that which will not be useful to you, on the raft.

    Basically, eventually, I guess.... all of it....

    HozanDhammaDragon
  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    Just spent an hour on the cushion and I have realised how even when meditating I spend an awfully long time trying to control my thoughts.

    As the meditator it can be very easy to fall into the trap of asking yourself "am I meditating yet?" when all the thoughts we have or the feelings we feel we become attached to by trying to be un-attached and that I believe is resistance.

    Most of my sessions are like this and it is very rarely that I can experience complete non-attachment as I still carry with me many ideals of what meditation should be. From now on I think my approach is gonna be to just go with the flow. Screw meditating I'm just gonna carry on sitting and breathing. If I'm attached so what? If I'm not attached so what?

    I'd say one of the biggest obstacles of learning Buddhism is actually un-learning Buddhism.

    Don't try to control your thoughts, let them come and go. Be like water, just float along. Be flexible, mold yourself to each occurrence.

    Don't get down on yourself for having a thought, it's the natural order of the brain. Instead, examine the thought as it floats downstream, then let it go. Carrying around thoughts gets heavy. Work smarter, not harder, and let the stream do the carrying for you.

    Don't take stuff too seriously, it's just life - you won't get out alive.

    Hope that was helpful and not too bleak. ;)

    eleHozan
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