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Meditation Questions

edited May 2009 in Meditation
Hello all

Well i have a few question regarding meditation.

How do you focus your mind to meditate instead of sitting for a minute and then your mind becomes restless wanting you to stop meditating.

Also how do you deal with pains in the neck, knees and back in meditation?


Thank you

Comments

  • jinzangjinzang Veteran
    edited May 2009
    You don't say what kind of meditation you're doing. I'll assume that it's following or counting the breath. In this practice, when you become aware that your mind has wandered, you consciously return to following the breath. If the thought that you want to stop meditating comes up, you notice that too. It's just another thought and there's no need to act on it. Restlessness is a mental habit. It's like a piece of paper that been kept in a tube. When you take it out it still wants to curl up. But gradually it loses that curl and will stay flat. It helps to keep your meditation sessions short at first, so that they end on a positive note and not with you feeling like you've survived an ordeal. If you're practicing with a group, you'll just have to cope until it's over. Trust me, everyone's felt like you do.

    If you are feeling pain, your posture is wrong. Have someone check it if you can, I can't say for sure without seeing it. Check that your back is straight without being rigid and that you don't lean forwards, backwards, or to either side. Often sitting on a higher cushion helps, or you can try using two.
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator
    edited May 2009
    Samadhi wrote: »
    How do you focus your mind to meditate instead of sitting for a minute and then your mind becomes restless wanting you to stop meditating.
    That's what meditation is :) Bringing the restlessness back under control, one breath at a time. Re-focus on your breathing and keep going.
    Samadhi wrote: »
    Also how do you deal with pains in the neck, knees and back in meditation?
    Stretching can help a lot. I always do a couple of stretches before meditating. I know sometimes my back starts to hurt after a while so I shift back against the wall if I want to meditate longer.
  • edited May 2009
    Technically, every mindful breath is a meditation. If you can take two or three breaths being mindful, you are on your way! If your mind wanders a hundred times, gently bring it back a hundred times. Keep a light, kind attitude about it. As Lincoln said, above, restlessness is just part of it. So is aversion, desire, sleepiness, and boredom--it all arises during meditation. Training the mind takes time.
    The story of capturing a wild elephant and tying it to a stake on a short rope helps me with patience in this. At first, the elephant (like the mind during meditation) becomes wild and restless. It wants to go off in every direction. The more you keep bringing it back, coming back to the breath, it'll settle down, become calm and stay! The mind isn't used to being "tamed", it likes to roam free. This takes work.
    I hope this helps!
  • Floating_AbuFloating_Abu Veteran
    edited May 2009
    Samadhi wrote: »
    How do you focus your mind to meditate instead of sitting for a minute and then your mind becomes restless wanting you to stop meditating.

    Also how do you deal with pains in the neck, knees and back in meditation?


    Thank you

    Welcome Samadhi.

    If there is restlessness there is restlessness, by sitting there for the time of the session you are learning to not just follow your moods and mind so much.

    With meditation it is necessary to keep it up.

    As to pains, suggest you go to a local meditation centre and ask there as direct advice is probably more useful.

    Best wishes.
  • edited May 2009
    Thank you for the responses , i have no idea of any meditation centre's were i live but will try to find one.

    Thanks
  • edited May 2009
    I'm not sure what kind of meditation you are doing; I practice insight meditation (vipassana). The idea here is not to fight against the distracted mind, but rather just sit and watch what comes into your mind--without judgment. If you are focused on your breath, and you think "I have to remember to call my mom", for example, just note that as "thinking" and return to your breath.
    Your mind may take you into a whole story about calling your mom, memories of how she reacts if you don't call, or what you need to tell her...you might spend 5 minutes drifting mindlessly away into that storyline....at some point, you will snap out of it and realize you have strayed from your meditation. THAT IS GOOD! The realization of that is being mindful! Now come back to the breath again.
    The mind will wander...a lot...but note what is happening, no judgment, and let thoughts pass thru like clouds thru a big blue sky...
    Don't give up! :-)
  • edited May 2009
    You asked about meditating thru pain, I have a few suggestions, and perhaps the other members will add theirs...
    My instructor advises using the pain (back, neck, leg, foot, etc) as the Object of meditation. While breathing, focus on the pain in your neck--I often have that from sitting. What are the pain sensations? Sharp? Dull? Is it constantly painful or does the pain come and go? Your mind state may be: "this is too painful, I need to stop meditating..." but the pain may not be present the whole time. Notice what the pain does to your breath, to the tension in your body, to the arising of restlessness. ALL of these sensations are a way of becoming MINDFUL, both about your mind and your physical body. You don't need to feel as though you have failed when this pain arises! This is the work. Meditation is not just about doing it when feelings are pleasant, nor is the object to create pleasant feelings. THe object is to just notice what is going on.
    Does that help? I hope so...it is difficult, but worth practicing!:)
  • Floating_AbuFloating_Abu Veteran
    edited May 2009
    Samadhi wrote: »
    Thank you for the responses , i have no idea of any meditation centre's were i live but will try to find one.

    Thanks

    Dear Friend

    The following links may help:

    Google -
    Dharmaweb Directory
    BuddhaNet Directory
    Zen Centers of the World

    This will bring up a list. The Thai Forest Tradition is in the UK and if you are close to any of their monasteries (e.g. Amaravati) they hold weekly meditation classes, I believe.

    Best wishes,

    Abu
  • edited May 2009
    Thank you im moving to canada in a few months so i'll try to find one over there
  • edited May 2009
    Thank you im moving to canada in a few months so i'll try to find one over there
    ,


    Hi Samadhi,

    You might find this link helpful in the meantime.

    http://www.buddhanet.net/insight.htm


    Kind wishes,

    Dazzle
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited May 2009
    Hi, Samadhi.

    I live in Canada and there are a lot of centres, monasteries, and Buddhist groups in all major cities so you probably won't have trouble finding somewhere to go for support and advice. You can PM me if you'd like to know of some in your area.

    I just wanted to add that very often physical pain only really plagues you when you're first starting out. Once you've had more practice and get better at attaining full concentration on the breath you'll notice your body less and less, including any pain that might be happening.

    In the meantime just relax into it. If it isn't dangerous pain, try to endure it with patience. You can do what Cindy suggested and use the physical sensation of the pain as your object of concentration. Some people find that very helpful. Or you can keep concentrating on the breath and when the pain distracts you, use it as you would any thought that distracts you; gently allow it to go on its way and bring your full attention back to the breath.

    Either way you're getting the training in. Beginners meditation, watching the breath, is about developing the ability to concentrate. So every single time you find yourself having to refocus and bring your attention back to your breath it's like another lift of the weight in weight training. Each refocusing makes your ability to concentrate stronger.

    As Jinzang said, it could help to keep your sessions short at first and work your way up to longer and longer sessions. When I was struggling with drowsiness while meditating I found doing that to be very helpful. I cut back to 15 minute sessions and worked my way back up to one hour sessions.

    I think it's important to mention here that it is best if you meditate every day or as regularly as you possibly can. When you establish a regular sitting schedule you're going to benefit much more than if you only sit once in a while or irregularly.

    Good luck and keep going. Slow and steady wins the race! Patient endurance is your best friend.
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