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Is meditating on a subject skillful or not, in your opinion?

Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

By this I mean something is bothering you, perhaps a craving. Is it a good idea to meditate on that craving, perhaps letting yourself observe that it is there and reminding yourself that it will cease? And letting the thoughts come and go on that.

Or would it be more skillful to sit and focus on the breath until you're deep in a meditation anyway, so the craving just becomes one of many thoughts that passes away?

From writing this, it sounds like both approaches are good. But first impressions are sometimes deceiving. ;)

Comments

  • 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

    Also, some conundrums and dilemmas are more complex than others... And ultimately, the plan of action may not be either our responsibility, or ultimately, in our hands.
    I think one important aspect is to consider your own place in the matter....

    Ren_in_blackhowadamcrossley
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 29

    I would make a plan and stick to it and then assess periodically. I might set aside some time to contemplate but keep some meditation (walking or sitting) just for returning to the breath from thought.

    I know some meditators more advanced than me use thought to tweak their awareness, but it's not to figure out a better theory of how things in the universe/mind work. At least not necessarily. You could be doing a meditation on the breath but every once in awhile ask a question to sharpen the awareness and then return to the breath without 'figuring out a theory'. So it's kind of like you are sitting with the breath like a pool of water and every once in awhile you're tossing little stones in that pool to affect the awareness and make it ripple a little.

    But make a plan and stick to it and assess. Also assess if you think you need to find someone to speak with who can advice.

    Ren_in_blackhowadamcrossleyperson
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Personally speaking, I find that both approaches are necessary and that neither one by itself is likely to produce the best result.

    In meditating on the problem at hand, it is not just a matter of observing it, but of analyzing it logically and objectively. In this way, you gain a little distance from it and it becomes less compelling.

    Afterwards, a bit of shikantaza allows the objective analysis to be digested and incorporated into the attitude and default response to the difficulty, whatever it might be.

    Ren_in_blackhowlobsterperson
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited June 29

    This can be a pretty broad subject when you're asking whether mindfulness is preferable over concentration on a question lacking pertinent details..like.. how is it bothering you?/ which craving? what form does your meditation take?
    but
    if a certain craving is presently challenging you, and the basis of your meditation practice form is specifically for awareness (& not for craving cudgeling) then there doesn't need to be any directed focus on that craving because it's already quite adequately garnering your attention. A craving exists largely because of how we habitually alter all our incoming data through our sense gates to support it's existence.
    The problem with deliberately concentrating in meditation on a specific craving
    without first addressing how we are presently corrupting our phenomena inputs to enable that craving, is that this process can be likened to someone stirring a muddy pool in an attempt to make its water clearer.
    There are many ways which we can give a craving a make over in order to make it more palatable to our sensibilities but to actually achieve a more complete cessation from the suffering it causes requires more fundamental expenses from the identities that most of us cherish.

    I think it's ok to ask a specific question before formally meditating but then trust that a complete surrender to the meditation process allows for a clearer manifestation of a possible answer than one that an identity complicit mentality could ever provide.

    And
    a deliberate activation of ones mind in examining a question within a meditative framework can be skillful as an adjunct to a formal meditation practice but this better describes a contemplation than a meditation.

    Ren_in_blacklobsterShoshinperson
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited June 29

    Some good advice here, quite a few things worth trying. Personally I would do some simple sitting inquiry if a craving was bothering me that much, i would try to find out what was at the root of it. My experience is these things only go away permanently if you can expose the roots, and the best way I’ve found to do that is serious introspection. With meditation you often have a loose focus, and you don’t have such directed thoughts. So I wouldn’t meditate on it as such.

    Ren_in_black
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    I think MN 20 is relevant here, which lists five methods for dealing with unskillful thoughts in the course of meditation, as well as SN 47.10, which briefly details how directing the mind towards an inspiring object can act as an antidote to certain unskillful mental states.

    Ren_in_black
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    @how said:
    stirring a muddy pool in an attempt to make its water clearer.

    Nice analogy. B)

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:
    By this I mean something is bothering you, perhaps a craving. Is it a good idea to meditate on that craving, perhaps letting yourself observe that it is there and reminding yourself that it will cease? And letting the thoughts come and go on that.

    Or would it be more skillful to sit and focus on the breath until you're deep in a meditation anyway, so the craving just becomes one of many thoughts that passes away?

    From writing this, it sounds like both approaches are good. But first impressions are sometimes deceiving. ;)

    In the long run it would be more skillful to....

    Know thy [non] "Self"... "Anatta"

    " The Knower of the Self alone overcomes sorrow"

    ~The Upanishads~

    howlobsterRen_in_black
  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    It depends upon the subject the nature of your meditation.
    I will leave it at that.
    Other will gladly be more verbose.

    Peace to all

    lobsterRen_in_black
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Is meditating on a subject skillful or not, in your opinion?

    Option 3?

    ShoshinRen_in_blackWalker
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 30

    How do we see reality as it is while avoiding seeing it as it isn't?

    ShoshinRen_in_black
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    How do we see reality as it is while avoiding seeing it as it isn't?

    Perhaps that's just called "getting out of its way".

    ShoshinRen_in_black
  • 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

    @how said:

    @Jeffrey said:
    How do we see reality as it is while avoiding seeing it as it isn't?

    Perhaps that's just called "getting out of its way".

    I just had an image of @how sat in peaceful lotus-position meditation, just subtly kinking to one side slightly, as he avoids being hit by 'it'. Never missing a beat, nothing hawking his flow... just a "stillness, lean, back to centre, stillness."

    Nicely done, champ....

    Ren_in_blackVastmind
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    Wow, this has given me a lot to contemplate. Perhaps while I am sitting or walking. :)

    Thank you everyone!

    howlobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    A blog, spiritual diary, meditation journal works well

    My latest entry is above or empty ...

    Ren_in_black
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