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5 hindrances and stillness meditation

Found myself a mediation teacher and have been advised to move from (samatha) mindfulness meditation to try stillness mediation - to just "be" and not take action as things arise, to just, when things arise, to simply return to myself, my own whole presence on the cushion. I'd been doing the Metta and had been experiencing a lot of emotion and connection with my heart and it has been a little overwhelming. In the stillness mediation the hindrances are coming on strong - especially restlessness and anger - without having an object to focus on, like my breath, this is pretty challenging. The teacher told me I need to focus on my wholeness, not just an aspect, like the breath (I hope I am explaining this correctly), but it as also not supposed to be an "action." (Which, i know is the whole point of acting (or non-acting) from our Buddha natures.)
Do any of you have some advice?
And can anyone point me to where in the dharma I could read on this? (This non-action when things arise and restlessness -I am sure there are hundreds of references, but does the Buddha specifically address "stillnesss meditation")
I understand this is the most basic form of meditation, but after so many years relying on my breath as a focus, am not sure how to undo my habit and it is causing the restlessness. I've never really been part of a sangha and haven't had teachers explain this stiff before and had relied on books - and never knew where to find all the teachings that apply to what I was trying to learn. So, I just stuck to the basics, but now am ready to dig deeper and challenge myself more.
Maybe I am making this more complicated than it needs to be?
Thanks in advance - you guys have a lot of great varied experience and knowledge.

Comments

  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    edited December 2012
    I think where the teacher may be getting at is to observe EVERYTHING that arises... thats more like vipassana. when your restlessness and anger arise.. you attempt to observe that mindfully and objectively.. of course you may not be able to do that so then inner judgement( damn mind! stupid! why can't I observe right!)comes in.. so you observe the judgement.

    I came up with a phrase that came to me during one such period of observation. " if it exists.. you can observe it".

    you are observing all mental and physical phenomenon as they occur.. as they arise, peak, and fall away. This is usually combined with mindfulness of breath where as the breath is what you fall back on when the phenomenon goes away, until the next phenomenon occurs.

    read the Maha Satipatthanna Sutta.. it may shed some light on the situation - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.22.0.than.html
    DaivaFullCircle
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited December 2012
    This is a very common complaint that can take time to transition through. It is also one of the main reasons to leave the focus on the mindfulness of breathing to just a few introductory cycles of a formal meditation period and only return to it as needed.
    With perseverance you will get through it but for most, this transition is a exercise in the acceptance of just feeling disquieted.

    It's a good time to have a teacher.
    Daiva
  • I think you should be addressing your questions to the teacher.
    BhikkhuJayasara
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited December 2012
    Citta said:

    I think you should be addressing your questions to the teacher.

    I agree with @Citta. When under the guidance of a teacher, it's better to go to them for advice and questions about these sorts of matters, primarily because the advice you get from others may confuse the issue and conflict with what your teacher is trying to do/teach you.
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    edited December 2012
    Citta said:

    I think you should be addressing your questions to the teacher.

    Jason said:

    Citta said:

    I think you should be addressing your questions to the teacher.

    I agree with @Citta. When under the guidance of a teacher, it's better to go to them for advice and questions about these sorts of matters, primarily because the advice you get from others may confuse the issue and conflict with what your teacher is trying to do/teach you.
    These are very good points that I failed to mention and I agree 100%. Sometimes we don't want to feel stupid in front of our teacher or we may feel that we will offend them if we have to ask questions about what they taught, etc.. as someone who is a very slow learner( with a thick skull :P ) I know this first hand. It is always better to discuss these things with your teacher and ask questions until you understand.
  • Yea, I guess my problem is when I walk away from the teacher and start with the practice, all the questions start to arise. My impatience (another defect of my character) wants answers now instead of waiting until I meet with my teacher again to ask the questions.
    I guess this is why my teacher has assigned me to sit in stillness with my restlessness.
    Hmmm, this teacher may be more clever than than I thought....
    Jasonlobster
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    Daiva said:

    Yea, I guess my problem is when I walk away from the teacher and start with the practice, all the questions start to arise. My impatience (another defect of my character) wants answers now instead of waiting until I meet with my teacher again to ask the questions.
    I guess this is why my teacher has assigned me to sit in stillness with my restlessness.
    Hmmm, this teacher may be more clever than than I thought....

    you have no defects other then being a human stuck in samsara :P

    how about a meditation journal? write the questions down so you can remember for your next visit.
    Jason
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited December 2012
    Teachers are great at suggesting actions that shake up the ego foundations that we would normally be averse to implementing. Your previous attention on breathing was a concentration exercise that provided some single minded focus. It provided some valuable mental development and some calming from the chaos of the mind. It is normal to associate those feelings with meditation.

    The breaking of this habit in theme less meditation is done like any other repeating impulse that arises. Just observe it without grabbing onto it or pushing it away. Like everything else over time, you allow it it's own birth, life and eventual death by remaining present to it while not interacting with it.
    Your teacher is now leading you from this concentration development into theme less meditation.This is where he's saying that it's time to let go of the walking aid and just walk. It won't be easy for a while and will bring up much that the concentration exercise was not showing you but welcome to spiritual adulthood.

    The best way to thank your teacher, until you next meet him, will be through your diligence with the actual practise that he's suggested.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited December 2012
    ^ this sounds like the formless meditation that my teacher gave to me. She actually never gave breath meditation though we use breath lightly as a support. I like the method though it took a long time before I noticed the advantages over what I had been doing on my own. I've got the flu, but I can still do walking meditation (today not yesterday).
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