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Letting go of control

JeroenJeroen Do it with a smileNetherlands Veteran

I came across the following quote, which I wanted to share with you…

“Real meditation is not about mastering a technique; it’s about letting go of control. This is meditation. Anything else is actually a form of concentration. Meditation and concentration are two different things. Concentration is a discipline; concentration is a way in which we are actually directing or guiding or controlling our experience. Meditation is letting go of control, letting go of guiding our experience in any way whatsoever. The foundation of True Meditation is that we are letting go of control.”
― Adyashanti, True Meditation: Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness

If I look at this quote, my gut tells me it’s true. It resonates, and it’s true that most forms of classically taught meditation are concentration exercises, such as on the breath. But my head tells me my mind is an integrated whole, which is always going to be based on some vestige of control. That’s reason, thought.

Some forms of meditation are pretty freeform though… Shikantaza?

The other thing that occurs to me is “what would Osho say?” Osho’s meditations incorporated wild uncontrolled dance, shaking, and sudden stops. His dynamic meditation was very much uncontrolled.

Comments

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited July 29

    @Kerome said:
    I came across the following quote, which I wanted to share with you…

    “Real meditation is not about mastering a technique; it’s about letting go of control. This is meditation. Anything else is actually a form of concentration. Meditation and concentration are two different things. Concentration is a discipline; concentration is a way in which we are actually directing or guiding or controlling our experience. Meditation is letting go of control, letting go of guiding our experience in any way whatsoever. The foundation of True Meditation is that we are letting go of control.”
    ― Adyashanti, True Meditation: Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness

    If I look at this quote, my gut tells me it’s true. It resonates, and it’s true that most forms of classically taught meditation are concentration exercises, such as on the breath. But my head tells me my mind is an integrated whole, which is always going to be based on some vestige of control. That’s reason, thought.

    Some forms of meditation are pretty freeform though… Shikantaza?

    The other thing that occurs to me is “what would Osho say?” Osho’s meditations incorporated wild uncontrolled dance, shaking, and sudden stops. His dynamic meditation was very much uncontrolled.

    It seems like there are many types of "meditation", with various goals. Though I'm always a bit dubious when people start talking about "real" meditation, implying that all the other types of meditation are missing the point. Some meditation methods are designed to develop concentration, some to develop tranquillity, some to develop insight, some to develop spaciousness, and some to facilitate "letting go", eg "just sitting".
    But if there's no method at all, why would you call it meditation? If I'm just sitting there letting my mind wander for 20 minutes (whatever), how is that any different to my "normal" habitual experience?

    Fosdick
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Everyone knows that it's only real meditation when you stand on your left foot and pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time while chanting GATE GATE PARAGATE LOBSTERSAMGATE BODHI SVAHA 42 times.

    BunksJeroenShoshin1
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited July 30

    In all seriousness, though, mediation can take many different forms. And in Buddhism, one of the main goals of developing mindfulness, concentration, and analytical thought is the eventual letting go of what is not self and the mental causes of suffering through the removal of ignorance of things as they are and uprooting the seeds of craving, clinging, and greed, anger, and delusion. And any form of meditation that helps with any of that is real in my book.

    Bunksコチシカ
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    Is concentration a form of meditation though? Meditation is usually said to be refreshing, not full of effort, while most forms of concentration are tiring.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited July 30

    I'd say yes, especially in the sense of bhavana. There are many minds of meditations with various goals associated with them. Some are relaxing and refreshing (e.g., jhana states), others are used to cultivate disenchantment or motive one to practice with vigor (e.g., mindfulness of death). And one can certainly cultivate various types of concentration and meditative states, which can themselves become refreshing. But often effort is needed to maintain the level of mindfulness and concentration to achieve those states. The only way that isn't a form of meditation is if you have a novel definition of meditation, or else only judge it by its final outcome. Otherwise, a cold shower or sip of Sprite is meditation and something like the contemplation of death or mindfulness of breathing that ends in hunger or tiredness is not.

    lobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited July 30

    @how said:

    It seems like there are many types of "meditation", with various goals. Though I'm always a bit dubious when people start talking about "real" meditation, implying that all the other types of meditation are missing the point. Some meditation methods are designed to develop concentration, some to develop tranquillity, some to develop insight, some to develop spaciousness, and some to facilitate "letting go", eg "just sitting".
    But if there's no method at all, why would you call it meditation? If I'm just sitting there letting my mind wander for 20 minutes (whatever), how is that any different to my "normal" habitual experience?

    I think....
    The dream that Shakyamuni advised his followers to awake from can be described as the illusion that we've created from our habituated responses to all that we see, hear, smell, taste, feel or think.
    What differentiates "Just sitting" from ones "normal habitual mind wanderings" is that the former is a disengaging from deliberately maintaining our heart & mind story lines
    where as the latter is a deliberate indulgence in those story lines.
    The former one represents a form of renunciation whereas the latter one represents a path of acquisition.
    What both forms often share though is that the other path is one of madness.

    So the method here is standing back from the story lines? And is this the same as relinquishing control?
    As for "letting go", I see it as a result of practice, rather than a method of practice - it's not something you "do".

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Is concentration a form of meditation though? Meditation is usually said to be refreshing, not full of effort, while most forms of concentration are tiring.

    Meditation is said to be all sorts of things. I think the important thing is to understand why you're doing a particular practice. If in doubt, ask. 😋

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @DairyLama said:

    @Kerome said:
    Is concentration a form of meditation though? Meditation is usually said to be refreshing, not full of effort, while most forms of concentration are tiring.

    Meditation is said to be all sorts of things. I think the important thing is to understand why you're doing a particular practice. If in doubt, ask. 😋

    So you think one shouldn’t meditate without a teacher? Then how about those first meditators, those who invented the techniques. In the end they are not complicated procedures.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited July 31

    @Kerome said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @Kerome said:
    Is concentration a form of meditation though? Meditation is usually said to be refreshing, not full of effort, while most forms of concentration are tiring.

    Meditation is said to be all sorts of things. I think the important thing is to understand why you're doing a particular practice. If in doubt, ask. 😋

    So you think one shouldn’t meditate without a teacher? Then how about those first meditators, those who invented the techniques. In the end they are not complicated procedures.

    Everyone has to learn somewhere, and experience shows that having a teacher is useful if you want to learn a new skill. Or spending time with people who have mastered said skill.
    So for example, if I wanted to learn Zen meditation, I'd investigate whether there was a local Zen group I could attend, and if not, then I'd be looking on YouTube for Zen meditation instruction. Whatever.

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    “Meditation is letting go of control, letting go of guiding our experience in any way whatsoever.”

    I think this thread has kind of missed the point. What exactly is control? I think many people mistake tension for control, relaxation and letting go of guidance seems to make perfect sense to me.

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    “Often, if we are not careful, these ancient traditions and techniques—many of which I myself was taught, and which have great value—become an end instead of a means to an end. People end up with what is simply a discipline. They end up watching their breath for years and years and years, becoming perfect at watching their breath. But in the end spirituality is not about watching the breath. It’s about waking up from the dream of separateness to the truth of unity. That’s what it’s about, and this can get forgotten if we adhere too closely to technique.”
    ― Adyashanti, True Meditation: Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @Kerome said:
    “Meditation is letting go of control, letting go of guiding our experience in any way whatsoever.”

    I think this thread has kind of missed the point. What exactly is control? I think many people mistake tension for control, relaxation and letting go of guidance seems to make perfect sense to me.

    Letting go of control is a sort of surrender> @Kerome said:

    “Often, if we are not careful, these ancient traditions and techniques—many of which I myself was taught, and which have great value—become an end instead of a means to an end. People end up with what is simply a discipline. They end up watching their breath for years and years and years, becoming perfect at watching their breath. But in the end spirituality is not about watching the breath. It’s about waking up from the dream of separateness to the truth of unity. That’s what it’s about, and this can get forgotten if we adhere too closely to technique.”
    ― Adyashanti, True Meditation: Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness

    So it's important to distinguish between the method of practice, and the goal of practice. And to be clear about what the goal is.

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