firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
This brief article is by the teacher at the Buddhist (Insight Meditation) center I occasionally go to, Gil Fronsdal. I think he is very very smart.

http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=922
When we do this meditation practice, we try to not judge anything as being bad or inappropriate. Rather we try to fold everything back into the attention...“Ah, I just got caught. I heard someone cough, and it reminded me that my friend was sick, and I wondered if I should visit my friend in the hospital, and I wonder how late Kaiser is open, and then I notice, 'I'm teaching a class…oh!'" So, it’s an example of getting pulled in....Rather than saying that I shouldn’t have had that train of thought, what we try to do is fold everything back into the attention. "Oh, look at that, that’s what a disruption is like. That’s what it’s like for the mind to get hooked, get carried away..."
In paying attention, there is a way of doing it where you are not caught, trapped, oppressed, influenced, or driven by what’s going on, inside or outside yourself. And that gives you a tremendous power to go about your life. If you have the ability not to be pushed around by your inner compulsions or the pressures from the outside. We learn this by learning how to use the attention in a new way.
I usually can't do this—I almost always end up falling asleep when I meditate, and I haven't yet figured out how to pay attention when I'm asleep :-) (although the state I get into right before sleep is pretty interesting). But when I manage it, it's amazing.

Date: 16 Jan 2013 07:53 pm (UTC)
quoththeravyn: El Greco style Don Quixote pic from xkcd.com (Default)
From: [personal profile] quoththeravyn
As it happens, i was at a workshop on meditation this past weekend. The leader suggested postures that will make you fall over if you fall asleep (standing, for example) if you have this problem. Sounded like a good idea to me.

Date: 18 Jan 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
mithriltabby: Dragon and Buddha boogying (Boogie)
From: [personal profile] mithriltabby
“You can let your thoughts come into your mind— just don’t invite them to stay for tea.” — Shunryu Suzuki

Date: 23 Jan 2013 12:07 am (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
Meditation is a tricky business, because, if I understand it correctly, it's an active, empowered thing - but it's also often started with what it's *not* (in this case, it's "not" conscious, speaking thought).

I got the impression that, when I fell asleep while meditating, it meant that I was not meditating, but was relaxing. And relaxing wasn't a *bad* thing, by any stretch, but it wasn't what I was shooting for.

I believe the goal of mindfulness meditation is to be awake, alert, and aware (for me, of my breath, because that's what I meditate on at this time), and alert enough to what's happening in one's head that one can catch those thought-wanderings before they go too far. The goal is to practice being in that space where you are aware of your self and your talking-brain, and deliberately not using the talking brain (which, if left unguarded, will start talking).

Date: 24 Jan 2013 03:00 am (UTC)
aquaeri: My nose is being washed by my cat (Default)
From: [personal profile] aquaeri
If I'm in geek answer mode and that's not appropriate, please tell me.

Why do you think you're falling asleep? Are you otherwise sleep deprived? Is your usual sleep not relaxing, and meditation is allowing your body to relax in a way it doesn't normally? Is it perhaps worth accepting that meditation makes you fall asleep, and that that sleep is beneficial to you?

It does seem to me that meditation is not a basic life function, and it can be irritatingly useful for pointing out which basic life function you're not managing quite right. That's often sleep, but for me, it can be a reminder I'm not getting enough exercise, too.

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