Long meditation session

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Mirror
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Long meditation session

Post by Mirror » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:58 pm

Hello, I'm new to meditation (only practically, theoretically I know a lot of informations about it).

I realised that many things what I was doing are useless and waste of time. So I decided to meditate as long as I could. Coz I have a lot of free time I would like to spend that time in meditation. I'm using samatha meditation (focusing on my breath).

Could long meditation sessions be dangerous for my mental health if I do it properly? Could it be harmful?

Thank you very much!

Please don't care about my meditation posture. I know how to sit properly and I change the poses during my meditation to minimize the health impact.

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:07 pm

In this sense, problem i know about shamata is that if you focus on this technique only, then you will find very difficult to live normal life, even to move.

Buddha said one should do as one tune musical instruments. Not too much, not too little.

That's what i can say :)
what are you doing

climb-up
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by climb-up » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:36 am

((caveat, I am not a medical or mental health professional))

Do you ask because you have specific issues you are concerned about, or just generally?

I don't think many people have any problem with meditations, and the biggest problem would most likely be that you are sitting for a long time with your mind wandering (many short sessions is generally recommended for beginners).

BUT, meditation does eventually (if you go far enough) turn your outer and inner world inside out, and you have predispositions to certain types of mental illness it could absolutely cause a problem.
There are several mental health, as well as Tradition Tibetan Medical doctors, who have given examples of situations wherein shamata is contraindicated.

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kirtu
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by kirtu » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:06 am

Mirror wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:58 pm
Hello, I'm new to meditation (only practically, theoretically I know a lot of informations about it).

I realised that many things what I was doing are useless and waste of time. So I decided to meditate as long as I could. Coz I have a lot of free time I would like to spend that time in meditation. I'm using samatha meditation (focusing on my breath).
If you have the time it would be better to do many short or shorter meditation sessions esp. if you are new to meditation.
Could long meditation sessions be dangerous for my mental health if I do it properly? Could it be harmful?
If you have a mental health issue, meditation could reinforce issues related to that.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Knotty Veneer
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by Knotty Veneer » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:33 pm

Mirror wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:58 pm

Could long meditation sessions be dangerous for my mental health if I do it properly? Could it be harmful?
No, I don't think it would be harmful to your mental health - providing you are in good mental health to begin with.

The real problem with long meditation sessions when you are starting out is that you will find them too hard and lose interest in meditation.

Start with 10-15 mins and when you can do that comfortably extend to 20 mins, and when that's easy for you try 30 mins and so on.

And, as with all things, quality is more important than quantity. 5 mins of mindful presence is more useful than an hour of daydreaming.

Also meditation is not a competitive sport. Just because someone can sit still for 2 hours doesn't necessarily mean they are doing quality meditation.
“If you are going to put people on pedestals, at least wear a big hat” - Jake Thackray.

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Anders
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by Anders » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:35 pm

Mirror wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:58 pm
Hello, I'm new to meditation (only practically, theoretically I know a lot of informations about it).

I realised that many things what I was doing are useless and waste of time. So I decided to meditate as long as I could. Coz I have a lot of free time I would like to spend that time in meditation. I'm using samatha meditation (focusing on my breath).

Could long meditation sessions be dangerous for my mental health if I do it properly? Could it be harmful?

Thank you very much!

Please don't care about my meditation posture. I know how to sit properly and I change the poses during my meditation to minimize the health impact.
If you are sitting a lot then it will would not dismiss posture as "I know how to sit properly". It's a bit like saying "I know how to paint" after a few months of painting. Proper posture often takes years to master. And for long periods of sitting, mastering the body in meditation is one of the best investments you can make. Unless you can sit in perfect full lotus with all muscles so relaxed that the body is simply resting upright on its one skeletal frame for 90+ minutes, I'd suggest body posture as an area of ongoing concern and interest.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

yagmort
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by yagmort » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:49 am

it can be and lung problems first come to mind.

when you are a beginner you basically can't do long meditation sessions yet as mind become distracted by thoughts very easily at this point. that's why tibetan masters suggest to do it in brief, but numerous sessions first until you get stability. before that you have to be persistent but kind for yourself at the same time, it is necessary to avoid overstrain. what Anders, Knotty and others says are very valid points. proper posture is also of utmost importance. westerners use chairs since childhood, wear elevated heel shoes so we develops lots of problems with spine and our hip joints are very stiff.good spine is J shaped while western spine is S shaped. our hip joints need lots of exercise before they can be open so a westerner can sit even for half an hour in semi-lotus without strain and with a straight spine. i would suggest to add hip joints exercise to your daily routine.

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Vasana
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by Vasana » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:55 am

Image

Get this book and learn from a teacher or online course if you can.

Quality is better than quantity. Shorter but higher quality sessions can be more useful than a longer session mired in the 5 faults but they can also be good practice too depending on how long it takes for your mind to settle. Be flexible.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_fa ... _antidotes
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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liuzg150181
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by liuzg150181 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:21 am

Mirror wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:58 pm
Hello, I'm new to meditation (only practically, theoretically I know a lot of informations about it).

I realised that many things what I was doing are useless and waste of time. So I decided to meditate as long as I could. Coz I have a lot of free time I would like to spend that time in meditation. I'm using samatha meditation (focusing on my breath).

Could long meditation sessions be dangerous for my mental health if I do it properly? Could it be harmful?

Thank you very much!

Please don't care about my meditation posture. I know how to sit properly and I change the poses during my meditation to minimize the health impact.
Though it can be safely assumed you are seeking advice from TB perspective, i shall input from what little knowledge i have from Theravada pov, since meditation on breath(anapanasati) is main practice of said tradition.

Breath meditation can be practiced as shamata or vipassana, depending on focus. There are differing views even within Theravada traditions, but based on the sutta both may be done in conjunction, though some schools require to reach jhana before proceeding to vipassana. There is an approach in which you meditate on vipassana and attain samadhi later.

Contrary to TB, Theravada prefers to do longer sitting sessions. usually at least 30mins(so even recommend an hr!) for beginners! So best way to is try these two approaches and see which works.

One common mistake of doing shamata is trying to 'shut things down' while doing breath meditation. Be it bodily sensation, feelings, thoughts, perceptions etc, i should just notice it and return focus to breath, instead of shutting it down(aversion) or get carried away(attachment).

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liuzg150181
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by liuzg150181 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:43 am

Addendum:In many Theravada approach, one not only does breathing meditation in formal sittings, but even daily activities(sitting, standing, walking, reclining) , even when going to toilet(apparently buddha recommended that himself in pali sutta)!
:toilet:
The other popular form of meditation is walking meditation, which may be done using breath meditation or putting intent on the soles of the feet for the sensations. You may find the instruction from internet(youtube or doc files) easily.

Personally i find that alternating btw walking and sitting meditation, as popularly done in many Theravada meditation traditions(oddly not in Goenka), is better than sitting meditation alone, since walking meditation allows one to move ard in order to loosen the body and enhance blood circulation, which in turn invigorates the body and mind(viriya).

Mirror
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by Mirror » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:23 pm

Thank you very much guys for all responses!

I'm not mentally ill, I don't have any mental issues.

I'll try shorter and more frequent sessions as you recommended. Thank you a lot!!

Have a nice day :)

yagmort
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Re: Long meditation session

Post by yagmort » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:00 am

liuzg150181 wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:43 am
...Theravada meditation traditions(oddly not in Goenka)...
[offtopic]they are not buddhists, even though they teach buddhist meditation.[offtopic]

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