Meditation no as good as it used to be

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mddrill
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Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by mddrill » Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:11 pm

I have been practicing zen meditation for about a year now. recently I have been very busy with school, and my mind is constantly racing about it. I used to be able to feel relaxed and concentrated and sometimes have cool experiences during zazen, but now I just sit there while my mind races about school and a thousand other things and I have a much harder time concentrating. I would like to be able to calm my mind again.

Any advice?
Thanks

Caodemarte
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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:41 pm

If you want cool experiences I would practice something else. If you want to get at the root of experience and practice zen meditation, I would suggest you go to a zen center.

Caodemarte
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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:10 pm

I hope the message above does not sound too snarky. There is nothing wrong with trying to calm your mind, and it is often neccessary. Although Zen meditation can and probably will have a calming effect, if that is all you want there are probably better tools. It is a very good tool for getting deeper.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 8:09 pm

I often do daydream crazy-mind sitting.
Thoughts and worries of others deserve your compassion, and so do your own.
If there is nothing that can be grasped in seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, then why would thoughts be any different? Kosho Uchiyama calls them secretions of the mind, like sweat on the body.
Nothing to take personally if you're sweaty in a hot room, or busy-minded in a hot life!

I've been trying to gain insight into whatever state of mind I have, which lately (as I wrote in another thread) has not been a fun place to be.
Please, keep trying and trust the clarity of your awareness to see and release whatever comes up.
If you have a teacher or trusted spiritual friend, input from them would also be invaluable.

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BrianG
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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by BrianG » Sat Sep 12, 2015 8:52 pm

mddrill wrote:I have been practicing zen meditation for about a year now. recently I have been very busy with school, and my mind is constantly racing about it. I used to be able to feel relaxed and concentrated and sometimes have cool experiences during zazen, but now I just sit there while my mind races about school and a thousand other things and I have a much harder time concentrating. I would like to be able to calm my mind again.

Any advice?
Thanks
Try to follow the five precepts, that will quiet things down either a bit or a lot, depending on who you are. Other than that, developing renunciation should help as well.
Telepaths - I like to kill them

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Dan74
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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by Dan74 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:27 am

Hi mddrill :hi:

I think every meditator is familiar with what you describe - mind racing, unable to settle, etc.

First it's important to pay attention to the rest of the day - what and how you did before you got on to the cushion? Remembering to take a nice slow breath every now and then can help steady the mind and prepare it for the cushion. Might help you feel better overall! Your routine is very important - cultivating a healthy, aware, giving and generous habits etc. All these things (and more) form a foundation of good meditation.

Right before the sit, there may be something you can do to get the body and the mind ready. Some people do yoga or Tai Chi stretches, some even have a little jog. Prostrations and chanting the sutras can do wonders too.

During the sit, if the mind races, let it race. Throughout it all if you manage to keep some awareness on the breath, broaden the awareness so that you are not as caught up in the thoughts racing, that can be helpful. Otherwise just sitting with a racing mind rather than reacting, jumping up, etc is already wonderful and makes a strong statement.

It might help to sit longer, you might find it begins to settle after a while. But regardless, sits are good, with or without special experiences.

_/|\_

dreambow
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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by dreambow » Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:48 am

"I often do daydream crazy-mind sitting" Don't we all? But can you keep calm during a family argument or during heavy traffic where other drivers cut you off and so on....so how can you keep calm and serene for that half an hour on the mat? Every minute of the day is a teaching. I find that though the mind is a wonderful tool, when it comes to stilling the mind and enlightenment its actually more of a tyrant! It will replay endlessly you as the hero or idiot depending on the unfolding inner story. A simple way is to say to yourself 'let go!' Let go of all the stray thoughts and go back to the silence.

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Jesse
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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by Jesse » Sun Sep 13, 2015 3:14 pm

Imo you just need to learn to relax. Relaxation and concentration are both nessecary, and are two seperate skills. These are just thing's I've found helpful.. but prepare to be there a while, get a cup of tea, turn off lights, sit down and focus on relaxing first.. do body relaxation techniques until your body is very relaxed, then start your zazen.

when you feel like giving up and doing something else, keep pushing through, re-do you relaxation techniques if you need to etc.
:alien:
:pig:

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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by DGA » Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:25 am

I think many of the replies in this thread are helpful, but miss the most important detail in mddrill's inquiry. Here it is again:
mddrill wrote:I have been practicing zen meditation for about a year now. recently I have been very busy with school, and my mind is constantly racing about it. I used to be able to feel relaxed and concentrated and sometimes have cool experiences during zazen, but now I just sit there while my mind races about school and a thousand other things and I have a much harder time concentrating. I would like to be able to calm my mind again.
If you've been practicing Zen, that means you have a teacher. So the only real course of action would be to talk to your teacher about it, and not strangers on the internet.

Good luck with school!

tingdzin
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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by tingdzin » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:22 am

DGA wrote: If you've been practicing Zen, that means you have a teacher. So the only real course of action would be to talk to your teacher about it, and not strangers on the internet.
Nah, in my callow youth I practiced zazen according to books for years before I was lucky enough to meet a real teacher. At some point, it will be necessary, but practicing on your own will give you some kind of head start and momentum. "Cool experiences" are not to be sought after, though. Just keep at the practice, and read good Zen books -- i.e. nothing too technical, but Zen literature that has been around at least a hundred years and proved its worth.

DGA is right about being careful of Internet advice, but SOME of those who have replied to you thus far seem to be more or less on target (IMO). In any case, you should spend more time (much more time) on the zafu than in front of a computer.

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Re: Meditation no as good as it used to be

Post by DGA » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:05 pm

I don't disagree with the idea that it can be helpful sometimes to get meditation advice from strangers on the internet. It can also be counterproductive, but I don't mean to foreclose the possibility that it can also be helpful.

But my post wasn't about meditation, it was about Zen *practice*, of which meditation is a part. If you notice a change in your meditation, and you're a Zen student, then you're best advised to check with your teacher.

Relevant recent discussions here on this topic:

http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 40#p298602

http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 8&start=20

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