As for emotional pain, it is something that needs to examined closely. Ask questions like, where did this come from? Is it real? What is my rational reason for being upset? Are these reasons valid? Is my ego involved? You can learn a lot in a hurry by honestly evaluating these. For instance, you may find that the upset state is dependent on the expectations you create.
Mentally, examine the unmet expectations that are fuelling the upset.
Another way would be to practice elsewhere in shorter sessions. Endurance will come in time, maybe quite soon.
I was at the Zendo today and near the end I was almost in tears cos I found it so uncomfortable emotionally and physically.
When the meditation gets too difficult mentally, just take a break and relax. If it's too difficult physically, find an easier posture to take, or sit for shorter periods.
Am I taking the wrong spiritual path here?
Your decision, not mine. But I think your problems are workable.
Will I eventually get accustomed to this Zazen thing?
On one level, yes. If you keep at it the problems will lessen. But on another level, no. Meditation has an unsatisfying quality. It's like a bead of mercury that skitters away when you touch it. If you get accustomed to it, it's dead and lost its value.
Greg_the_poet wrote: it's just the practice of Zazen itself I find so damn hard. I was at the Zendo today and near the end I was almost in tears cos I found it so uncomfortable emotionally and physically.
How long have you been practising? How long are you usually sitting?
The emotions: talk with the Zen teacher about this. When strong emotions arise AND they disturb your practice then you have to deal with them. It's best if you just sit with the emotions if you can but if they are causing a problem then this must be addressed.
Will I eventually get accustomed to this Zazen thing?
You will gradually deepen your sitting. You may not become physically accustomed to the practice though. It depends. On the physical level you can improve your ability to sit. The meditation itself can vary depending on many factors but you can deepen your concentration over time. Once you have good concentration then you can apply zazen as a real spiritual tool.
"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
Read this below.
I stole it from another post on another topic...I apolgise to the original poster, but it may seem relevant to your problem.
Don't Meditate! Don't meditate! Don't meditate with the mind!
The mind's meditation amounts to deluded thoughts.
Thoughts bind you to cyclic existence.
With release from the mind, there is no meditation.
In space, emptiness without awareness,
tame the root of the mind endowed with awareness.
Tame it's root and relax.
Not sure if that is your problem...but maybe your true path is other than the normal path.
There are thousand's of paths to the top of the mountain. Some go one way, others take another.
Some take a roundabout path, some climb directly. Only you know the path that is right for you.
Do not become bound to meaningless forms and attachments.
Like a young child, if it is now time to walk, stand up on your own two legs and walk.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
Greg_the_poet wrote:Zen is the only Buddhist tradition that makes any sense to me, and soto Zen at that. If it came down to just meditation techniques then I'd be part of the Theravada, as the Samadha and Vipassana meditations are eyes closed and more relaxing and I often feel good after doing them. However all the emphasis on re-birth, hell realms, hungry ghosts etc always put me off and it just seemed like a scare tactic, so I now find myself in the Mayayanha, though Tibetan Buddhism once again is far too intense. Zen it must be, I love reading books about zen, I love listening to podcasts, it's just the practice of Zazen itself I find so damn hard. I was at the Zendo today and near the end I was almost in tears cos I found it so uncomfortable emotionally and physically. Am I taking the wrong spiritual path here? Will I eventually get accustomed to this Zazen thing?
You're a beginner. Put aside for the moment your misgivings about the teachings on karma and rebirth in various realms until you get a chance to study them carefully with a capable teacher; you're not in a position to judge them one way or the other, so why worry about something you don't really understand?
I say this because these teachings are also front-and-center in Soto Zen, like all Buddhist traditions. You'll have to engage sooner or later if this is a path you commit to.
Now, Zazen is hard. It's an active practice. You can't sit back and just take it in passively; you can't be a consumer of it. It's work. You have to work at it. You can't expect it to just come to you like a TV show or a podcast.
Zazen is also challenging because you cannot avoid facing your own reality: your habits of mind, your anxieties, your laziness, whatever your particular case might be at any moment. You cannot delude yourself with it. Which is to say, you have to be willing to learn things that may be difficult to accept about yourself.
to start with just a few minutes every day, then as your meditation develops, longer stretches of time will become easier. i think that meditation is not so important, its what it means that matters... less so the states of samadhis. what does this meditation show you. what is it. analyse the meditation to see what it is, then you will no longer need it.
the original face is like looking in a mirror in the dark of night... zazen meditation is no different it shows you your original face.
best wishes, Tom.
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