AstralProjectee

What's the first obstacle for a beginner in meditation?

Recommended Posts

The topic says it all. Besides the obvious like distractions and tensions stuff like that.

 

My method...

 

Physical Relaxation;

Don't worry about good posture at first... start at the top of your head and physically relax every part of your body, tell it to relax and it will.

 

Mental Relaxation;

Go to a beach for a bit and enjoy the sounds/smells and sunlight upon you.

 

Count yourself backwards from 10 to 1 and clear your mind. Exist as a passive observer.

 

Breathe easily/deeply through your nose with your tongue pressed to the roof of your mouth. Listen to the sound of your breath as if it were heavens own music... appreciate it and receive its love.

 

Stuff that pops into your mind beyond this point is typically emotional garbage you have to clean out. Use this as a tool to identify attachements, desire and issues from the past. When you've relinquished these things you will be able to exist in peace and experience meditation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the first obstacle is desire. Second is fear. And third is grasping after sensations and experiences.

 

Thru repetitive sessions of simply sitting, there will come a gradual realization that the natural state of being which remains after discursive thoughts subside is the state of rest, or of abiding in calm, which is basically a 'state of meditative contemplation' ~ composed, watching, observing, remaining pervasively aware, mindful of the arising and cessation of emotions and thoughts without being perturbed, being fully attentive to what is at hand, remaining open and flexible, awake and blissfully okay when things are a bit rough inside and out thru realizing impermanence and change, allowing for occasional indulgences without self-loathing commentaries after, yet in full knowledge of how much is too much ~ these are some of the fruits of a person who has peeled away the layers of conditioned and habitual tendencies.

 

Resting in complete equipoise, the causes that give rise to the 3 obstacles will not arise.

 

When causes are absent, one does not need to 'do' anything to bring about results.

 

Without resultant effects, the causes for discriminative and comparative thoughts do not arise, hence the causes for anxiety are prevented. When causes for anxiety are prevented, there will be no resultant tension from wanting to achieve some higher states, or of becoming envious of others, or of searching for meaning, or of being frightful of failure. Then there will be no thoughts of measuring what one wants to achieve, for there is a complete realization that there is no state to achieve, only to uncover, and thereafter practice means getting used to the new discovery of how easeful the being can be when all agitative emotions are allowed to come and go without being habitually stoked by mental analysis and neurotic tendencies.

 

Simply sitting still, aimlessly, carefree and concept-free... then one is no different from the highest buddhas! The only difference is the length of time one can remain without losing the natural abiding... buddhas are simply those whose minds no longer fluctuate between clarity and distraction, awakeness and stupor.

 

Just practice sitting, without being overly concerned with this, that and the other, like posture, breath, watching thoughts etc. The longer you can sit aimlessly and be okay with this, the faster a natural subsiding of discursiveness will occur. Maybe if one begins right now, this very moment, the calm may last for two minutes, tomorrow, maybe 20 minutes, in a month of daily practice, maybe an hour, and so forth.

 

The only real obstacle is our own self thinking about the obstacles. Good to bear in mind the Nike slogan: Just do it. Then get used to it.

 

In Tibet, there is no word for meditation. The closest word they have to it is 'Gom'. Gom means 'getting used to...' .

 

 

I think i may have said too much... :D

Edited by CowTao
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doing it. The rest is just details.

 

Indeed, people will tell you a thousand different ways to meditate...but it all comes down to just BEING.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the only obstacle is clearing the mind.

 

If you do that then you = win meditation.

 

Meditation is achieving the foundation which everything arises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience it was dedicating the time to doing it. That is easy enough to overcome. The second challenge for me was allowing myself to simply be and paying attention to that. I still struggle with feeling like I have to "do" something, rather than allowing my body and mind to relax and become settled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The closest word they have to it is 'Gom'. Gom means 'getting used to...' ."

 

Which is pretty important, I think :-)

 

Seems like 'desensitization' to me...

 

'Oh, here it is again, this awful/wonderful thought/feeling. No matter'.

 

Except when it actually does matter!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think for me one of the hardest parts it dealing with the stuff that meditation shows you about yourself.

 

Hey Bums,

All these responses are awesome! However, this spoke to me and where I am at in the present moment. Thanks for this Matt.

As some of you read in some of my other posts, I am working with developing and cleansing my lower chakras right now. Well, up until last night I really had not made much headway. For the last couple of years, I have been so determined on breaking through to the other side, to a higher level. I have been wanting to connect to the Divine directly. That was the goal during the majority of my meditations. I got hung up on the idea of awakening the Kundalini, despite all of the warning signs that I clearly was not spiritually ready. I was only directing my attention to one aspect of spirituality. All of that came crashing down in a fiery mental apocalypse last night :lol::ph34r: I was in the middle of a deep meditation and was focusing all attention on my root chakra. Thoughts started to creep in, but they were not the usual muddled,nonsensical, daydreams. They were like concepts and pictures that told a story. It was as if I was watching a movie, and it was all focused on the negative things in my life. After this subsided, I sat in silence and let the ideas resonate. Ill be completely honest, it was really hard to deal with some of the thoughts that came up. But I felt so good that I had come to realize these darker aspects of myself. It was strange because I have never seen myself in this light. Ok, instead of rambling(as I tend to do often), Ill put it this way: It was as if I was staring into a crystalline lake that has not been disturbed for sometime. I could see so clearly into myself. Now I know where to go. Before I can ever commune with a higher consciousness , I must first face the spiritual obstacles within my own being and character that are hindering me from developing as a person.

This to me is MY BIGGEST OBSTACLE! And I never truly saw that until last night. I feel so liberated that I have direction now! And, you know something, it all started with simply sitting and reflecting. Maharishi once said, "Life is not serious." I have been trying so hard, when really all I had to do was sit down, shut up, and LISTEN.

Anyway, thanks Matt, and all who responded. I hope this somewhat helps the original question.

Namaste, Matt

 

"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It can not be taken from you, not from angels or demons, heaven or hell." -Buddha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great points everyone...

 

Maybe not the first but definitely a biggie for newbies, is when your mind seems to get worse {less calm and relaxed} and it does not seem to be working. Many people give up here.

 

Maybe a better way to say it is to say a big obstacle is thinking that:

 

Silence and calm = a 'Good' meditation and scattered unfocused distraction = a 'Bad' meditation.

 

neither are true and are all part of the process...

 

Great Blessings on your Path :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not a problem, and what you said I totally get cause you pretty much described much of what I have gone through as well ;)

 

 

Hey Bums,

All these responses are awesome! However, this spoke to me and where I am at in the present moment. Thanks for this Matt.

As some of you read in some of my other posts, I am working with developing and cleansing my lower chakras right now. Well, up until last night I really had not made much headway. For the last couple of years, I have been so determined on breaking through to the other side, to a higher level. I have been wanting to connect to the Divine directly. That was the goal during the majority of my meditations. I got hung up on the idea of awakening the Kundalini, despite all of the warning signs that I clearly was not spiritually ready. I was only directing my attention to one aspect of spirituality. All of that came crashing down in a fiery mental apocalypse last night :lol::ph34r: I was in the middle of a deep meditation and was focusing all attention on my root chakra. Thoughts started to creep in, but they were not the usual muddled,nonsensical, daydreams. They were like concepts and pictures that told a story. It was as if I was watching a movie, and it was all focused on the negative things in my life. After this subsided, I sat in silence and let the ideas resonate. Ill be completely honest, it was really hard to deal with some of the thoughts that came up. But I felt so good that I had come to realize these darker aspects of myself. It was strange because I have never seen myself in this light. Ok, instead of rambling(as I tend to do often), Ill put it this way: It was as if I was staring into a crystalline lake that has not been disturbed for sometime. I could see so clearly into myself. Now I know where to go. Before I can ever commune with a higher consciousness , I must first face the spiritual obstacles within my own being and character that are hindering me from developing as a person.

This to me is MY BIGGEST OBSTACLE! And I never truly saw that until last night. I feel so liberated that I have direction now! And, you know something, it all started with simply sitting and reflecting. Maharishi once said, "Life is not serious." I have been trying so hard, when really all I had to do was sit down, shut up, and LISTEN.

Anyway, thanks Matt, and all who responded. I hope this somewhat helps the original question.

Namaste, Matt

 

"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It can not be taken from you, not from angels or demons, heaven or hell." -Buddha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great points everyone...

 

Maybe not the first but definitely a biggie for newbies, is when your mind seems to get worse {less calm and relaxed} and it does not seem to be working. Many people give up here.

 

Maybe a better way to say it is to say a big obstacle is thinking that:

 

Silence and calm = a 'Good' meditation and scattered unfocused distraction = a 'Bad' meditation.

 

neither are true and are all part of the process...

 

Great Blessings on your Path :)

 

Great point Seth! There is really no right or wrong way to meditate(in essence). It is better to have started on the Path, than to never begin.

 

Another big help for me was to start a meditation journal. I write about my meditations and experiences, then reflect back to see my progress. I first began doing this about 2 months ago, and it has been so inspiring to see my progress. I try to capture the essence of my meditation and build on that every time I "sit". It has also improved my awareness of existence around me. Slowly but surely I am beginning to see myself as a bystander in my day to day existence, and not a controller of the situations and events that arise.

 

Love and light, Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not a problem, and what you said I totally get cause you pretty much described much of what I have gone through as well ;)

 

That is good to hear. Always nice to know and be reassured that I am not the center of the universe; that others are travelling a similar past.

 

Great thread! Thanks for starting this Astral :rolleyes: !

 

-Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the "first obstacle" will probably vary from person to person as meditation is very individual.

 

For me, the first obstacle I can recall was thinking that I was not doing it correctly.

There is a natural tendency for thoughts to arise and carry us away.

After a while we expect to be able to control that and I found myself questioning whether I was doing it correctly because I wasn't seeing the progress I expected. This led to frustration and impatience early on and that took a while to come to terms with.

 

It was easy for me to get onto the cushion and dedicate time to the practice... in the beginning.

Making the time and staying consistent has been a real challenge for me at some times, not so much at others.

But this was an obstacle that arose later, when the initial novelty and excitement had worn off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The closest word they have to it is 'Gom'. Gom means 'getting used to...' ."

 

Which is pretty important, I think :-)

 

Seems like 'desensitization' to me...

 

'Oh, here it is again, this awful/wonderful thought/feeling. No matter'.

 

Except when it actually does matter!

Yes, in some ways, it can be read as desensitization, but in the context of the practice of meditation, 'getting used to..' here implies familiarizing oneself over and over with making time for sitting and settling the mind, and then making small attempts at translating the settled mind over to mundane activities, starting with the more routine stuff.

 

At the beginning steps, of course, everything matters. It matters because there happens to be much confusion over this thing about settling the mind. While many seem to think samadhi is the end goal, it is actually useless if one is not able to integrate this 'samadhi' into daily life, which is basically what matters, right?

 

When integration has been effected, then there is no need to keep looking back and forth to see if one is consciously 'doing' the integrating.... so in this sense, it can be taken to mean a sort of process of desensitization has taken place, and is continually being perfected due to the ongoing process of mastery over mindfulness. And how is this mastery achieved? Thru getting used to sitting, with no specific goal, of course. When we set out to consciously want to achieve some state, then this will bring about some level of expectation, which can be a hindrance actually. In my practice, its been taught that its better to get used to doing short sitting sessions of 15 minutes each time, with regular breaks, rather than doing one or two long sessions during the day. In other words, sit 15 minutes, integrate stillness gained into the mundane activity, then sit again, and integrate, and so forth.

 

The thing to bear in mind is that even if stillness is not felt, it does not matter ~ simply allow whatever is there, and take that out of the sitting into activity, and then observe what happens non-judgmentally. It can be fun if we can hang loose and not take the practices too seriously. It always cracks me up to walk into retreats and see all these sombre faces of folks attempting to show their high level of absorptive jhanic mastery, like as if i suddenly entered a funeral parlor... :lol: :lol:

 

After a while, (it is hoped that) the integrator and that which needs to be integrated, which at the beginning stages the gap seems quite wide, with enough practice time, the distinguishable differences become less and less discernible, and it will seem as if a merging of sorts is taking place, but actually, there is no merging taking place. It is simply that the settled mind allows the meditator to gradually See that all things are already perfected, hence there is actually no need to work at attempting to merge anything. At that point, it is like one is beginning to get used to seeing beyond the dual nature of existence, and when this seeing becomes stable and unmoving, then distractions cease, and when this happens, even meditation ceases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think sometimes it does an aspirant good to have people tell them they are going the right direction. It could be another spiritual friend or a mentor. So in my opinion the biggest obstacle is not knowing if you are moving along in the right way.

 

But off course like someone mentioned in the thread it's first making it to the cushion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me the obstacle wasn't necessarily at the beginning, but how to integrate meditation into my daily life. At first I found it rather easy to meditate, and it became a bit addicting, like an escape. There were the personal issues that arose, and the lessons learned from processing said issues. I then fell into the attachment trap, trying to replicate phenomena experienced in the meditative state. Unfortunately I became a bit withdrawn; at peace, yes, but not necessarily engaged (or as much as I should have been). Eventually I came to experiment with "the meditative state" during the entire day, not necessarily for some arbitrary unit of time with preset conditions. Whether or not I was able to actually do this is up for debate, but I'm not hung up on it....

 

While I've made great strides and experienced many positive changes, I still have awhile to go. Each discovery, experience, spark, answer, whatever you want to call it, led to more questions, more searching. At some point I surrendered to all of the "mental masturbation" and let go. Perhaps my experiment was misleading as I do not have a meditation routine; it just happens when the time is right. I don't look for it, but try to remain open as much as possible. I do think setting aside a specific time again would benefit me greatly; starting over, for lack of a better term. Like others, I tend to be a bit full of myself. Oh how I miss those first days of discovery....

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to all of you for your answers. I think letting go of expectation is the main thing . I'll probably try what CowTao said about sitting down infrequently and meditating for 15 minutes with out expectation. As it's a process of getting use to letting go and getting use to letting go for no reason at all.

 

When integration has been effected, then there is no need to keep looking back and forth to see if one is consciously 'doing' the integrating.... so in this sense, it can be taken to mean a sort of process of desensitization has taken place, and is continually being perfected due to the ongoing process of mastery over mindfulness. And how is this mastery achieved? Thru getting used to sitting, with no specific goal, of course. When we set out to consciously want to achieve some state, then this will bring about some level of expectation, which can be a hindrance actually. In my practice, its been taught that its better to get used to doing short sitting sessions of 15 minutes each time, with regular breaks, rather than doing one or two long sessions during the day. In other words, sit 15 minutes, integrate stillness gained into the mundane activity, then sit again, and integrate, and so forth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites