roger

hardcore meditation as a way out

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I went on a retreat many years ago, and my roommate said that for about thirteen years he had psychotic experiences of extreme fear. He wasn't into spiritual practice during that time. One day he just said to himself that he might as well do what he could, and he started meditating several hours a day. After about five years of that, he got better.

 

One thing about this is that he didn't meditate 15 or 20 minutes twice a day, or even an hour once a day - he spent long hours meditating for several years, and finally found healing.

 

What do you all think about this approach? Hardcore meditation for years as a way to find healing or enlightenment?

 

I'm sure many of you have read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. There's a story of a guy who meditated 8 hours every night for 8 years, and finally found enlightenment.

 

Also, do any of you do this kind of thing? Does anybody here spend several hours or more every day meditating?

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I'm all for building up a dedicated practice but when you're younger having a balanced life is more important then marathon meditation sessions.  Not that you can't meditate for long periods and have a good discipline, its that you shouldn't sacrifice your social and well.. financial life to get there. 

 

Get too extreme and your results and mentality may suffer.  Ones practice should benefit there life, not be an escape from it.  Escape never lasts, it just postpones.  Face what you must, grow strong and resilient. 

 

 

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As Michael well stated for many practitioners is a 24/7 pursuit:

 

http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/monks.htm

 

https://buddhismnow.com/2013/06/11/a-meditative-life-by-bodhidhamma-bhikkhu/

 

 

Meditation is not only the formal sitting or moving practice but what you do after that as well. A way of life as wisely stated in the last link.

 

Hope this helps...and,

 

Good luck! :)

 

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I don`t think there`s any one-size-fits-all rule.  Psychotic people are known for spiritual obsession, and not always to good effect.  Yet Roger`s retreat roommate apparently cured himself of extreme psychotic fear with hardcore meditation.  Good thing nobody discouraged him or he might still be suffering! Extreme imbalances sometimes require extreme (spiritual) medicines.

 

 

Edited by liminal_luke
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Indeed. But remember Buddha's wisdom about the Middle Path: everything in moderation...especially in our dysfunctional world, not in Buddha's perfect world where the body wasn't acknowledged only the mind and nothing else. You can't ignore the body today, try and see how far you go.

 

If the Buddha encouraged the MP 2,600 years ago...triple that MP TODAY! 

 

Roger also mentioned enlightenment. It's absurd, forget about it, not even monastics are able to reach that mental level why a lay person living in today's society is going to be able to? It's like a seed thinking that it can become a huge sequoia tree overnight, in 2 years, in 5 or 20. It takes around 50 years to reach a height of 40 m. From lay meditator to arahant. It's a long process of mental purification. Enjoy the MP and live a mindful life until that happens. When? The more you want it the slower the process.

Edited by Gerard
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3 hours ago, roger said:

I went on a retreat many years ago, and my roommate said that for about thirteen years he had psychotic experiences of extreme fear. He wasn't into spiritual practice during that time. One day he just said to himself that he might as well do what he could, and he started meditating several hours a day. After about five years of that, he got better.

 

One thing about this is that he didn't meditate 15 or 20 minutes twice a day, or even an hour once a day - he spent long hours meditating for several years, and finally found healing.

 

What do you all think about this approach? Hardcore meditation for years as a way to find healing or enlightenment?

 

I'm sure many of you have read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. There's a story of a guy who meditated 8 hours every night for 8 years, and finally found enlightenment.

 

Also, do any of you do this kind of thing? Does anybody here spend several hours or more every day meditating?

 

Darin Hamel on YouTube does. Good guy to connect with an discuss things.

 

Personally i suggest learning to get into a meditative state and just maintaining it for extended periods of time while you go thru your day and night. Not so hard cause if it breaks, you just get back into the meditative state an carry on. Learning to bounce in and out of a meditative state purposely is a good skill to cultivate. Lol in call it zenmode, if it's practical for you, to obtain a biofeedback machine to measure the brainwaves as you progress til you can do it at will without looking at the monitor. 

Enlightenment is about a practical and real realisation about the boundaries of yourself and the world around you, simultaneous it's an epiphany of understanding the significance of your existing. It frees you of all karmic debts and you're free to be whoever and whatever,but will find yourself being more and more in harmony with expressing your truest feelings and nature, sometimes even surprising yourself. Not everyone who becomes enlightened becomes a guru or teacher, some carry on with their lives or restart a new life elsewhere. 

Enlightenment is like you've sensed a certain boundary your whole life, everything and everybody tells you it's not to be crossed and this internal kind of fear prevents you from crossing it. Then one day you find yourself crossing that boundary with full realization and consciousness of what you are doing, realizing it's like leaving the suburbs/streets/town/etc you've lived in your whole life, to a whole new world that's somehow more alive and crisp. The old is somehow new and there is a clarity that you know, but you understand ur knowledge is not absolute. 

 

Most people want enlightenment and have ideas about it but get disappointed when they are near it because it doesn't look or feel like anything they've built up in their mind. Like the difference between masturbation before sex, an then having had sex, it's a big deal, your world changes. Your idea of it might be better than it is, an somehow that's scary to a lot of people because it's disillusioning. 

Don't expect anything from enlightenment,just let it be what it is.

 

 

Well if that helps at all great, if not great, either way take care.

 

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According to one of my teachers enlightenment is not up to you, but is an act of Grace.

 

So you can't mechanically meditate yourself to enlightenment.

 

I have a family so hardcore meditation is not something I do. I try to do other things in my waking hours (healing, mantras, being with masters etc.)

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I consider there to be a difference between healing and enlightenment, you could spend decades meditating which could bring a lot of balance to your mind and psyche, but it doesn't necessarily get you closer to enlightenment than someone who sincerely asks the question "who am I?" .

 

Enlightenment is outside of time and isn't earned, which is why if you put it off as something to be attained after lots of hard work in the future you may be further off than someone who recognises what is really here right now. 

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In the tradition I practice, there is a progression.

 

First there are preliminary practices that are meant to break down conditioning, habitual patterns, and self-destructive behavior. This permits us to open to the possibility there is another way to be.

Next there is recognition of the meditative state.

Then I must develop absolute certainty of that state.

Once there is certainty, there is development of stability in that state under optimal circumstances (on the cushion in a quiet place, undisturbed).

Then I can begin to enter that state 'off the cushion' and bring it into my life.

It's best to begin by bringing it to spiritually positive activities - reciting mantras, doing prostrations, etc... (of course that will vary with your preferred tradition). Then when that is working well, I can bring it to neutral activity (eating, dressing, interacting with friends). Finally, I exercise the ability to bring it to negative situations (stressful environments, work, conflicts,..).

 

Ultimately, if I am able to rest in that meditative space in every waking, dreaming, and sleeping moment, up to the point of death and beyond - there is enlightenment. At least that is one way to define it. Certainly there are other conceptual frameworks for enlightenment.

 

This is an artificial breakdown of the process but it more or less flows in this direction.

Ultimately we are in meditation at all times (good luck!).

No question that it brings profound healing to our lives - physical, energetic, psychological.

 

It is very important to be careful in psychosis. Psychosis has a very specific definition regarding the ability to distinguish "reality" from impaired interpretation of reality (delusion). Intense fear is not necessarily psychosis but certainly can be a symptom. Intense fear can also be neurosis. No doubt in my mind that skillful meditation will bring about healing but it does not work for everyone and must be used, like Liminal suggests, with utmost caution in those with true psychosis (impaired reality testing). In some cases it can make matters worse like with the young woman who committed suicide after a Goenke bootcamp in Pennsylvania recently. 

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8 hours ago, roger said:

I went on a retreat many years ago, and my roommate said that for about thirteen years he had psychotic experiences of extreme fear. He wasn't into spiritual practice during that time. One day he just said to himself that he might as well do what he could, and he started meditating several hours a day. After about five years of that, he got better.

 

One thing about this is that he didn't meditate 15 or 20 minutes twice a day, or even an hour once a day - he spent long hours meditating for several years, and finally found healing.

 

What do you all think about this approach? Hardcore meditation for years as a way to find healing or enlightenment?

 

I'm sure many of you have read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. There's a story of a guy who meditated 8 hours every night for 8 years, and finally found enlightenment.

 

Also, do any of you do this kind of thing? Does anybody here spend several hours or more every day meditating?

 

Well, I can't really generalise, but if it worked for your friend then it worked, which is the main thing, IMO.

 

Personally, I'm not really bothered about enlightenment, although I practice a bit of seated meditation (counting breaths) at night. My main goal right now is relaxation and a calm mind throughout the day ‚Äď I'm not really seeing the point of being able to meditate for hours in a quiet room or cave and becoming 'enlightened', but losing equilibrium as soon as you walk out into a busy city, for example. I always liked S. Suzuki's approach to Zen (and Buddhism in general), personally.

 

My two cents :) 

Edited by morning dew
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I'd change the emphasis from finding a way out to finding an inner wisdom that enables conscious responses instead of automatic, and by degree, neurotic reaction.

 

While the goal would be to practice 24 hours a day by maintaining post-meditation presence of awareness in all activities and maintaining that continuity through dream states, the foundation would still arguably be formal sitting sessions on the cushion that are never dispensed with. There is perhaps a danger of self-delusion if there is never any formal sitting practice and a reliance on a putative 24 hour meditative awareness.

 

Steve's point above about preliminary practices to assist in the process is worth emphasizing, though depending on tradition and approach I think there are also practices that maintain and protect too.

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9 minutes ago, rex said:

I'd change the emphasis from finding a way out to finding an inner wisdom that enables conscious responses instead of automatic, and by degree, neurotic reaction.

 

While the goal would be to practice 24 hours a day by maintaining post-meditation presence of awareness in all activities and maintaining that continuity through dream states, the foundation would still arguably be formal sitting sessions on the cushion that are never dispensed with. There is perhaps a danger of self-delusion if there is never any formal sitting practice and a reliance on a putative 24 hour meditative awareness.

 

Steve's point above about preliminary practices to assist in the process is worth emphasizing, though depending on tradition and approach I think there are also practices that maintain and protect too.

 

Excellent point rex.

No matter how deeply we connect with the inner essence, no matter how skillful we integrate practice and life, we remain human.

We have minds, thoughts, and habitual tendencies that are with us until death.

 

Formal sessions are the foundation, the reference point if you will. 

Many practitioners continue with the "preliminary" practices throughout the course of their lives.

Similarly, dzogchen is essentially a practice of no-practice and yet traditional dzogchen practice includes guru yoga, refuge, bodhicitta, and dedication practices as an integral part of every practice session for precisely the reasons you state.

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16 hours ago, Gerard said:

As Michael well stated for many practitioners is a 24/7 pursuit:

 

http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/monks.htm

 

https://buddhismnow.com/2013/06/11/a-meditative-life-by-bodhidhamma-bhikkhu/

 

 

Meditation is not only the formal sitting or moving practice but what you do after that as well. A way of life as wisely stated in the last link.

 

Hope this helps...and,

 

Good luck! :)

 

 

I fully agree. It would be absurd to meditate for long hours and then go out and be unkind to people.

 

Your words may be the answer I needed. Living wisely and choosing love are more important than formal practices.

 

You could meditate for years and never open your heart and mind. Or you could open your heart and mind in a day, and accomplish more than you would through years of meditation.

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13 hours ago, Zenmode said:

 

Darin Hamel on YouTube does. Good guy to connect with an discuss things.

 

Personally i suggest learning to get into a meditative state and just maintaining it for extended periods of time while you go thru your day and night. Not so hard cause if it breaks, you just get back into the meditative state an carry on. Learning to bounce in and out of a meditative state purposely is a good skill to cultivate. Lol in call it zenmode, if it's practical for you, to obtain a biofeedback machine to measure the brainwaves as you progress til you can do it at will without looking at the monitor. 

Enlightenment is about a practical and real realisation about the boundaries of yourself and the world around you, simultaneous it's an epiphany of understanding the significance of your existing. It frees you of all karmic debts and you're free to be whoever and whatever,but will find yourself being more and more in harmony with expressing your truest feelings and nature, sometimes even surprising yourself. Not everyone who becomes enlightened becomes a guru or teacher, some carry on with their lives or restart a new life elsewhere. 

Enlightenment is like you've sensed a certain boundary your whole life, everything and everybody tells you it's not to be crossed and this internal kind of fear prevents you from crossing it. Then one day you find yourself crossing that boundary with full realization and consciousness of what you are doing, realizing it's like leaving the suburbs/streets/town/etc you've lived in your whole life, to a whole new world that's somehow more alive and crisp. The old is somehow new and there is a clarity that you know, but you understand ur knowledge is not absolute. 

 

Most people want enlightenment and have ideas about it but get disappointed when they are near it because it doesn't look or feel like anything they've built up in their mind. Like the difference between masturbation before sex, an then having had sex, it's a big deal, your world changes. Your idea of it might be better than it is, an somehow that's scary to a lot of people because it's disillusioning. 

Don't expect anything from enlightenment,just let it be what it is.

 

 

Well if that helps at all great, if not great, either way take care.

 

 

That's beautiful and inspiring thanks for sharing it.

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9 hours ago, steve said:

In the tradition I practice, there is a progression.

 

First there are preliminary practices that are meant to break down conditioning, habitual patterns, and self-destructive behavior. This permits us to open to the possibility there is another way to be.

Next there is recognition of the meditative state.

Then I must develop absolute certainty of that state.

Once there is certainty, there is development of stability in that state under optimal circumstances (on the cushion in a quiet place, undisturbed).

Then I can begin to enter that state 'off the cushion' and bring it into my life.

It's best to begin by bringing it to spiritually positive activities - reciting mantras, doing prostrations, etc... (of course that will vary with your preferred tradition). Then when that is working well, I can bring it to neutral activity (eating, dressing, interacting with friends). Finally, I exercise the ability to bring it to negative situations (stressful environments, work, conflicts,..).

 

Ultimately, if I am able to rest in that meditative space in every waking, dreaming, and sleeping moment, up to the point of death and beyond - there is enlightenment. At least that is one way to define it. Certainly there are other conceptual frameworks for enlightenment.

 

This is an artificial breakdown of the process but it more or less flows in this direction.

Ultimately we are in meditation at all times (good luck!).

No question that it brings profound healing to our lives - physical, energetic, psychological.

 

It is very important to be careful in psychosis. Psychosis has a very specific definition regarding the ability to distinguish "reality" from impaired interpretation of reality (delusion). Intense fear is not necessarily psychosis but certainly can be a symptom. Intense fear can also be neurosis. No doubt in my mind that skillful meditation will bring about healing but it does not work for everyone and must be used, like Liminal suggests, with utmost caution in those with true psychosis (impaired reality testing). In some cases it can make matters worse like with the young woman who committed suicide after a Goenke bootcamp in Pennsylvania recently. 

 

Thanks! I learned something from this post - resting in and embodying one's true, meditative state and nature are the key. Meditation helps with that. As you said, first we do this in 'easy' situations, then bring that awareness to more difficult circumstances.

 

I agree and feel greater clarity now.

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8 hours ago, morning dew said:

 

Well, I can't really generalise, but if it worked for your friend then it worked, which is the main thing, IMO.

 

Personally, I'm not really bothered about enlightenment, although I practice a bit of seated meditation (counting breaths) at night. My main goal right now is relaxation and a calm mind throughout the day ‚Äď I'm not really seeing the point of being able to meditate for hours in a quiet room or cave and becoming 'enlightened', but losing equilibrium as soon as you walk out into a busy city, for example. I always liked S. Suzuki's approach to Zen (and Buddhism in general), personally.

 

My two cents :) 

 

You said you like S. Suzuki's approach.

 

Could you elaborate on that? What exactly is his approach? I'm very interested because I've read a lot of good things about him.

 

Did he write Zen Mind, Beginners Mind? Is it a great book?

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It can be done but it's been my observation that people who do formal meditations in this fashion are engaged in a form of spiritual bypassing. Most people feel good when they meditate, as they sink into presence and the extraneous bodymind stimulation ceases; but as soon as they leave the meditation they begin to suffering within minutes as they get annoyed, angry or anything else in relationship to their environment.

 

It seems that true healing can never happen as long as you are bypassing your human level experience. Removal of temptation and stimulus is not enough. You need to go back to your origin, to the earliest points in life, when your consciousness was pure presence and not yet identifying with the bodymind. For most people with deep emotional problems, the normal processes of their pure presence real-self beginning to identify with iself vs. the other (the birth of duality) involved sudden trauma. The consciousness then took a snapshot of the trauma continued to play it out throughout life.

 

Delving into emptiness and the Absolute is unlikely to cure trauma in a permanent or long-term way. The human level self must be resolved.

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3 hours ago, Orion said:

 

Delving into emptiness and the Absolute is unlikely to cure trauma in a permanent or long-term way. The human level self must be resolved.

 

I think you're probably right.

 

And imo the way to resolve the human self is through total self-forgiveness and the cultivation of self-acceptance.

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16 hours ago, roger said:

 

You said you like S. Suzuki's approach.

 

Could you elaborate on that? What exactly is his approach? I'm very interested because I've read a lot of good things about him.

 

Did he write Zen Mind, Beginners Mind? Is it a great book?

 

Yeah, he wrote that book. It's a very good book, IMO, depending on what you're into. I read it years ago, so take the following with a pinch of salt:

 

It's a very short book. In the preface he's joking around with his wife and an interviewer, and his wife says that he doesn't like to talk about enlightenment because he's never experienced it. He basically replies it's not an important part for him; being present in everyday life is more important. I'm pretty sure he uses the saying: eat when hungry, sleep when tired. I suspect this idea is along the lines of wu wei.

 

He's Soto Zen, so emphasis is on practice (zazen) and this takes up the first part of the book. I can't remember that much about the other two parts. ¬†I think he briefly touches on the eightfold noble path (but that's only a page or two) ‚Äď there's not that much 'mainstream Buddhism' and ethics in it, which is why I liked it.

 

I think he also talks about 'big mind', which is something along the lines of being non-conceptual and viewing everything as a single, gigantic organism, and 'small mind', which is like the personal self/ego that conceptualises everything. I suspect this idea is along the lines of wuji vs 10,000 things (if I've understood it correctly).

 

That book, for me, was more of a stepping stone into things such as Daoism, although I have fond memories of it from what I can remember. Somebody else on here is bound to know more about it than I do. It could actually make an interesting thread, if you were so inclined to start one. :) 

Edited by morning dew
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On 8/3/2017 at 9:23 PM, johndoe2012 said:

According to one of my teachers enlightenment is not up to you, but is an act of Grace.

 

So you can't mechanically meditate yourself to enlightenment.

 

 

 

ūüĎć

 

Actually I just spoke to a Chinese medicine herbalist today and he told me last time he went to China he had to treat 1,000 monks including the abbot due to health problems caused by excessive sitting: back, head, brain lumps due to accumulated heat.

 

Move a lot more than you sit, especially today in our less active heavily industrialised world. And those were monks, imagine a lay practitioner!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gerard
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Meditation is not "enlightenment", it is a work of mind.  It is important for mind to see/unerstand itself but it is far more important for Spirit to see/understand that it is not mind.

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On ‚Äé03‚Äé.‚Äé08‚Äé.‚Äé2017 at 7:00 AM, roger said:

I went on a retreat many years ago, and my roommate said that for about thirteen years he had psychotic experiences of extreme fear. He wasn't into spiritual practice during that time. One day he just said to himself that he might as well do what he could, and he started meditating several hours a day. After about five years of that, he got better.

 

One thing about this is that he didn't meditate 15 or 20 minutes twice a day, or even an hour once a day - he spent long hours meditating for several years, and finally found healing.

 

What do you all think about this approach? Hardcore meditation for years as a way to find healing or enlightenment?

 

I'm sure many of you have read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. There's a story of a guy who meditated 8 hours every night for 8 years, and finally found enlightenment.

 

Also, do any of you do this kind of thing? Does anybody here spend several hours or more every day meditating?

 

but he didn't tell you what fear is. Causes and effects, how it is related to body, hormones, blood etc. Other words, just give a good opponent and he suffers again.

 

Of course we all can think a nice positive feeling blanket term we all can relate to and have a happy faces on but that positivity is one unit negative in core.

---

i have seen someone who doesn't feel fear or being stupid or what others think of...but is also respectfully ignorant and having hard time and no free time due to all sorts of desires what doesn't notice but are acting on them even if someone points them out.

Its pretty common but the there is incredible gap and all sorts off ways to be ignorant. That even the deluded start recon and to compare them seem sharp.

But lets not ourselves to be confused.

Edited by allinone

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4 hours ago, 3bob said:

Meditation is not "enlightenment", it is a work of mind.  It is important for mind to see/unerstand itself but it is far more important for Spirit to see/understand that it is not mind.

 

Enlightenment doesn't exist. If you have certain type of qualities what meets the enlightenment requirements then you are called enlightened. Same way animals doesn't exist, you can modify the genes that you can make a dog into a rabbit...

 

The church, angles and graveyard guardians are for psychics. And psychics don't cultivate specially to get to know how things work as like self master biological body on a "grow new teeth level"

--------

In short, i wonder what meditators do sitting so long hours?? too noobs to get something out of it or do they know what to look for and expect so they waiting patiently many hours a day, everyday and many years? WOW

 

I want to know what they know....kek kek

 

(just saw that i am raging, sorry..)

Edited by allinone

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