dwai

There are no shortcuts — some rules of thumb for internal practices

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In meditative systems, there are really no shortcuts. There is no substitute for putting in the necessary work needed to prepare the mind (and body). Only when the mind is purified and the body is stabilized can true knowledge arise. This is a series of “rules of thumb” I’ve been mulling over, along the lines of the “meditate better” video I shared in the Hindu sub-forum. 

 

An unstable body leads to an unstable mind. And vice versa. So both need to be worked on, whether one starts from the body and then the mind, or starts with the mind and then the body (albeit, the latter is more difficult to achieve). 
 

  1. There are no shortcuts in this process. No clever tricks that will help “game the system”, or cheat codes available. Each person is different in terms of their karmic tendencies, and therefore their body and mental conditioning. So while it might seem that some seem to “get it” very fast, it is not evident to onlookers that there must have been enough preparatory work done in previous lifetimes to enable them to “get it”. 
  2. There is no substitute for consistency — pick a practice and stick with it, preferably at a fixed time window on a daily basis. Jumping between practices are counterproductive until one gets to a degree of proficiency in one (or are born with the “right” karmic patterns). 
  3. Simple is better — don’t pick complex systems without doing the preparatory ground work to be able to understand and actually be effective in them. Foundational practices are usually very simple — watch the breath, breath right, hold a posture correctly, move correctly. These are all simple things but take dedication and focus to achieve some degree of proficiency in. If a system involves complex mental and movement/postural components, odds are it is not right for you in the beginning stages.
  4. Along with a practice, learn the “view” that goes with it. For example, If you learn yoga asanas and pranayama without learning the yoga sutras, you run the risk of becoming a “loaded weapon” with nothing to aim towards. This is what leads to all sorts of psycho-spiritual  problems often associated with internal practices. There are both knowledge as well as practical components to any complete system. Doing one while eschewing the other will result in an incomplete practitioner. 
  5. Avoid comparing yourself with others. It is simply not possible (or very difficult) to gauge “levels” in the internal arts. Especially for beginners/intermediates. It’s better to keep doing the practice and your level of advancement will be directly proportional to the level of equanimity and joy you feel internally. The higher your level of advancement, the more of these you feel.
  6. Have respect for, and faith in your teacher and system. Along with the practice and theory, every proper lineage comes with a psycho-spiritual power/empowerment/blessingof the elders/teachers who’ve been part of the system. Without proper respect and faith in the teacher and lineage, you will not become open to receive the grace of the lineage.

 

 

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5 hours ago, dwai said:

Avoid comparing yourself with others.

 

Indeed. Aries vs Taurus; Fire Horse vs Metal Ox (both at the opposite end of the spectrum)...plus your own evolutionary process; namely old soul (many cycles of rebirth undergone) vs. someone who just started the awareness journey and still has got more rebirth cycles to continue on.

 

How can you follow or try to mould into an specific model you are not suited for? Adapt practice to your own personal circumstances and astrological profile.

 

However, you still need to follow the rules of practice (universal laws) and be watchful of the desires of the lower self.

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Something I wrote in my journal yesterday which may be apropo...

 

I often judge the value of a practice by how much subjective pleasure it gives me, or whether or not it faciliates an intense peak experience. And I’m questioning whether these are good criteria. Practices often follow certain rhythms and there are times when benefits are not readily apparent or at least not dramatic. During these times I’m often tempted to quit and yet I think it’s possible that these times are actually, ironically especially potent. Maybe the secret is to embrace boredom. To recognize those times when it’s hard to persevere as being especially valuable, as presenting uncommon opportunity.

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58 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

Something I wrote in my journal yesterday which may be apropo...

 

I often judge the value of a practice by how much subjective pleasure it gives me, or whether or not it faciliates an intense peak experience. And I’m questioning whether these are good criteria. Practices often follow certain rhythms and there are times when benefits are not readily apparent or at least not dramatic. During these times I’m often tempted to quit and yet I think it’s possible that these times are actually, ironically especially potent. Maybe the secret is to embrace boredom. To recognize those times when it’s hard to persevere as being especially valuable, as presenting uncommon opportunity.

Very astute observation. I think for me, rather than peak experiences (which have been many), it is a sense of fulfillment/contentment that is important. Of course, there will be periods of (with varying intensity) unrest and churning in course of one’s practice. Or even periods of “boredom”. I think they are all necessary, as sometimes “junk” needs to be brought to the surface for release (during unrest) and digestion/assimilation (boredom). 
 

I wonder if the boredom aspect is related to gravitating towards experiences? 
 

My teachers tend to think so. They told me, when it seems we have plateaued, we need to persevere and continue with the practice. That’s when the sincerity/momentum of our practice up to that point is going to carry us forward. I was told (and can confirm experientially) that the spiritual path is like climbing progressively higher peaks. As we hike a series of mountain ranges, we climb uphill, downhill, walk plateaus and climb higher peaks and so on. :) 

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”I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” said a man who knew a thing or two about a thing or two.

 

There was a time when forms and practices were closely guarded secrets and one had to show ones worth before gaining access. These days the internet encourages a Pollyanna attitude and there is always something shinier and newer so people barely scratch the surface due to their lack of dedication and short attention spans that crave novelty.

 

Or as the philosopher sage known as Garfield once opined:

 

1985-03-12.gif

 

 

 

 

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I saw this posted by a friend of mine a couple of days ago. It resonated with me on the theme of repetitive practices and not being diverted by the 'novel' or the 'colourful'.

 

'In the modern world repetition and naivety go hand in hand. Sophistication is the highest virtue - the search for endless variety,
for ways to keep scattering our longing in entertainments
and distractions,
in different things to do
and say.

Even the attempts we make to improve ourselves,
become wiser and more interesting
or successful,
are just methods of running from the hollowness
we all feel inside.

So we get everything upside down and back to front,
mistaking sophistication for maturity
and hardly noticing
that there's nothing more repetitious
than the desire for variety.

It needs tremendous focus,
and immense intensity,
to break through the wall of appearances that surround us
and that we think of as reality.
Most people paint their wall in different colours
and then
imagine
they're free.'

- Peter Kingsley, 'In the Dark Places of Wisdom'.

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My Sifu called me this afternoon and we chatted for quite a bit. Some words of advise from him —

 

  • One should not pray for/try to attain this or that. Meditate — go into stillness and wait for the connection.  When you feel the connection, there is a divine blessing that flows to you. Be grateful for this life, for this body, for the opportunity to be where you are, right then and there. “God didn’t create us to be beggars…we are already part of him, and he is a part of us. Act accordingly.”
  • when one practices, one must not think of it as a chore. Don’t try to “get done”, don’t look at the clock. Practice with love and joy — enjoy whatever practice you are doing, no matter how little or how long. Then, you will “level up”.
  • One cannot “level up” by wanting (powers, or to increase one’s spiritual level) — it is a condition that is created by your love and joy. If you remain joyful, if you maintain love in your heart, your spirit will expand and the level will go up.
  • Your “level of advancement” is known by your ability to stay centered and balanced. By how much joy and love you genuinely feel/share. 
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On 27/12/2021 at 2:49 PM, dwai said:

There are no shortcuts in this process. No clever tricks that will help “game the system”, or cheat codes available.

Ain't this the truth for most things though?

On 27/12/2021 at 2:49 PM, dwai said:

Avoid comparing yourself with others. It is simply not possible (or very difficult) to gauge “levels” in the internal arts. Especially for beginners/intermediates

I feel this also happens with many other things as well.We see videos of people doing incredible feats of strength or athleticism, people that seem to be able to dance like a tornado without sweating or even "geniuses" that start early and can soon be in an advanced stage of something in relation to one that started later in life.

 

It's hard for those that are older to not feel jealous when seeing the younger ones achieving so much so soon, or it is hard to see how somethings seems to come easily to one but it is almost a hurdle to another.It's normal and it is human to compare yourself to those you perceive as better than you.The hard thing is not letting this weight you down.

On 09/01/2022 at 9:20 PM, dwai said:

One should not pray for/try to attain this or that

I'm already someone at odds with religion itself, but I do tend to avoid the "praying mindset" because I really hate the idea of something just being given, because what is given by others can be easily taken away from you.What you conquer will forever be yours is what I believe in.

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Actually,  the group I am a part of is working on releasing an invention which minimizes the amount of time required.

 

I would argue that there are short cuts. 

 

:)

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On 28-12-2021 at 12:33 AM, liminal_luke said:

Something I wrote in my journal yesterday which may be apropo...

 

I often judge the value of a practice by how much subjective pleasure it gives me, or whether or not it faciliates an intense peak experience. And I’m questioning whether these are good criteria. Practices often follow certain rhythms and there are times when benefits are not readily apparent or at least not dramatic. During these times I’m often tempted to quit and yet I think it’s possible that these times are actually, ironically especially potent. Maybe the secret is to embrace boredom. To recognize those times when it’s hard to persevere as being especially valuable, as presenting uncommon opportunity.

 

memory of after-talk in the dojo:

someone said it was boring to practice same thing over and over, that other places offered more variety. Sifu: "well, you're welcome to leave and join that other place you're thinking of, but when you stay here you should practice only the basic stance and nothing else." so the bit of variety that is part of the program was taken from him.

 

It was met with silence, then stuttering and a deep blush.

The guy stayed and I hope he persevered :D

 

Although my acquaintance with practice was shortlived, I do remember that after a time doing that boring practice something tended to change in the body and the same practice sort of changed, became deeper or something. After having experienced that several times I am totally okay with it. 

Edited by blue eyed snake
typo
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