Author Topic: Zen meditation experiences and questions.  (Read 5388 times)

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June 02, 2012, 12:35:40 PM
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Koujiryuu

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This thread is for discussion of Zen meditation from week 1's lecture.

This includes experiences and questions.

Please post you experiences and questions with the exercise by the end of next week, before Fri June 8th, 2012.
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June 02, 2012, 04:04:18 PM
Reply #1

ezpero

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I got some questions about the meditation.

I was wondering if the purpose of the meditation is somewhat similar to a focal meditation on a dot?
Because if I'm not mistaken, I've done this meditation before on a single black spot or circle that I placed on the wall, and if I'm also not mistaken it's actually one of my usual meditation routine since years ago, but I didn't know that it has a name.

Based on my previous progress, what I felt was I'm focusing to a single point of existing, there is no past nor future, there is only now, existing as a single point of existence in life and worry about nothing else. The space around me felt a little wider spherically, my mind focused on the dot, but my awareness kinda expands, causing my line of vision to also kind of widen its range, not only seeing what is front of me, but somewhat almost all of the 180 degrees in front of my eyes. Is that close?

Also, can the meditation be done while laying on your back instead of sitting to a wall? Because you mentioned that the purpose is sit up straight and not slouch, so I was wondering if it can be done by keeping my spine straight by laying down without any pillow, maybe on the floor or the bed.

Also, should I sit on a hard sturdy surface such as the floor during meditation? Or is it okay to sit on a soft surface such as a sofa or a bed? Because based on my previous attempt, I find it faster to focus while doing it on a sturdy surface, but not that quickly on a sofa or a bed that have a more "springy" texture.

June 02, 2012, 05:00:59 PM
Reply #2

Koujiryuu

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I got some questions about the meditation.

I was wondering if the purpose of the meditation is somewhat similar to a focal meditation on a dot?
Because if I'm not mistaken, I've done this meditation before on a single black spot or circle that I placed on the wall, and if I'm also not mistaken it's actually one of my usual meditation routine since years ago, but I didn't know that it has a name.

Based on my previous progress, what I felt was I'm focusing to a single point of existing, there is no past nor future, there is only now, existing as a single point of existence in life and worry about nothing else. The space around me felt a little wider spherically, my mind focused on the dot, but my awareness kinda expands, causing my line of vision to also kind of widen its range, not only seeing what is front of me, but somewhat almost all of the 180 degrees in front of my eyes. Is that close?

Also, can the meditation be done while laying on your back instead of sitting to a wall? Because you mentioned that the purpose is sit up straight and not slouch, so I was wondering if it can be done by keeping my spine straight by laying down without any pillow, maybe on the floor or the bed.

Also, should I sit on a hard sturdy surface such as the floor during meditation? Or is it okay to sit on a soft surface such as a sofa or a bed? Because based on my previous attempt, I find it faster to focus while doing it on a sturdy surface, but not that quickly on a sofa or a bed that have a more "springy" texture.

This is basically Focal Meditation on a dot, yes.

The experiences you've mentioned are some of the ones a lot of people experience with this one, yes.

The meditation can be done laying on your back, but because this is an introductory meditation that will lead to others that use the same position, I would prefer you sit up- this is to promote good posture which encourages good Qi flow.

You can sit on the floor or on a couch or sofa, but sitting crosslegged with the back straight is essential. It will also keep your mind alert and focused and free of distraction. If the meditation were done lying down, it would be easy for someone to become distracted and fall asleep.
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June 02, 2012, 05:23:36 PM
Reply #3

ezpero

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The meditation can be done laying on your back, but because this is an introductory meditation that will lead to others that use the same position, I would prefer you sit up- this is to promote good posture which encourages good Qi flow.

You can sit on the floor or on a couch or sofa, but sitting crosslegged with the back straight is essential. It will also keep your mind alert and focused and free of distraction. If the meditation were done lying down, it would be easy for someone to become distracted and fall asleep.

I understand, yes, it is easy to fall asleep if done while lying down, especially if the surface is real comfortable and give you the subliminal suggestion to rest. I sometime did it while lying down on a really cold and hard surface so that the situation won't be that comfortable and I wouldn't fall asleep and be able to keep my focus, but I'll follow your lead and do it sitting up for the study session. Thanks for the explanation Kouji.

June 02, 2012, 09:24:10 PM
Reply #4

Impervious

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Do you think this meditation could be replaced with focal meditation on a candle flame, then? I already do focal meditation regularly thanks to the Dynamic Psi group; should I add on an extra session per day maybe? Or do the exercise exactly as written? I have no problems doing both, I'm just curious, as always.  :)
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June 02, 2012, 09:38:29 PM
Reply #5

Koujiryuu

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If I tell you to use a candle flame, I'd pretty much be telling the group it's okay.

The point is to train the mind to focus its' attention on a single spot. Since this is Eastern Zen meditation, we don't use a candle flame, but some other implement (and in particular one that doesn't emit light).

I pretty much would tend to believe that since a speck on the wall or floor doesn't emit light, that it's actually more difficult to do Zen meditation on. This will be a good way to train your mind to focus the attention and awareness on something less tangible and certainly less attention attracting than a candle flame. This will be directly employed in later meditations.

Please do both.

~Kouji
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June 03, 2012, 04:09:22 AM
Reply #6

ezpero

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I pretty much would tend to believe that since a speck on the wall or floor doesn't emit light, that it's actually more difficult to do Zen meditation on. This will be a good way to train your mind to focus the attention and awareness on something less tangible and certainly less attention attracting than a candle flame. This will be directly employed in later meditations.

Just wondering if what I'm going to say can be used as a further argument to not replace the dot with the candle flame, but I felt a different experience during both meditation, and I actually find it a whole lot easier to meditate on a dot than it is on a candle flame.

Meditating on the candle flame doesn't bring me to a focused condition as quickly as the dot, the flame also doesn't attract me as much as a single black dot does. Also, if I compare my experience on doing both meditation, the dot brings me to a state of a single point of existence, while the candle flame brings me to a state where I somewhat feel some sort of connection to the flame (even though I haven't manage to feel a sensation as deep as the dot when I focus on the candle flame).

I'll let Kouji decide on whether this one is a valid one or not.

June 03, 2012, 10:40:35 AM
Reply #7

Koujiryuu

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Meditating on the candle flame doesn't bring me to a focused condition as quickly as the dot, the flame also doesn't attract me as much as a single black dot does. Also, if I compare my experience on doing both meditation, the dot brings me to a state of a single point of existence, while the candle flame brings me to a state where I somewhat feel some sort of connection to the flame (even though I haven't manage to feel a sensation as deep as the dot when I focus on the candle flame).

Yes, the single point of existence is the point.

Continue to do both.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 11:37:27 AM by Koujiryuu »
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June 03, 2012, 02:22:35 PM
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Koujiryuu

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I'm the group leader but I'm also doing these exercises with you guys.

So, here is my experience with about a half hour of Zen meditation earlier.

I meditated in my basement/exercise room. We have a large green rubber balance ball about 3 feet around, I noticed there was a white plastic disc-dot thing about 2cm in diameter on the bottom of it. The ball was sitting up on top of a wicker hamper. So, I rotated it so the dot would be at about eye level when I sit at my usual position on the other side of the room against a wall (about 7 feet away).

Anyway, I began sitting meditation and focused on my breathing. Due to my experience, it only took a minute before I felt very relaxed, a buzzing feeling all over, while I stared at the dot on the balance ball.

As I continued, my breathing began to slow. I stopped blinking as much and became absorbed in the dot and my breathing. I blinked maybe twice a minute and had to do so consciously. I began to have a large amount of neural discharges (like the flashy lights you see on your eyelids before you go to sleep). In fact, the neural discharges were so intense that the entire room- the ball, the carpet, the exercise equipment, the futon, and a dresser- became kind of blurred into one mess of color, an odd shade or brownish yellow. It was as if the individual objects lost their color and merged into each other. The dot looked less white and more blue, it also seemed to glow. I distinctly noticed auras around all the objects in the room, in the manner of a sort of vibrating haze- not colorful at all, more like a very form-fitting, defined version of heatwaves from a grill flame in the summer heat. My thoughts ceased, and I was so focused on the dot. The green of the balance ball eventually became more devoid of color, as if I were looking at it in the dark....everything became sort of gray, and the dot increased in brightness and appeared to be vibrating. After a while, I realized enough time had passed, so I kind of shook my head and detached my attention, took a deep breath, stood up and stretched. As soon as I did everything went back to normal.

That's it. Keep in mind, you guys can post your experiences more than once, if you do the exercises on different days.
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June 04, 2012, 10:15:37 AM
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This meditation is literally the same as the first stage of Prophecy's version of Thought Control. Having been doing this exercise with some regularity for a little over a year, I can't really think of anything interesting to share because it's all business as usual for me.

I've heard that progress in this skill is slow for a lot of people because they don't understand how to clear their thoughts. With the mind being multi-layered and all that jazz, people get fooled into thinking that they're done only to have even more persistent mental noise crop up the next day.

As someone who's been down that road, I suggest always assuming that there's more to work on with this meditation. Don't focus on your thoughts, just watch the focal point you chose and merely observe the thoughts.

One you start making real progress with this, it's blatantly obvious.
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June 04, 2012, 11:33:42 AM
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Koujiryuu

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Good point mindless.

Just observe the thoughts, then quickly bring your focus back to breathing. As you continue the thoughts will occur less and less often.

I still need you to post your experience with a session though.
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June 04, 2012, 01:34:15 PM
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My experiences with this exercise? There's not much to say other than that I sat down in the position you outlined, focused on the focal point I have set up in my room, gazed at it like the beginnings of trakata, then held my focus on the spot and closed my eyes. In about a minute I was almost completely in no-mind, and right after that the non-physical tremors set in. To pull myself out of meditation near the end of practice, I did body awareness meditation from normal askesis practices to bring my mind back to my physical presence.
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June 04, 2012, 03:53:28 PM
Reply #12

Koujiryuu

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My experiences with this exercise? There's not much to say other than that I sat down in the position you outlined, focused on the focal point I have set up in my room, gazed at it like the beginnings of trakata, then held my focus on the spot and closed my eyes. In about a minute I was almost completely in no-mind, and right after that the non-physical tremors set in. To pull myself out of meditation near the end of practice, I did body awareness meditation from normal askesis practices to bring my mind back to my physical presence.

I appreciate your experience and I can appreciate the simplicity of this exercise....however..

The eyes are supposed to remain open and fixed on the spot the entire time.

I'd appreciate you trying it again at your leisure without closing the eyes at all. :)

« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 03:59:32 PM by Koujiryuu »
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June 04, 2012, 04:51:17 PM
Reply #13

ezpero

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After a while, I realized enough time had passed, so I kind of shook my head and detached my attention, took a deep breath, stood up and stretched. As soon as I did everything went back to normal.

Thought I'd share what I've experienced, because the head shake you did kinda remind me of the rather violent and abrupt ending that sometimes happened on the end of my meditation.

I sometime had problem returning myself to my normal state after the meditation, especially if the meditation was ended abruptly due to various reasons. Whenever that happened, I would usually end up with an uncomfortable lightheaded state and dizziness, felt like the world changed into an ocean of thoughts, and I am bashed from all directions by streams of everything, sometime losing track of what I've been doing, is currently doing or what I want to do.

The best way I've found to end my meditation is to slowly close my eyes for several moments, take a really deep breath while doing some hand movements that kinda make the expression of collecting myself back to me, hold that breath for a little while while waiting, keeping my movement at a halt, then exhale the rest of the air inside of my lungs slowly but surely while performing some hand movements of the expression of lowering the tension inside me down. I would wait a while after that with my breath empty, and then slowly opened my eyes afterward and stretched a little bit when I felt that my mind has returned to its usual normal state.

I find it easier to return myself to a normal state by doing the movements, because I somehow able to sense the sensation of what I wanted to do better. It felt like there is no change happening if I did it silently without any movement, and it would usually either take a longer time to breathe myself to balance, or ends up with me having a more lightheaded state than what I would have preferred.

June 04, 2012, 05:36:30 PM
Reply #14

Koujiryuu

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After a while, I realized enough time had passed, so I kind of shook my head and detached my attention, took a deep breath, stood up and stretched. As soon as I did everything went back to normal.

Thought I'd share what I've experienced, because the head shake you did kinda remind me of the rather violent and abrupt ending that sometimes happened on the end of my meditation.

I sometime had problem returning myself to my normal state after the meditation, especially if the meditation was ended abruptly due to various reasons. Whenever that happened, I would usually end up with an uncomfortable lightheaded state and dizziness, felt like the world changed into an ocean of thoughts, and I am bashed from all directions by streams of everything, sometime losing track of what I've been doing, is currently doing or what I want to do.

The best way I've found to end my meditation is to slowly close my eyes for several moments, take a really deep breath while doing some hand movements that kinda make the expression of collecting myself back to me, hold that breath for a little while while waiting, keeping my movement at a halt, then exhale the rest of the air inside of my lungs slowly but surely while performing some hand movements of the expression of lowering the tension inside me down. I would wait a while after that with my breath empty, and then slowly opened my eyes afterward and stretched a little bit when I felt that my mind has returned to its usual normal state.

I find it easier to return myself to a normal state by doing the movements, because I somehow able to sense the sensation of what I wanted to do better. It felt like there is no change happening if I did it silently without any movement, and it would usually either take a longer time to breathe myself to balance, or ends up with me having a more lightheaded state than what I would have preferred.

You can also try doing Lifting the Sky or Pushing Water as a way to finish meditation.

Lifting the Sky works really well, you can think of the hand movements as bringing your energies and consciousness into the lower Dantien.
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