Monday, September 6, 2010

Meditation Practice and Improvement (week 3 of 3)

Anyone who has practiced meditation knows the effect of the “Monkey Mind” where one’s mind jumps around from one idea to another like a monkey jumping from one branch in a tree to another. This article from Wildmind gives some practical advice on how to train your mind to improve your practice. The third principle discussed in this article is to apply knowledge of which antidotes are effective in dealing with the hindrances.

“The next week you might take on building up and applying knowledge of which antidotes are effective in dealing with those hindrances you have recognized. I suggest that you take on the practice of noticing distractions quickly, recognizing hindrances accurately, and applying antidotes effectively, in three-week cycles over three months.

“A good habit to establish if you meditate within a busy schedule is to give yourself at least five minutes at the end of the meditation, before plunging into something different. If after meditating you suddenly listen to the news on the radio or even start to plan your day in a determined way, that original subtle experience of concentration will be jarred. Over time an inner rebellion to being put through such jarring can develop. The result may be that you feel resistant to meditating, without knowing why.

This is really interesting. I can’t remember all the hindrances while I am meditating. My mind wanders. I have found it useful to sit for 5 minutes after completing my morning meditation. I think about where my mind had wandered and try to identify the hindrances. Then the next time my mind wanders off in a similar way, I can try to catch it sooner by identifying that hindrance.

This article went on to discuss how discipline arises from faith. In this case, faith means that we can have confidence that meditation really works and that we can apply ourselves to make it work.
© 2010 Eric Borreson

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