Friday, 12 May 2017
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I wanted to clarify some statements from the recently published course Beginning Meditation. The slides and instructor in audio lecture say that if we are unable to accomplish beginner's goals in developing concentration, we should reflect on what we really want in life.

Does it mean that if we are not able to reach sufficient level of concentration and we are not progressing in meditation we should give up these studies and leave Gnosis?
5 years ago
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#14208
Accepted Answer
A basic facet of the mind, which repeated throughout both Western and Eastern contemplative traditions, as well as modern materialistic psychology, is that attention is trainable, and that attending and returning to an object of concentration quiets the mind and increases concentration.

The crossroads to reflect upon is whether (1) all of those traditions are wrong, (2) that you are especially unique and do not possess a trainable mind, (3) that your application of the method lacking in something, and/or that (4) your evaluation of progress is too rigid and superficial.

You might be making progress in ways you are not noticing. My advice is pay closer attention to the quality of your meditation practice through a written journal. Play closer attention to the qualities of your meditations. For example: Did you have 100% non-attention? Did you have 100% attention? What percentage would you give yourself? Is the percentage increasing or decreasing throughout the months? What mood were you in before the meditation? What mood are you now, based upon your self-evaluation of the meditation?

The only thing constant in life is change. No one stays the same, even if you are not meditating. Therefore, notice what is changing.

Yes, the intellect cannot give us profound knowledge, but we need to use the intellect appropriately in the beginning to know how to apply the practice, to evaluate the results of the practice, and to then more skillfully apply the practice again (and again and again….).

Some students want a perfect 15 minute meditation before they go seek a 20 minute meditation. This is laudable, but with very short meditations, my advice is to try lengthening it once you have some experience. Push yourself into 30 and then 45 minute meditations from time to time with a simple concentration practice. You may notice that only after 20 – 30 minutes do you reach greater levels of tranquility.

Do not abandon the practice – instead notice the qualities of that mind which wants to abandon the practice. Do that now, don’t wait for meditation. You must start to use your consciousness here and now. This is simple reflection. To say, “I don’t know” is to say, “I can’t use my consciousness.” This is a wrong approach. You have consciousness, therefore, you can know at the level of consciousness you have, right now. You are capable. Don’t wait for a future mind, don’t wait for meditation, do it now. Insight starts here and now in daily life.

Each level of concentration is achieved by using the level of consciousness present before it is achieved. Therefore, it is not a vicious circle. Because you have consciousness, you are capable. And don't forget it! ;)
5 years ago
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#14176
It means that if someone is not advancing in basic concentration, it is because they are not taking it seriously. Basic concentration is the kindergarten of spirituality. If someone wants to reach real spirituality, they have to master the basics first. To do so, they must be serious about practicing everyday, and even mores serious about quitting all the bad habits that oppose serious practice.

Anyone can develop concentration, and then visualization, since these are natural functions of the consciousness. Those who do not develop these natural abilities are unwilling to change their bad habits.

"Do not worry; cultivate the habit of being happy." - Samael Aun Weor

5 years ago
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#14178
Can you be more precise - what do you mean by bad habits?
5 years ago
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#14179
Initially, whichever tendencies, habits, behaviors, and patterns that tend towards distraction, identification, attachment, sensuality, daydreaming, fantasy, etc., etc., etc.

Concentration emerges in direct correspondence to the power of our self-observation.

"Do not worry; cultivate the habit of being happy." - Samael Aun Weor

5 years ago
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#14180
I do not understand how your answer can help to increase concentration. Say, I am catching myself to be daydreaming, or having an internal dialogue, or having a fantasy, etc. and then return to self-observation. And then again and again. In this way, weeks pass by, months, etc. and nothing happens.

If I understand you correctly, you suggest me to analyze me what desires are causing this conflict, which leads to unstable mind. The answer is simple - I don't know. And how can I know this if the mind is not still? It's like a vicious circle - I am trying to stabilize the mind through concentration, but I can't because I have some desires or conflicts that prevent me. But in order to comprehend those desires and conflicts, I need a stable and one-pointed mind, as this chaotic mind will not reveal the desires that cause the conflict. So how do I solve this riddle?
5 years ago
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#14181
It is solved by continuing that effort: the more you become aware of yourself and restore observation in the moment, the further you will reduce the length of time that you are distracted and chaotic. Eventually, the balance will tip the other way: you will be aware and serene more than you are distracted, until it becomes rare to be in chaos. The whole map of the stages of meditative concentration is an expression of this change.

Naturally, this transformation is accelerated by two important supports: transmutation and sacrifice for others.

"Do not worry; cultivate the habit of being happy." - Samael Aun Weor

5 years ago
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#14184
I hear what you say, but the problem is that I am doing this for almost two years and the progress is hardly visible, which is really disappointing and raise a question whether this path can have any impact in real life.
You say that the progress depends on the transmutation and sacrifice. Transmutation is my daily routine and I am also trying do something for others during the week (of course that can be always improved), but I don't see any impact on the progress whatsoever.
5 years ago
·
#14188
What are you defining as "progress"?

"Do not worry; cultivate the habit of being happy." - Samael Aun Weor

5 years ago
·
#14191
I define progress as one of the following:
- being able to concentrate for half an hour, one hour, etc. and not forgetting that one is meditating;
-comprehending the root-causes that prevent concentration and eliminating them;
-focusing on one thing and being able to get the answer in order to solve the problem, comprehend an ego, etc.
-ultimately, becoming a better person through this wisdom.

This is what I call progress.

Of course, ideally that would include out of body experience, ability to converse with Divinity, etc., but at this stage I don't even expect these things. I would be more than happy if could achieve at least some of the things mentioned firstly.
5 years ago
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#14192
Each of these is determined by cause and effect.
- being able to concentrate for half an hour, one hour, etc. and not forgetting that one is meditating;
If this is not occurring, it is because during daily life the attention is not focused and continuous; in other words, one gets distracted, and remains in a state of distraction for extended periods. ANTIDOTE: Develop continuity of mindfulness during daily activities. Make more effort to be present and aware from moment to moment.
-comprehending the root-causes that prevent concentration and eliminating them;
Find what distracts you, and become more aware of them. This has two parts: observation during the day, and retrospection in the evening. Is it anxiety? Frustration? Thoughts of particular character? Conversations with others? In each case, develop the ability to recognize them when they are happening, and become aware throughout. This watchful cognizance will extend on its own into meditation.
-focusing on one thing and being able to get the answer in order to solve the problem, comprehend an ego, etc.

-ultimately, becoming a better person through this wisdom.
These two emerge once the others are in motion.

It is very effective to also practice exclusive concentration exercises (all senses shut, attention 100% on one thing) in short rounds: start with ten minutes at a time, and do this as much as you can throughout the day. If you can do this every hour, you will definitely see a difference quickly. Then later, you can gradually extend the time little by little.

It is important not to exhaust yourself with this effort: to develop concentration takes direction attention but also sustained effort. With patience and persistence you will develop this skill. I personally have witnessed many people who have succeeded, and the only ones who failed are the ones who gave up.

"Do not worry; cultivate the habit of being happy." - Samael Aun Weor

5 years ago
·
#14193
That is the problem - I am doing exactly everything what you suggest, but that doesn't bring any luck:
- Develop continuity of mindfulness during daily activities - I am trying to do that. Each time I am trying to remember myself and bring myself back whenever I notice distraction;
- Find what distracts you - I am also trying to do that, but unsuccessfully. It includes all kind of distractions - frustration, anxiety, desire, conversations, etc. all of that and I find them. So what? All this understanding without meditation is only on the intellectual level and it is very shallow and even if I find these distractions I am still trapped by them.
- Practice exclusive concentration in short rounds - I am doing this on a daily basis. The problem is that I started at 10 minutes and I haven't moved any further in 2 years. I am still doing short rounds 10-15 min and still get distracted during them.
All in all - what is the point to continue all this?
5 years ago
·
#14203
What concentration exercises are you using? What other practices are you doing?

"Do not worry; cultivate the habit of being happy." - Samael Aun Weor

5 years ago
·
#14204
I have tried a number of concentration practices:
- Anapana - focusing on the breath;
- focusing on a physical object with open eyes (zazen);
- focusing on a image through imagination (radiating sun, fire, sacred images and shapes, etc.);
- focusing on spaces between the thoughts;
- most recently - focusing on nothingness and using mantra WU mentally;

This is combined with continuous attempts to self-observe and self-remember. The major problem is that forget myself and become identified with internal and external distractions. Once I catch myself, I return to the object of concentration or self-remembering.

In the evening I try to do retrospection. The problem is that I do not get much comprehension out of this in relation my egos, root-causes of distractions, etc.

On a daily basis I also practice transmutation, runes and from time to time - Eucharist.
5 years ago
·
#14208
Accepted Answer
A basic facet of the mind, which repeated throughout both Western and Eastern contemplative traditions, as well as modern materialistic psychology, is that attention is trainable, and that attending and returning to an object of concentration quiets the mind and increases concentration.

The crossroads to reflect upon is whether (1) all of those traditions are wrong, (2) that you are especially unique and do not possess a trainable mind, (3) that your application of the method lacking in something, and/or that (4) your evaluation of progress is too rigid and superficial.

You might be making progress in ways you are not noticing. My advice is pay closer attention to the quality of your meditation practice through a written journal. Play closer attention to the qualities of your meditations. For example: Did you have 100% non-attention? Did you have 100% attention? What percentage would you give yourself? Is the percentage increasing or decreasing throughout the months? What mood were you in before the meditation? What mood are you now, based upon your self-evaluation of the meditation?

The only thing constant in life is change. No one stays the same, even if you are not meditating. Therefore, notice what is changing.

Yes, the intellect cannot give us profound knowledge, but we need to use the intellect appropriately in the beginning to know how to apply the practice, to evaluate the results of the practice, and to then more skillfully apply the practice again (and again and again….).

Some students want a perfect 15 minute meditation before they go seek a 20 minute meditation. This is laudable, but with very short meditations, my advice is to try lengthening it once you have some experience. Push yourself into 30 and then 45 minute meditations from time to time with a simple concentration practice. You may notice that only after 20 – 30 minutes do you reach greater levels of tranquility.

Do not abandon the practice – instead notice the qualities of that mind which wants to abandon the practice. Do that now, don’t wait for meditation. You must start to use your consciousness here and now. This is simple reflection. To say, “I don’t know” is to say, “I can’t use my consciousness.” This is a wrong approach. You have consciousness, therefore, you can know at the level of consciousness you have, right now. You are capable. Don’t wait for a future mind, don’t wait for meditation, do it now. Insight starts here and now in daily life.

Each level of concentration is achieved by using the level of consciousness present before it is achieved. Therefore, it is not a vicious circle. Because you have consciousness, you are capable. And don't forget it! ;)
5 years ago
·
#14209
Dear KH,

You have raised a very interesting perspective from a different angle - I never thought about some of these things before.

I would like to clarify some of the aspects additionally. Is there any way I can get back to you in private?
5 years ago
·
#14210
Sure, you can make a new post and mark it as private if you would like.
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