This is my blog about meditation, philosophy and awakening. I wear many hats in my life—my living is as a computer geek, but I have been interested in meditation and insight for the past twenty-five years, and studied Buddhism and awakening in several traditions before turning to modern research on the topic. I write quite a bit about this topic in various places around the Internet; this blog is a place for me to gather some of the things I've written and share them with my friends. Welcome! I hope that what I've written here is of some value to you.
You thought you were meditating to get more focused, or calm, or whatever, and suddenly some anger, frustration, sadness or self-hatred wells up while you are sitting, and you think "what's gone wrong with my meditation?"
I talked about magical thinking in an earlier post; perhaps I should have said wishful thinking instead. Thinking that things will just take care of themselves, that I don’t have to do any work, or any thinking, this is wishful thinking. Imagining that a result will come with no effort. Thinking that your teachers are infallible is actually an example of this kind of thinking. To succeed in the practice, we have to take responsibility for our own success, and not put it on someone or something else.
When we see the world as we wish it were, and not as it is, we weaken our ability to actually make that wish a reality, and make ourselves suffer in the bargain. It is possible to reach a state of mind where we can accept what is and work from there; in doing so, we become much more effective and also much happier.
We tend to get confused between philosophy and practice, as if they are both the same thing, as if, if we knew enough philosophy, that would in itself lead to happiness. But philosophy is a companion to practice, not practice itself.
I've mentioned the stages of meditation a number of times, and I just wanted to give a quick overview of the early stages for reference.
Realizing you are stuck is really a variant on knowing where you are, and knowing where you hope to go. If you know where you are, and you haven't gotten any closer to where you want to go, that's a sign that you are stuck.
The more you try to make it happen, the less it happens. So how is it possible to do anything at all to bring about change?
there's this little voice inside that has expectations, that thinks "my meditation should be this way" or "why isn't it working" or "man, I am great at this!"