4

Sometimes during meditation (Vipassana), I've noticed how the mind tends to get back to breathing by itself, without effort. Can I consider this a progress in meditation? I know that it would be a hindrance to like this when it happens or to dislike when it doesn't happen.

The question is: does this say something about the mind? (I've been practicing daily for the last 9 months).

  • 1
    Are you happier in general? That's the only progress in meditation that matters. – R. Barzell Sep 3 '15 at 18:29
  • 1
    I'm happier, calmer, in general more serene, and I rarely get upset lately. Sometimes I feel a sense of joy when I think that I know what I have to do in every moment. In my question, I was more talking about formal meditation - I don't have anybody to talk to about my practice and maybe I don't have the right books to learn about specific things that I notice. Thank you all for your informative responses! – Anca Sep 4 '15 at 4:54
  • well the purpose of formal meditation is to improve the quality of your life in general. As such, I would caution against worrying about "progress" in formal meditation, as it can be counter-productive. There's a lot of nonsense written about meditation, and often, meditation "attainment" is used as some kind of badge, so these attainments could be more political than anything else. Then there's also the danger that if you start thinking in terms of "progress" you might lose the "beginner's" mind that keeps you open to phenomena. Progress is often the back door through which ego enters. – R. Barzell Sep 4 '15 at 12:53
  • Apropos badges and attainments, read Chogyam Trungpa's book on spiritual materialism. – Buddho Sep 9 '15 at 6:20
4

Returning to the object of noting sounds like Khanika Samadhi

Pure Vipassana yogis can appreciate and understand the power of Khanika concentration. For when their noting gains momentum, they can see for themselves how the noting goes on by itself uninterruptedly without a break. The noting seems to run on its own steam without any need for the yogi to make any concerted or deliberate effort. Thus, it is not unusual for a yogi to be able to sit for an hour, and even several hours, absorbed in noting. During good noting, especially at the insight knowledge of equanimity (sankhara-upekkhañana), the mind just stays put on its objects and refuses to wander. Even if one wants to send the mind out, it refuses to go and it recoils back to whatever Vipassana object it is noting. There have been cases of yogis being able to sit for six or seven hours in a stretch, or even longer. From this, one can deduce that there must be strength in Khanika concentration; otherwise how would yogis be able to sit in rapt concentration for such lengths of time.

http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/vip-jhana.html

2

A way to measure ones overall progress in the practice, is to see if the root defilements of "Greed, Hatred and Delusion" are either increased or decreased.

2

There are multiple measures of progress:

I deemphasize the last two in the list above for average or novice meditators.

Sometimes during meditation (Vipassana), I've noticed how the mind tends to get back to breathing by itself, without effort. Can I consider this a progress in meditation? I know that it would be a hindrance to like this when it happens or to dislike when it doesn't happen.

If you take the Five hindrances one is uddhacca-kukkucca. Uddhacca is restlessness or actively wondering mind. Staying with one object is abandoning uddhacca-kukkucca. Also it can be viewed as development of concentration which is a factor in many of these measures above.

Also keep in mind when you regularly think or try to measure your progress you regress in your meditation. You should do this very irregularly perhaps one or so in a few months otherwise this will itself lead to uddhacca-kukkucca.

The question is: does this say something about the mind?

You are developing concentration and coming out of restless worry hence some level of purification of the mind is happening.

0

Notice your mind, now feel your feet, did the quality of your mind change? Often, this is enough to see something. Rather than feeling your feet, which you can do, though you generally don't... or feeling your back, similarly, Zen practitioners simply feeling their 2nd chakra. Through that alone they appear to be able to reach the highest levels.

There is another style which feels the whole body. Having some awareness of the body allows the subtle-body to begin to form. This will over time help to release energy-blockages and eventually activate the whole energy system. The only requirement is to keep from "putting gasoline in the water tank" (aka, over-stimulating your system with non-stop entertainment, just to have to clear out everything put in), and keep from exhausting the energy-body as it builds up (aka, staying up to 3am every night, or non-stop sex, etc...).

As you progress along your experience of existing will, well..., it is tricky without a teacher to tell you that you've fallen back into old habits, or that you are doing well. But, once you are able to see how you drain yourself & cut that out, and how you "loose your center" so that you can get it back, you can make progress. The progress is to catch yourself doing something that makes you tired, and stop it, over time your energy increases (sealing up the holes in the water bucket, such as eating heavy meals).

You'll experience your system coming to life, then do something to back up a few steps, and you'll get there again... and avoid the things to pull you back, over time more and more progress towards another kind of existance...

  • Added line spaces to increase readability. Please roll-back if not agreeable. – Lanka Sep 5 '15 at 18:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.