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I find that the biggest block in my practice is the will to reach a good state. There's constantly an expectation from the experience to be good. I found that only by letting this go you can truly reach a good state, but its very hard to let this go. Countless sittings are wasted on this.

How can I learn to let go of this need?

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Great question, one that I struggled with for years as well. The fact that you recognize this issue means that you are already well on your way, sadhu.

What eventually worked for me is this: Simply be present with what's actually happening, and be mindful of any thought that arises, any feeling, any subtle pushing, any subtle leaning in, any expectation, etc.

Once mindfulness touches these things, they lose their power and dissipate with your wise attention. See them, and upon seeing know they are not worth clinging to, they are impermanent, unsatisfying, and not you. They will fade on their own. Watching these objects rise and fall, you'll realize deeply that clinging to past or future experience is suffering. It's just another object to let go of.

In your next sitting, see if you can note the arising expectations. See with the lense of the Three Characteristics, and then letting go happens naturally.

Accept today's meditation as it is, there are no failed meditations. Surrender with Equanimity to all objects.

Another trick is overcome your attachment to piti. Once you are feeling good in meditation, reset, unplugging the rapture. Reinforce that getting lost in "good experiences" is just like being absorbed in a wandering mind. Return to your primary meditation object.

Do not stop within. Sharpen your mindfulness. Once reasonably still, increase your mindfulness power and see reality at a finer grain. With wise attention even expectations can be let go of.

Sadhu & Good Luck. -with Metta

  • Thanks for the advice. Yes, getting lost in rapture is also suffering. I felt that I just couldn't sustain it because its so intense. It sort of hurts because its so strong. Is it your experience also? – Matan Tsuberi Jul 20 at 15:51
  • I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes the intensity of the rapture feels unbearable. Some theorize that this happens when you're purifying a lot at once, as though the recycle bin of your mind was really full and emptying a full one feels intense. It will subside with continued mindfulness. Continue to watch it without judgement and soon it will give way to Equanimity and great peace and contentment. The meditation will become refined, deep, and subtle. So see the rapture has a good sign post, and let it go and on to the next stage! ;) – Sun WuKong Jul 21 at 0:59
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Great question ,this is actually a fallacy that ,I myself experienced after reaching long periods of bliss during meditation .What you are experiencing is called rapture,you started off well in meditation without expectation then when the blissful feeling came, instead of meditating on it, you became enchanted by it and thus wanted to have it back but you cant have it because you started desiring it,falling back in the loop of desire> attachment> suffering.

What I had realized on the experiential level,is that there is no where to go in meditation ,I am already there ,all what I need to experience ,I am already experiencing.I realized that each experience whatever it is can be an object of meditation , a door way to end suffering.....Now If I cannot reach a certain state then the reality is ,,that I cannot reach it :).. knowing that right know and meditating on this reality by itself solves the problem.The quality of not reaching you cannot accept, you have an attitude towards it.When you accept not reaching the state you will transcend this thought.Then the state will come out of no where,its a state of connection with existence.

See the issue meditation is trying to solve is not to keep you in a spiritual high,but to make you less possessed by things as well as not making you disinterested in life.Thus if you totally accept life as it is ,with its bad states as well as its good then you have understood the way.

I recommend Vipassana meditation.Don't try in it to reach any state ,whatever you experience is your reality.No need to go anywhere or force any action.

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What does one expect by meditation?

Householder, only when Drawbacks (adinava) are seen, one turns to Renunciation (nekkhamma).

Meanwhile simply right effort.

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong resolve & to enter into right resolve: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong speech & to enter into right speech: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one's right effort...

"One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort."

One seeing that there is no refuge in a home, one is able to go forth, outwardly also to develop what right effort is target about, as soon as seeing the limits.

(Note that this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks, entertainment and akusala deeds, but as a share of merits and to continue such for release)

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To cultivate the will to do something (anything, no matter how trivial), you must understand why that thing you want to do is important or urgent to do. In other words, you must understand how you view the world (i.e. you must understand "your" ideas, expectations, and beliefs about the world, its parts, the relation between its parts and your role in such framework) in order to comprehend what your values are. Your values are born from your world-view, and indicate the things/facts/entities/events/ideas that you consider worthwhile.

Once you undestand deeply this theory of how emotions work, then you can start to see how "our" will operates: we do things when we are convinced that effort is worth being invested in the things done.

Now, the next step is to "convince" your emotions and values about the importance of letting go. To do so, you have to integrate new information about the Dhamma, and why letting go is such and important part of the path. This information can be reached by your own constant reflection and thoughts; by studying the suttas; or by listening or reading from other students/disciples of the Buddhadhamma.

To being able to let go, first you have to learn, at least theoretically, that feelings, perceptions, and thoughts are not "yours", neither "you". They are, instead, just habitual mental patterns, born from ignorance (i.e., from ignoring the Dhamma). Once you stop identifying with feelings, perception and thoughts, you will be able to start seeing them just by what they are: inertial habits of thought. Then, letting go becomes the natural progression, almost a by-product of all previous reflection and learning.

This "by-product" is the result of various factors interacting with each other. How to cultivate such factors? The Noble Eightfold Path help us to train each one of them. The key idea to keep in mind is that the training is gradual and progressive. The release of the mind takes its time, and goes according to the effort put into the practice of the whole Eightfold Path. As your emotions get reasons and evidence of the truth behind the Buddhadhamma, then your deeds will gradually go towards where this new emotional evidence/inormation leads you: liberation.

In sum, to exert effort is to have the will to take some course of action. But to have that will, you must have conviction of the relevance of such course of action in which you'll put your effort. That conviction grows from progressive understanding of the Dhamma.

Because of all the above, it is said that Right View is the forerunnner of the practice. See in this link for more details.

Have a wonderful day.

Kind regards!

  • So focus on the three characteristics instead of trying to let go and then letting go will happen automatically. I'll try that. – Matan Tsuberi Jul 20 at 9:20
  • How can you bring effort to the practice without will? – Matan Tsuberi Jul 20 at 9:30
  • I updated again! – Brian Díaz Flores Jul 20 at 9:36
  • I think the will your'e talking about is the will to let go of attachments. At the end of the path though you must drop this also. – Matan Tsuberi Jul 20 at 9:38
  • To interrupt... "So focus on the three characteristics instead..." householder @MatanTsuberi: NO First Things First -> Samvega, 1. Noble Truth, Right View. – Samana Johann Jul 20 at 9:54
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you are lucky that the buddha had the same problem. His solution is nekhammasukha https://suttacentral.net/an2.64-76/en/sujato and this is not normal for puthujjanas. In fact it is this lack of nekhammasukha which prevents people who hate nekkhammasukha to actually progress on the path.

His solution is this

[1] “Then the thought occurred to me: ‘If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there’s the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.’

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN9_41.html

this stuff about seeing the drawbacks of something works well for non-puthujjanas, because what they lack is mostly energy and they have at worst a tiny bit of wisdom, perhaps even puthujjanas who have faith in the claims of the buddha, but for others, they have to ponder over those

"I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened bodhisatta, saw as it actually was with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, but as long as I had not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, I did not claim that I could not be tempted by sensuality. But when I saw as it actually was with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and I had attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, that was when I claimed that I could not be tempted by sensuality. "And what is the drawback of sensuality? There is the case where, on account of the occupation by which a clansman makes a living — whether checking or accounting or calculating or plowing or trading or cattle tending or archery or as a king's man, or whatever the occupation may be — he faces cold, he faces heat, being harassed by mosquitoes & flies, wind & sun & creeping things, dying from hunger & thirst.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.014.than.html

lots of contemplation here too https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.060.than.html

  • "The better of these two kinds of happiness is happiness free of rapture." - This is interesting. I noticed that when I fully let go, there does seem to be a sort of rapture that is so immense that it prevents me from seeing things clearly and being mindful. I guess there's attachment for this too. Letting this go as well may let in a much more balanced joy. – Matan Tsuberi Jul 20 at 11:25
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Countless sittings are wasted on this. Ouch! 🤯

Although it's nice to have a clean windshield, the best time to clean a windshield is when it's dirty. Practice is kind of like that. We look for the things that cause suffering and renounce them. Here's MN8:

It’s possible that a certain mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, might enter and remain in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. They might think they’re practicing self-effacement. But in the training of the noble one these are not called ‘self-effacement’;

For example, if you are restlessly and impatiently striving for a "good meditation", that itself is something to look into. And what you might find is a delight in good meditation.

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