One thing I've learned through extensive sitting practice (living in a monastery, sitting for 10+ hours a day, 2-3 hours at a time), along with a serious physical-training practice, is that the sitting position is actually, physically demanding.
Longest being 3ish hours, sitting on a rock in the jungle covered in ants.....
In my opinion, sitting meditation is taught WAY too soon for the majority of the population; being that the majority of people haven't yet developed the physical strength to hold themselves in an upright position for even 30 minutes at a time....
I've had a yoga practice for years, but since I've started a serious calisthenics strength training program, with the requiste core work involved, that finally, my ability to sit. still. is no longer a fight against my body, or finding the right posture, but merely a matter of turning my attention to the breathing.
This being the case, I highly recommend two things. One, find a movement meditation like qi gong to begin learning how to focus on 'gross' sensations, before attempting to artificially fix the awareness on subtle-sensations your body is in all seriousness most likely not ready for and
Two. start engaging with your body in a disciplined way, Calithestincs style bodyweight strength training does it for me; as the high-neural-intensity focus requirements of the isometeric holds are a meditation in themselves.
One thing to keep in mind, is that the vast majority of the 'spiritual' wisdom we have available to us, comes to us in a package that is ripe for consuming- meaning it's advertised in a format that appeals to the desires/ideas of the consumer, ideas which in all likelihood have been transmitted to us because of their 'image' value and not necessarily because of their efficacy value- Here, case in point, the idea of 'sitting meditation' in lotus posture, or some such.... The image appeals to our idea of 'spirituality' or whatever..... the idea of having to spend half a year or more of actually getting the body prepared for such meditation.... not so much....
I recall reading somewhere, (i could swear it was in iyengars light on yoga,a but ive seriosuly re-skimmed it a few times looking for this passage with no luck) that traditionally, sitting meditation was not taught until after asana was mastered. Not This asana, or that asana, but ASANA, that is the full body of traditional hatha yoga posture work. That's saying alot.
You say your intention is one hour a day of sitting meditation..... It's a (relatively) serious goal- But it hints at something else to me, which is sort of of the same nature as 'It's my intention to make 100,000 dollars' might be to a more specific, unstated intention which might be 'The land I wish to buy is 100,000 dollars, thus, the intention isn't actually making 100,000 dollars but instead its purchasing the land you love....
In this case. the question becomes, what does sitting for an hour a day bring you?
I see "
Lots of great info! Thank you, I have been periodically (as in a couple times a week) engaging in a 10~15 minute period of trying to sit in total silence and acheive a sort of "absence of thought" sort of state. I have a very busy mind that often feels like I cannot control things such as my focus due to intrusive thoughts that interrupt said focus.. then comes the repeating of information and it's just really frustrating to deal with especially considering I don't have access to my preferred medication.
Another thing to keep in mind.... And this is related a bit to what I said above.... Consider really, any hobby or activity you partake in- if you have the ability to focus on it for more than say an hour, you're likely to have realized that regardless of activity, there's a 'warm up period'.... meditation is no different. 10-15 minutes is never going to be outside of this warm up period- so attempting to get 'thoughtless' within that amount of time, is just, well It's not going to happen without years of experience learning how to work the gear shift of the mental-states.
Recognizing this, and allowing for it creates some breathing room with the frustration; as it recognizes that entering into these deep-focus states is not a light switch thing, but rather a 'light gradually dawning' type of thing.
I'll one more time recommend physical activitty, though this time in light of specific sequencing of meditation practice- After a good exercise session, the body is READY to sink into a meditation; as the nerves have been rightly exhausted- it's far far easier to sit still after giving the system a good run-through. Again, calithestnics style training is especially great due to the nervous requirements of the isometrics- I am literally incapable after a good session of doing any high-level thinking; theres no space/energy left for chatter-brain to do any chattering. .... but really any good exercise should do this, runnning , swimming whatever your into.
Oh, also the holistic-naturopath me desires to point out that obviously, your diet has a huge influence on the relative state of your mind as well.....
Edited by Severian, 18 November 2021 - 11:11 AM.