What its like to Meditate for an Hour

in meditation •  7 months ago

I'm in the midst of the longest stretch of regular meditation I've ever practiced. For a few weeks now I've been meditating for an hour every night. Actually, it's almost April, maybe longer than a few weeks. I'm not really sure.

The style I'm currently practicing is called Anapana. It involves observing the natural flow of breath. Specifically right at the place where it enters and exits the nose. One of the benefits of Anapana meditation is the development of concentration, which is essential for the practice of a variety of other meditation practices. That is not the primary purpose of it, however.

Just Observe, Just Observe

During meditation, my purpose is to observe the breath. Not to control it, or direct it, just to observe. Throughout this process, the mind wanders. When the mind wanders observe that as well.

An important point is to not cling to pleasurable thoughts and sensations, and not to resist the unpleasant thoughts and sensations. When thoughts arise, notice them, and then remember the breath. When you experience an uncomfortable sensation, do not resist, simply observe. Occasionally, pleasant sensations occur. It's just as important to not cling to these pleasurable sensations, as to not oppose the unpleasant ones.

Sitting

I sit cross-legged on a cushion to raise my sitting position slightly above the level where my legs rest on the floor. That helps me retain good posture and keep the body fixed in place, yet still relaxed.

Now, I'm sitting, observing my breath... three breaths later my mind drifts off. I might even be thinking about what I'll write in this post. After a while, I notice that I'm thinking, and remember the breath. I'm not trying to make the thought go away. However, when I'm focusing on the breath, the thought drifts away on its own.

This time I might remember the breath for 7 or 8 counts, drift away a bit, then come back to the breath for a while.

Just Observe, Just Observe

All types of thoughts and sensations arise and then pass away. The work of the day, my deepest regrets, my darkest fears, my aspirations, hopes, dreams, failures... some of everything, whatever is floating around my mind. It's all there, just observe.

Around the half hour point, my body starts to get stiff, and I usually grab a drink of water, stretch a bit to let my bones crackle. Not technically supposed to, but whatever. I'm developing a practice, and it's a significant commitment. Much needed in my life. I need the discipline, the healthy habit, the focus and clarity of mind that this can bring, and beyond.
Now that I've been practicing for a few weeks, I'm getting better at staying focused on the breath. When I'm doing that, it feels like my whole being turns on. I can feel the energy rippling around me. Just observe, just observe. That too arises and then passes away.

Sitting and trying to focus on one point, where your breath enters and exits the body, for an hour is a long time. Whenever it seems like I've been sitting for a long time, and it must almost be over, there are 20 minutes left. Another "really long" amount of time passes. Ten minutes left.

More and more of the time, I'm staying with the breath, which seemed impossible when I tried before. I've gone to 10 day silent retreats, where all you do is meditate for 10 or 11 hours a day, an hour at a time. I never got as good at staying concentrated on the breath as I am now. Even still, I'm not that good at it.

Clinging to our Desires is the Root of all Suffering

That's part of the belief system that revolves around the practice. Among The Four Nobel Truths of Buddhism, and something I didn't want to believe before. Even if it's true, I thought, isn't that the point of life? Get what you want, then suffer. Don't get what you want, and then suffer some more... You don't need to believe it to benefit from the practice.

I resisted letting go of attachment to my desires. Desires are, well, desirable. I guess I've finally suffered enough to get the point.

Of course, I haven't kept all of the suffering to myself. No, that's not how suffering works. We tend to share our suffering with the people in our lives.

Clinging to my desires is the root of all of my suffering.

Resisting the idea of an undesireable future (fear) is futile, and counter productive.

Clinging to the idea of a unattainable future (resistance) is futile, and counter productive.

Wanting what I don't have, not wanting what I do have... futility, frustration, suffering.

So here I am, trying to move beyond an attachment to my desire. It reminds me of cryptocurrency in a way. Of course, blockchain technology could solve all types of problems in the world. Except that everything about the way our world is designed to revolve around a corrupt power structure, and we're addicted to it. That power structure is quite resistant to relinquishing it's power, also.

Anyways... I'll find some pictures, run this text through Grammarly, have a smoke, sit for an hour, and then watch cartoons until I fall asleep.

<3

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anapanasati

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Ah, yes, lots of cushions; made myself so comfy that I fell asleep during an all-night zazen! The other monks teased me in the morning, but at least I didn't snore.

Actually, nowadays I just sit on a chair in Taoist posture - I need my knees for walking.

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What's the taoist posture?

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Just sitting on a chair, like this image (just over half way down the article): https://aaaummm.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/taoist-yoga-and-the-microcosmic-orbit/

I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying and gaining traction through meditation. Attachment really does mess with the soul. That was also a major hurdle for myself coming into the new year.

I like to think that I am attached to the future, and anything else is dynamically in flux. So it's called Anapana?

I actually do this specific type of meditation! Given, I only do it to help set me up for sleeping. I observe only my breath, and after a while- It's automatic and I'm not controlling through conscious effort. Next, I allow thoughts to come in and out without attaching feeling or opinions to them.

The only thoughts we are responsible for are indeed the ones we are attached to. At first it was difficult, randomly thinking about weird or destructive shit here and there. The I learned to just watch the thoughts come and go, just impressions.

As I get closer to sleeping, those thoughts begin to become an ever-changing picture, then scenes. Sometimes I shock back awake, or fall asleep from here.

Again- Meditation is amazing! While I may not start out with an hour right off the bat, 20 minutes at a time can really benefit me!

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yeah, well... my mind is tattered... an hour isn't enough for me. but an hour a day, for life? well, it can surely only help

I’ve never heard of Anapana, sounds great! Definitely following your blog. I’m also writing on meditations, feel free to check out my blog and also my followed list for some resources that may may be useful. Enjoy!

When I read your " Just observe " I heard the hard voice of S N Goenka, a Vipassana Teacher in my hears ^^
I am also trying to meditate. Not so easy. But I will keep trying and trying until it works :-)
Good luck with it.

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have you done the 10 day retreat?

Having the discipline to meditate is hard, but hitting rock bottom in life is harder...

How is it like to meditate for an hour?

Judging by my experience it's 1 hour sitting at the same spot trying not to think your legs are getting numb, your back is itchy, you must sneeze etc... :P

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yeah, all that stuff too :)

"Clinging to my desires is the root of all of my suffering." what a powerful post!


I am doing just this part: "I'll find some pictures, run this text through Grammarly, have a smoke, sit for an hour, and then watch cartoons until I fall asleep." love u friend.

I also meditate every day. It's been over a year since I've started doing it. I as well try to focus on the breath, but thoughts can be quite distracting! After like 20 minutes pass, it starts feeling like my body slowly dissapears. It feels so good, but I know I shouldn't focus on the feeling. I just have to observe, but sometimes it's hard!

Wow I admire you, to be so long in one position and completely relaxed and still is a lot for me, I am too restless, besides that if I spend time in that position when I stop, it would hurt my whole body. :(

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just observe... there is some discomfort involved.

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I imagine that with daily practice that discomfort is disappearing and your body is adapting.

Nice, so happy for the constant practice!!! That's such a great way to establish a new habit that is so rewarding in long term. I've been into constant meditation practice for an over a year now, every single day different types of meditations and kriyas. Love it, has totally changed my life and I'd never go back to have it any other way :)

I've "tried" meditating quite a few times, but my mind doesn't wonder off after a couple of breaths, it wonders off after (or even during) the first breath. Also, in a classic meditation sitting position my back feels uncomfortable immediately and starts to hurt after a couple of minutes.

Today, I'll try meditating for an hour in a lying position and see how that goes. Thank you for the inspiration, @inquiringtimes.

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Do you ever try sitting on a cushion and have your back rested against a sofa or wall? It's one of the ways to prolong the meditation, rest your lower back so you feel comfortable and can sit for longer :) Have an awesome meditation :)

When the student is ready, the student will realize watching the cartoons is the same the sitting and observing the breathing. I bet your mind does just about the same things during both. Point being, the state of awareness eventually won't need the induced environmental assistance.

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Cartoons are like a junk food babysitter, where meditation is more like disciplined athletic training... I don't expect to "arrive" to a place where I don't need it... Much like our bodies need exercise more the older we get "use it or lose it"...

Anyways.. I've got a long road ahead of me... I'm near the entry level of my mental training

There are so many things that run through ones mind when meditating. So many insights and inspirations.

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

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Its very good to mediate ,it relieves so much burden from you and make you feel light-headed.Nice post.

great content!

Oh'yes Is it true that sitting in one place for one or two hour,then the whole body is pain.I observed this and it happened to me.