Thread: Monkey Mind and More

  1. #1
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    Monkey Mind and More

    Have been practicing mindfulness meditation for a few months now and although it is not an extremely long amount of time, am wondering when the active monkey mind starts to settle down and the practice can deepen to another level. No frustration or hurry, more concern that progress is not being made or that am not doing something correctly.

    Can someone kindly explain the differences between the types of meditation? Have just about completed a book on vipassana and it doesn't seem much different that just focusing on the breath as am already doing. Perhaps it is just this book. Understand that there is concentration and insight meditation, but the latter - what was told to be vipassana - was not explained beyond what have already mentioned. Am simply confused.

    Suggestions on how to wean off of guided meditation sessions? Embarrassed to say, but much of what is practiced is done in this manner. It is getting annoying to a degree because a voice can sometimes break the concentration. Have ventured out to practice solo but this is where the monkey mind is most active. Can't seem to win either way though am still reaping benefit.

    Finally, would it be better to find a sangha regardless of affiliation to learn meditation and then venture into being more selective or should time be taken at the onset to find an appropriate center? An app lists 5 centers in the area. Of the 2 that have researched because of being indicated as Theravadan, turns out that they were incorrectly labeled. Leaves 3 to go given time.

    Thank-you for permitting these elementary queries. Coming from another tradition, this is a huge leap into something new yet exciting. Am enjoying the journey.

  2. #2
    Hi mcsfa,

    I wouldn't worry too much about having an active mind, it happens to us all!

    I recommend this little book about meditation by Ajahn Amaro, with the title "Finding the Missing Peace -A Primer of Buddhist Meditation". You can find some information about different meditation techniques in the first chapter "Posture and Focus".

    http://cdn.amaravati.org/wp-content/...jahn_Amaro.pdf

    As far as the various Buddhist centres are concerned, I think its best to check them out for yourself and see if they have regular meditation classes on offer. (Personally I would avoid anywhere that charges large sums of money, or that tries to push any beliefs/superstitions which feel uncomfortable).

    Feel free to send me a private message if you have any concerns about a centre you've visited, because I might have had the same experiences myself at some time or another!

    With metta,

    Aloka

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    Hi mcsfa1
    1. Monkey mind rarely quietens, even during meditation. Enjoy the rare occasions when it does slow down or stop! You will, however, start to notice an increasing control over it in time.
    2. Some say there are no differences, that you only ever need one meditation. But there are lots to choose from. Vipassana is about what you do to orient your meditation towards insight, using various techniques and passing through different stages. Mindfulness meditation focuses more on how you interact with others, and the results of what you do, samatha is to develop calmness, and so on. They each have things in common, and in the end it is the intention behind the meditation which is most important. Find one or two basic meditations that work for you, spend some time on these, and then you can move on.
    3.To wean off guided meditation, try using recordings of meditations that just use bells for each part of the meditation, and have no other noise. You could even set your smartphone to do the same thing, maybe starting with five minute intervals between bells then moving on to ten minutes, for a forty minute session.
    4.As to a Sangha, Aloka's advice is pretty good. There are lots of people out there who are more interested in their own agenda, rather than your individual needs.
    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Can someone kindly explain the differences between the types of meditation? Have just about completed a book on vipassana and it doesn't seem much different that just focusing on the breath as am already doing. Perhaps it is just this book. Understand that there is concentration and insight meditation, but the latter - what was told to be vipassana - was not explained beyond what have already mentioned. Am simply confused.
    If the breathing is observed continuously, this is concentration (samadhi). If the breathing & mind calms down (when it is observed), this is called tranquility (samatha). If the impermanence & not-self-nature of the breathing is clearly seen (when it is observed), this is called insight (vipassana).

    There is really no such thing as a difference between concentration & insight meditation. Tranquility (samatha) & insight (vipassana) are both fruits/results of concentration (samadhi) development.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsfa1 View Post
    Have ventured out to practice solo but this is where the monkey mind is most active.
    If the monkey mind is very active, it means there is a lack of mental control, training & wisdom. If this is the case, the monkey mind should be taken up as the object of meditation, in order to fulfil that part of the training. Managing the mind is part of the meditation training.

    For example, if there is a certain train/theme of thought occurring, the meditator should start to investigate that train/theme of thought with a particular goal of discerning the inappropriateness of those thoughts, in terms of either timeliness (i.e., meditation is not the time to have these thoughts) or unskilfulness (i.e., examine if the thoughts are contrary to the Dhamma and are harmful).

    MN 19 provides an example of how the Buddha-To-Be addressed the monkey mind: https://suttacentral.net/en/mn19

    In Buddhist meditation, the meditator should be open & willing to deal with all mind objects as aspects of meditation.

    Also, ensure your sitting posture is straight & comfortable.

    Kind regards


  5. #5
    Forums Member justusryans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    If the breathing is observed continuously, this is concentration (samadhi). If the breathing & mind calms down (when it is observed), this is called tranquility (samatha). If the impermanence & not-self-nature of the breathing is clearly seen (when it is observed), this is called insight (vipassana).

    There is really no such thing as a difference between concentration & insight meditation. Tranquility (samatha) & insight (vipassana) are both fruits/results of concentration (samadhi)

    This is how I understand vipassana/insight meditation to be. There are some good teachers out there, you just have to look. Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Sharen Salzburg, to name a few. You can also try Ajahn Chah or Ajahn Sumedho

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