Thread: Meditation experience and understanding

  1. #1

    Meditation experience and understanding

    Dear friends,

    Do you meditate? If so, what has been your most significant meditation experience, if any ?

    In general, do you feel that you have benefited from your practice - or are you having difficulties? ?

    (Please mention the type of meditation that you practice).

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Previous Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Sacramento, CA USA
    Yes, I do and have for many years though there have been periods when my mediation practice has been informal and irregular, but I ‘sit’ most evenings.

    My ‘regular’ mediation practice is shikantaza, often using the breath to ‘settle’. If I use the breath, I don’t count, except on occasion when I count “one, one, one”; otherwise I get attached to counting.

    I sometimes (rarely) use mantras, have ‘sat’ with koans (when I began sitting I used “Mu”), and have practiced “jhana meditation”. I’ve tried 'noting' (too busy for me), scanning (I’m awful at this), and visualizations (I can’t).

    I don’t know what has been my “most significant meditation experience”. I have experienced the jhanas (but those are not awakening) and many ‘small’ insights, but no anuttara-samyak-sambodhi (unexcelled perfect awakening).

    Perhaps the “most significant meditation experience” was my first. I was in my early 20’s and was struggling with a self-inflicted torment, an ‘inner dissatisfaction’ which I didn’t understand. The issue seemed to be that I didn’t know who or what I was – I didn’t know the ‘real me’. And I didn’t know how to resolve this. Philosophy and psychology didn’t seem to hold the answer, and I didn’t know anyone I felt comfortable talking to about what I was experiencing. So I sat alone with it – night after night, for weeks, and then months. I couldn’t ignore it; I was like a dog chasing its tail, but I was trying to “grasp my mind”. Then one night I experienced a breakthrough – a sudden stillness, a quietness; it was as if I had stepped off the tormenting round of thoughts and onto an unmoving center point. And I experienced profound relief.

  3. #3
    Forums Member Esho's Avatar
    Under the Bodhi Tree
    I practice Zazen and I am developing a peaceful mind.

  4. #4
    Forums Member Thinker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    I use basic breath meditation, normally take four deeper breaths then I enter gently and watch thought come and go,have been trying metta and I think it a lovely practice:

  5. #5
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    London UK
    Thinker - Thank you for that link to Bhikkhu Analayo's guided Metta meditation. I shall go back to it from time to time.

  6. #6
    Forums Member JadeRabbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    About 5 years ago, I sat with a Soto Zen group, who taught 'shikantaza', and realised that is the practice I've been doing for the past 15 years, despite trying other types of meditation such as 'samatha' or 'vipassana'. If anyone asks now, I say I just sit Zazen.

    It's helped my practice to let go of searching for significant experiences and strip meditation back to just sitting.

    I've not had any special experiences or sudden awakenings while sitting. Any insight I've gained has been off the cushion, and has happened at completely random times - not when especially quiet or walking in nature, for instance. However, they have been very significant and personal to me such as knowing and understanding exactly why my best friend committed suicide when he was 21.

  7. #7
    Global Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    I tried out many different types of meditation as an experiment before I took up Buddhism. The worst experience was trying to contact past selves (this was a time ago and didn't end well). The best was after I started going to the Buddhist centre and went retreat with them. I was working on mindfulness of breathing when suddenly felt that I was no longer the one doing the breathing and I became more of a conduit for the breath. Best because it was the first of a number of 'interesting' meditation experience in the good sense of the word, and encouraged me to stay with a couple of basic meditations for a while: Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana.

  8. #8
    Forums Member.
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by Laura lou View Post
    Sorry...I wasn’t thinking.
    Yes, there are many different types of meditation, even in Buddhism.

    Depending on the school of Buddhism, meditation is done in a variety of ways, as you mentioned, including focusing on sound rather than one's breath (I too like this pocus), and walking meditation, which is part of Thich Nhat Hanh's Zen tradition.

    Have you checked out Tara Brach's website,, or her Youtube page? She offers a variety of meditations, which she guides. She is a Buddhist in the Insight Tradition, and has a lot of down-to-earth wisdom.
    Last edited by lisehull; 28 Oct 20 at 17:36.

  9. #9
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Victoria, Virginia
    Actually, we are not far from where Tara Brach does her teachings every week... well respectively! We would like to go but our car just turned 200,000 miles and needs a little work. Simple things, but they add up, before I would make that trip. It’s about three hour’s to three and a half hours to where she teaches at from where we live. Yes, we are familiar with her. I have a couple of her books.

  10. #10
    Forums Member KathyLauren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Nova Scotia
    How do I meditate? Very poorly.

    It is not for lack of practice. I have been doing it for about 40 years. But everyone says that what matters is not so much what happens while you are meditating as much as the fact that you keep doing it every day. So I do, every day.

    Mostly, I do mindfulness meditation, focusing on my breath. I use the term "focusing" loosely. That is my intention, but not what usually happens. More often, it is monkey-mind.

    Before starting on my mindfulness session, I recite the Heart Sutra. This is a way of satisfying various commitments, and it helps to give the session a bit of focus.

    Om mani padme hum

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