Author Topic: TM style mantra meditation  (Read 16607 times)

Kisen

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2018, 01:00:42 PM »

You are allowed to "notice" it. When it is being noticed, the right brain is letting it go. These are actually tiny "microwinds" of fascia around the facial nerves (and they connect down into the rest of the body). Their letting go is often unpleasant due to the emotional nature of the facial nerves.

So many have accumulated over one's life that they can take a long time to thin out. I believe these winds unwinding are what Daniel Ingram and other meditators are noticing as "jerky body movements" (Shinzen Young calls them kriyas, and makes a special mention of the strange face shapes that can occur).

Noticing them does get intense sometimes but you need to accept this as part of the process. It ALWAYS passes, as you found out next...


I've tried just being with the tension but it feels like it mostly just increases and stays there, even well after the meditation session has ended. It makes me hesitant because I start to think of meditation as something unpleasant.

Quote
You may be fascinated to read the following conversation also describing this experience: http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/caffeine-dream-hack/#comment-89521

Thanks for the read, I found it extremely interesting and familiar!

Quote
What I have noticed recently from NDM is that even the left-brain intentions to control things like the facial tightness/unwinding are in fact just impulses within the causal chain. So, they get revealed as having no "self" or intention behind them; the thoughts are a result of the process that is going on. You can notice this by noticing that when the tightness increases the thoughts increase too. But then both can suddenly be gone as quickly as they came.

What I have noticed is that if I start with a few minutes of concentration meditation where I repeat a two-syllable mantra with no pauses (so no thoughts come in), at a certain point, most of my tension just drops along with a mildly pleasant feeling, mantra becomes quieter and thoughts slow down (like a sudden shift) and can then transition to an easy listening mode. This is similar to the breathing meditation without leaving gaps from LuminousBliss.

If I start immediately with doing nothing, I cannot seem to keep up with my mind.

The concentration method followed by NDM gives me a good mood afterwards as well.

Thanks!

Illuminatus

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2018, 04:39:57 PM »
Follow what feels good then! Everyone is different.

Kisen

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2018, 06:51:21 AM »
I think I have got the hang of NDM.

I let the mantra arise in my head, typically as a faint feeling rather than a sound, which keeps pulsing in the background.

While doing so, I stay alert and be aware of the mantra. If I notice that I am getting distracted, the realization brings me back to hearing the mantra, over and over and over again.

I can feel myself getting progressively more relaxed the more I do this, to the point where I do not feel like getting up. My sessions are typically 15 minutes but I wish to increase this.

One problem I usually run into is trying to see if I should try and make more effort to stay with the mantra but I notice this as a thought and go back to the mantra.

Arpan

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2018, 07:16:48 AM »
@ Kisen:
1. Wherever I might seem to have stated "Do Nothing" and "Think the Mantra" in same senstence I meant: Do Nothing except thinking the mantra. Do Nothing is meant to convey, gentleness, non striving, or as you very aptly state: Non Forcing. Which brings me to my 2nd point,
2. You say that you envision loudspeakers saying the mantra for you loudly. How on earth is that in consonance with my instructions ? I never said anything about briging in such thoughts Or about Loudly saying/hearing it. Whole emphasis of the guide was on "gentleness".
3. As for tensions in your system and other discomforts:
You need to look into your motives for meditation practice first. If you are doing it for a goal, especially masculine/yang goal of improving concentration, gaining bliss etc. then NDM is not for you, because that goal will itself become a censorious thought-form that would keep judging your experience in meditation. All these things do come, but, as you rightly inferred, when you stop actively thinking/striving for them. Femimine/yin goals like I stated here:
 http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/forum2/mantra-chanting/tm-style-mantra-meditation/msg408/#msg408

would be less of a hindrance, though not having goals is best. This, as you can see, shows that the mindset needed is: all experienced are okay. Bliss is not higher or lower than an agitated state, or concentration higher or lowet than a distracred state.
4. Your main issue seems to be: how to intentionally not think ?
This is a classical problem newbies ask Zen masters. Answer is: by "non thinking",  not by "not thinking". Let's understabd the difference:
A.  Not thinking:  you actively try to suppress thoughts. Bit for that you need to have the "thought" of suppressing thoughts. This is counterproductive.
B. Non thinking: you are unconcerned with whether your mind thinks or not. You don't suppress thought, nor indulfe in them, nor be on a watchout to prevent indulgence. If you find that you are induging, relax down again. Note that every "intention/action" in mind has a physical correlate in form of a tension. This physical tension is the key. As your practice matures, this tension release would come naturally by just your awareness of it.
All the fascial tensions you are having are "ingrained effortfulness". If you read by discussion with Illuminatus above, it would become clear to you as to.how they get resolved and "effortlessness" changes its meaning for you. You will find newer and newer levels of effort to be released, the deeper you go exactly like an angry man suddenly realizing that his fist is clenched. Though you must wait fir the awareness to arise abd not work on just a theoretical knowledge of it and try to "release" the tensions.
5. Your issue about "I start feeling meditation is something unpleasant". Well, no process of sslf-improvement would be rosy at all stages. Meditation is no different, it alternates in its experience like anything. You have to accept this if you wanna progress. Else, you are again briging in your expections.
6. As for your questions:
A) No need to put full attention, why try harder than instructed ? If you end up Trying while doing it effortlessly, then that's how your ingrained habits are currently, no issues. Key is: when you feel you are doing something, as clearly as holding up your hand, just relax, give it up. You need not worry about anything that's not in your control. Basically, take this attitude:
Everything is allowed. Though when I find myself doing something hard, why do it.
To experience the above: forget mantra, just sit for 20 min. Dont worry about doing or not doing, effort or effortlessness. Just sitting is the only thing asked.
Once you have done it, then in next session: just sit and listen to the fan or some other gentle periodic sound in your environment.

B) Yeah, forget about the tension. Also, as I said, mantra is allowed to do its thing. Why have an issue if its pulsating in your cheek.
Lastly, if your method in this post of yours:
 http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/forum2/mantra-chanting/tm-style-mantra-meditation/msg431/#msg431

is working, well and good!

Edit: You posted again while I was typing the above text. My reply to your new post:
...the realization brings me back to hearing the mantra, over and over and over again.

I can feel myself getting progressively more relaxed the more I do this...
Bingo!

One problem I usually run into is trying to see if I should try and make more effort to stay with the mantra but I notice this as a thought and go back to the mantra.
You solved the problem yourself.
There might be some effortfulness in the process still, but you don't need to concern yourself with it. You are on track, the process will take care of itself.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 07:24:58 AM by Arpan »

Arpan

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2018, 08:54:44 AM »
So many have accumulated over one's life that they can take a long time to thin out. I believe these winds unwinding are what Daniel Ingram and other meditators are noticing as "jerky body movements" (Shinzen Young calls them kriyas, and makes a special mention of the strange face shapes that can occur).
-----------------------------
What I have noticed recently from NDM is that even the left-brain intentions to control things like the facial tightness/unwinding are in fact just impulses within the causal chain.

Re Kriyas: these fascial unwindings are just the very first manifestations of kriyas. Actual kriyas(including various hand mudras), badhanams(hath yogic body locks) and even asanas were actually positions taken by the body as pranic flow realigns itself in better ways during deep meditative absorptions. They were noted down so as to "reverse engineer" samadhi for hyper active newbies by first putting their bodies in these positions. Even certain Indian classical dances(especially Bharatnatyam) were devised for physically hyper active people of a creative temperament, to literally "dance them into Enlightenment". Shiva is considered to be the best of dancers(Nataraja form of Shiva is very popular).
(Some asanas though were copied from animals to stimulate similar healthy impact on the body).

Re Left Brain(some musings):
Highest Fractal level:
This is what I was trying to point out when I said NDM is the underlying Mother Attitude. Indeed more yin(right brained) a person/culture is, more enduring and gentle he/it is. More Yang a culture/person, more triumphant-in-the-moment. If you notice, all cultures which have survived a few millenia are either yin or start becoming yin, while those that insist on yang come to a sticky end(eg. Axis powers in WW 2, laid waste right to their capitals/nuked Or the ancient civilization of Hattusha, wiped out within days). When the yin nature degrades from "self possessed" non violence to mere dull passivity, less developed barbaric cultures either smash it or conquer it for a while to gain yin from it and inject yang into into it.. You can see this happening when Roman civilization was wiped out by barbarians, or a highly developed, yet politically divided(another yin issue, the good side of which is tolerance towards diversity)India was run over by less developed, yet more united(another good yang attribute, the obverse side of which is fanaticism) and Yang islamic invaders, bringing stasis in yogic and scientific life while increasing militarism(the Europeans showed what such neglection leads to in their own invasions).

Middle Fractal level:
 Similarly, women live longer than men, intellectuals live longer than atheletes and so on. Highly yang people often come to a sticky end, eg combatants, violent criminals or workaholic business excecutives(depression, lifestyle diseases etc). While highly yin people are often oppressed.

Lowest Fractal level:
All hindrances in one's own mind are about imbalance between these 2 dualities. All seem to be an excess of Yang except dullness, which has excess of yin. Whatever meditation you take, if you can guard against its particular weakness(eg Dullness in NDM) you will reach perfect balance of the dualities(Tao/brahman and at a more superficial level: Bliss/jhana). Your past practice/lifestyle/philosophy has caused fascial obstructions in smooth flow of prana/qi in the body, thus it's an excess of yang that's being balanced by a yin/NDM practice very fast. While in my case, dullness was the issue so NDM worked in another way:
It had no Yang issues to deal with and the yin of dullness aided it. Once i had enough awareness to not fall asleep, the "restfulness"/yin component of dullness actually sent me into deep blissful samadhis.

Lastly: I think confrontation, especially physical combat is the best indicator as to how deeply NDM has impacted the system. I am trained at Karate(didn't pursue till black belt though) which is not very "yin" in my view unlike judo/aikido/tai chi. But I once got into a physical fight with a college-mate and I was just surprised at what kinda movements got executed at my hand. I could easily observe the "flow" of where he is coming strongly and where weakly and effortlessly balancing his force with my "non force" constantly making him trip/hit himself with his own force(I am not particularly "strong").
[As Sun Tzu says in Art of War: Where the Enemy is full, you become empty. Where the enemy is empty, you become full].
Last year I asked a friend trained in regular Karate and Taekwondo to fight with me daily for a month. This brought a new level of perfection to the skill, though my rusty NDM did impact my skill. Which further proves the correlation between NDM and "skills to balance yin and yang in various situations".
This is the approximate form(formally known as Pencak Silat) my combat skills took, spontaneously, without actual training in it:
https://youtu.be/3BthsiGFe60
(The white haired guy: Makishima).

A beautiful Taoist example of how Non-Force works:
A legendary story of the son of Yang, one of T’ai Chi style’s founders, demonstrated how the solid and empty factors work. He placed a bird on his open palm. Every time the bird tried to spread its wings and push off against his hand for flight, Yang yielded just the right amount, so that the bird could not fly away.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 11:06:33 AM by Arpan »

Kisen

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2018, 07:34:09 AM »
@ Kisen:
1. Wherever I might seem to have stated "Do Nothing" and "Think the Mantra" in same senstence I meant: Do Nothing except thinking the mantra. Do Nothing is meant to convey, gentleness, non striving, or as you very aptly state: Non Forcing.

Thank you for this. It is actually very hard to define what no forcing really is in the context of meditation. Even the word "focus" is quite ambiguous as technically, you are still "focusing" on the meditation.

Quote
2. You say that you envision loudspeakers saying the mantra for you loudly. How on earth is that in consonance with my instructions ? I never said anything about briging in such thoughts Or about Loudly saying/hearing it. Whole emphasis of the guide was on "gentleness".
3. As for tensions in your system and other discomforts:
You need to look into your motives for meditation practice first. If you are doing it for a goal, especially masculine/yang goal of improving concentration, gaining bliss etc. then NDM is not for you, because that goal will itself become a censorious thought-form that would keep judging your experience in meditation. All these things do come, but, as you rightly inferred, when you stop actively thinking/striving for them. Femimine/yin goals like I stated here:
 http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/forum2/mantra-chanting/tm-style-mantra-meditation/msg408/#msg408

would be less of a hindrance, though not having goals is best. This, as you can see, shows that the mindset needed is: all experienced are okay. Bliss is not higher or lower than an agitated state, or concentration higher or lowet than a distracred state.

The loudspeaker issue was me trying to relieve the feeling of tension in my face by giving my eyes something which can't be looked at, rather than hearing it more loudly.

About the concentration, that is due to so much variation in the meditation literature. They say you must focus, yet no effort which is very confusing to me. In NDM, they say you must do nothing, yet not be lazy. NSR was my first attempt at NDM and when I mentioned my tension, I had been told to do a meditation check but I gained nothing from it.

The problem with faith for me is that if I am meditating incorrectly, then I cannot correct it simply by faith. NSR mentions that after meditation I feel inner joy but whatever I do (or "not do"), what I feel after depends on luck but mostly it's either irritability or dullness. Therefore this created the problem that there is a chance after meditation that I will feel de-motivated to do anything due to the added stress. If I do absolutely nothing, then what is the difference between falling asleep and meditation?

Quote
4. Your main issue seems to be: how to intentionally not think ?
This is a classical problem newbies ask Zen masters. Answer is: by "non thinking",  not by "not thinking". Let's understabd the difference:
A.  Not thinking:  you actively try to suppress thoughts. Bit for that you need to have the "thought" of suppressing thoughts. This is counterproductive.
B. Non thinking: you are unconcerned with whether your mind thinks or not. You don't suppress thought, nor indulfe in them, nor be on a watchout to prevent indulgence. If you find that you are induging, relax down again. Note that every "intention/action" in mind has a physical correlate in form of a tension. This physical tension is the key. As your practice matures, this tension release would come naturally by just your awareness of it.
All the fascial tensions you are having are "ingrained effortfulness". If you read by discussion with Illuminatus above, it would become clear to you as to.how they get resolved and "effortlessness" changes its meaning for you. You will find newer and newer levels of effort to be released, the deeper you go exactly like an angry man suddenly realizing that his fist is clenched. Though you must wait fir the awareness to arise abd not work on just a theoretical knowledge of it and try to "release" the tensions.

Thank you for the Yes, I indeed noticed that the tension is part of the thoughts. However, since I feel the mantra in my cheeks, that is also a thought which creates a tension. The only time the tension drops is at the end of a meditation session where I sit quietly without thinking the mantra (and not always). This gives me the impression that the mantra is actually getting in the way.

Quote

5. Your issue about "I start feeling meditation is something unpleasant". Well, no process of sslf-improvement would be rosy at all stages. Meditation is no different, it alternates in its experience like anything. You have to accept this if you wanna progress. Else, you are again briging in your expections.

While expectations are definitely a no-go, the instructions (NSR or otherwise) specifically say that you can tell whether you are meditation correctly by how you feel after the meditation. Then it stands to reason that if I feel irritable, de-motivated or dull after meditation, then I am doing it incorrectly, no?

Quote
6. As for your questions:
A) No need to put full attention, why try harder than instructed ? If you end up Trying while doing it effortlessly, then that's how your ingrained habits are currently, no issues. Key is: when you feel you are doing something, as clearly as holding up your hand, just relax, give it up. You need not worry about anything that's not in your control. Basically, take this attitude:
Everything is allowed. Though when I find myself doing something hard, why do it.
To experience the above: forget mantra, just sit for 20 min. Dont worry about doing or not doing, effort or effortlessness. Just sitting is the only thing asked.
Once you have done it, then in next session: just sit and listen to the fan or some other gentle periodic sound in your environment.

I remember you mentioning that a lot of people are attracted to NDM due to only "half-thinking" the mantra. This is why I mentioned the full attention. The last 2 sessions I tried just intentionally repeating it then letting go but it feels that maybe I am letting go too much.

It's like first I'm listening to the sound then "letting go" (by this I mean I go back to just looking in darkness with mantra vaguely in the background). In a way, letting go deliberately in this way feels very strange.

I can try doing nothing for 20 minutes but usually I find that my tendency to let go intentionally gets in the way which means it feels better if I have something to rest my attention on. Maybe put the attention on the feeling of simply sitting?

It is not that I want to become a bliss junkie or whatever. Those are great but I am satisfied with just simply relaxing. I am aware that the meditation itself can be rocky but is it worth it if you feel bad after meditation and it feels like your day is ruined because your mental state is messed up until you go to sleep and try again?

I am asking these questions because I feel that if I were to practice meditation for life, I wish to do the practice correctly.

Arpan

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2018, 10:37:10 AM »
Firstly: You stated in your last text that you got a hang of it and I okayed your description. So why not continue with it ?

Now to your questions:
Thank you for this. It is actually very hard to define what no forcing really is in the context of meditation. Even the word "focus" is quite ambiguous as technically, you are still "focusing" on the meditation.
It's best to not tie yourself up into knots over semantics. Don't look at the finger, but at the moon: Non forcing implies allowing the experience to flow as it will. It's different from your everyday state in that  you do keep interfering with your thought processes every now and then during the course of the day.

The loudspeaker issue was me trying to relieve the feeling of tension in my face by giving my eyes something which can't be looked at, rather than hearing it more loudly.

About the concentration, that is due to so much variation in the meditation literature. They say you must focus, yet no effort which is very confusing to me. In NDM, they say you must do nothing, yet not be lazy. NSR was my first attempt at NDM and when I mentioned my tension, I had been told to do a meditation check but I gained nothing from it.

The problem with faith for me is that if I am meditating incorrectly, then I cannot correct it simply by faith. NSR mentions that after meditation I feel inner joy but whatever I do (or "not do"), what I feel after depends on luck but mostly it's either irritability or dullness. Therefore this created the problem that there is a chance after meditation that I will feel de-motivated to do anything due to the added stress. If I do absolutely nothing, then what is the difference between falling asleep and meditation?
Re tension: My instructions here did not say that you have to relieve the tension.

Re NSR: Also, I said in the guide that I am not teaching NSR or TM or any other meditation. Nor did I say that you have to bring in the ideas you formed by reading other literature. That goes for almost any tech: you have to follow the instructions of the current tech to the letter.

Re faith: as I stated earlier, look at the moon and not the finger. The "faith" I talked about in subsequent discussions was an antidote to the constant worrying and analyzing tendency of the mind. That correct vs incorrect worry itself is a hindrance. True meditation is beyond mechanics of a technique. It's a non conceptual experience. Correct vs incorrect belong to the realm of conceptual/thought level. People can enter deep meditation doing almost anything: praying, fighting, playing, cooking etc. What matters is "attitude", not the mechanics of what you are doing. Faith/relaxation etc are words to denote that "attitude".

Re demotivation post meditation: If you are just sitting and doing nothing, and getting stressed/demotivated by that, then it means you need to be constantly doing something to feel good, which is rather unbelievable, and if true then it's all the more reason to correct it by learning to chill by just sitting. And if it's the "doing" and tensions related to it that lead to stress/demotivation, then "dropping it when you realize that you are doing something" is the key.
Re Do Nothing vs Sleep: Do Nothing is about simply "being aware of whatever presents itself to you at the moment". Sleep is about being unaware. Your job is to always about releasing whatever doing you are caught in When you realize that you are caught in. When you practice a little you will discover same thing about sleep: you find you have a choice to continue being aware of drowsiness or indulge in the waves of drowsiness. When you constantly choose the former, you start becoming aware at more and more initial and subtle levels of drowsiness, until one day, you are simoly not drowsy atall.

Thank you for the Yes, I indeed noticed that the tension is part of the thoughts. However, since I feel the mantra in my cheeks, that is also a thought which creates a tension. The only time the tension drops is at the end of a meditation session where I sit quietly without thinking the mantra (and not always). This gives me the impression that the mantra is actually getting in the way.
If you can simply Do Nothing w/o the mantra, go for it.
As for tension that seems to be created by mantra: fine allow that tension to be.

While expectations are definitely a no-go, the instructions (NSR or otherwise) specifically say that you can tell whether you are meditation correctly by how you feel after the meditation. Then it stands to reason that if I feel irritable, de-motivated or dull after meditation, then I am doing it incorrectly, no?
Not all instructions say that, and especially not mine. Rather the more common one is: no meditation is a bad meditation. If you are asking questions pertaining to these instructions, you have to follow them first, with a beginners mind. Many people have too much agitation in their system to straightaway get a good experience. And it stands to reason that when your mind is undergoing improvements, it's suppressed issues would surface. The goody good feelings are the general result of consistent practice. Calmness that might be guaranteed after each session is a result of correct practice in the sense: a practice where you DID not interfere with the process/worry. That worry about correct/incorrect is the sole hindrance(as I stated in the instructions more than once in diffetent forms) in NDM. Correct/incorrect comes into picture with respect to Doing something not in doing nothing. Infact, traditional yoga says the same: even during seemingly worst sessions, process works behind the scenes. Yoga calls it: Nights and days of meditation.

I remember you mentioning that a lot of people are attracted to NDM due to only "half-thinking" the mantra. This is why I mentioned the full attention. The last 2 sessions I tried just intentionally repeating it then letting go but it feels that maybe I am letting go too much.

It's like first I'm listening to the sound then "letting go" (by this I mean I go back to just looking in darkness with mantra vaguely in the background). In a way, letting go deliberately in this way feels very strange.

I can try doing nothing for 20 minutes but usually I find that my tendency to let go intentionally gets in the way which means it feels better if I have something to rest my attention on. Maybe put the attention on the feeling of simply sitting?

It is not that I want to become a bliss junkie or whatever. Those are great but I am satisfied with just simply relaxing. I am aware that the meditation itself can be rocky but is it worth it if you feel bad after meditation and it feels like your day is ruined because your mental state is messed up until you go to sleep and try again?

I am asking these questions because I feel that if I were to practice meditation for life, I wish to do the practice correctly.
Re "half thinking": You extracted my statement out of the context of the conversation it was a part of and even in its own right you did not read the statement in full.
 I was saying: Actively engaging in thoughts while half thinking the mantra.

Re letting go: There is no "letting go too much". It's not something you "do". Rather it's something that happens when you just allow the experience.
You say it feels strange, but feeling strange is not disallowed by the instructions. You are doing it correctly.
 
Re Just sitting for 20 min: I specifically said don't worry about doing or not doing/lettting go etc. I just told you to "sit" and do whatever you want. Then where does "trying" to sit for 20 min come from ? I don't think just sitting down on your cushion needs "trying".
Or you can try CMR.

Re feeling bad: I addressed that above.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 11:04:46 AM by Arpan »

Kisen

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2018, 10:58:46 AM »
Thank you very much for your reply :)

I will take everything you said into consideration and apply it!

Illuminatus

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2018, 03:22:39 PM »
While expectations are definitely a no-go, the instructions (NSR or otherwise) specifically say that you can tell whether you are meditation correctly by how you feel after the meditation. Then it stands to reason that if I feel irritable, de-motivated or dull after meditation, then I am doing it incorrectly, no?
[...]
It is not that I want to become a bliss junkie or whatever. Those are great but I am satisfied with just simply relaxing. I am aware that the meditation itself can be rocky but is it worth it if you feel bad after meditation and it feels like your day is ruined because your mental state is messed up until you go to sleep and try again?

I haven't read Arpan's reply because I wanted to write a bit about bliss first.

There is a "bliss response" which comes from a specific style of attention to an object. By "object" I am referring to the mantra in this case. However, in very nondirective meditation where there is no object specified at all (e.g. straight "Do Nothing"), the "object" in that context would be whatever the mind turns to (thought, feeling, sight, sound, whatever).

So, I will tell you a bit about this bliss response. Cultivating it however will be directive since it will require you to intentionally modulate how you apply attention to things. If you can make peace with that idea then let's continue. I personally think learning this mode is highly useful as it makes any meditation blissful and therefore maintains interest.

The crux of the "bliss response" is that it occurs when attention is applied to an object softly.
(This will also often mean you have to apply attention slowly to the object also, as approaching it slowly tends to induce this soft touch.)

By imagining the mantra occurring distantly this introduces some softness, hence why you found it more relaxing.

The "soft" attention style comes about when, I believe, you pay attention to the right brain's representation of the object rather than the left brain's.

The right brain's signals are extremely subtle. Yet they are also completely accepting of what is (and thus do not impede the arising of the natural bliss inherent in awareness itself).

You must therefore use "tricks" to see those right-brain signals. A very easy demonstration works using peripheral vision. Where you are sitting right now, notice blurred objects in your peripheral vision to the left and right. Do not look at them with your eyes; they are already present in your visual field. Instead, just notice them and rest awareness on them. You should find after a few seconds the relaxation response tangibly sweeps over you.

This is a "soft" attention. Peripheral vision is handled by the right brain.

For comparison, look at an object in the centre of vision and give it your full focus. The relaxation should fall away very quickly and give way to arousal (and there are meditations which can create rapture using this kind of intense focus, but they have many drawbacks which we won't go into now).

Now you know what "soft attention" feels like, you can apply it to any object. Choosing to hear the mantra in the distance is an example of this.

Now, in NDMs, my attention is going softly towards "what is" because I trained this soft awareness style a long time ago. Some people probably naturally do this and therefore the NDMs start to feel good very quickly. For others, they are instead going to have to wait quite a while for the second type of "relaxation" to occur within the NDM, and that is when thoughts and impulses begin to "fall away" and the mind grows quiet.

Personally I have found that the mind will grow quiet sooner if bliss is introduced early because bliss is highly pacifying.

If you learn the "soft attention" style you can create bliss very quickly for any object. I believe this is how some people are able to enter a certain level of jhana very quickly (whereas others will have to sit for a few hours). For example I sat last night and just meditated on the idea of the outline of my thumbs touching one another in dhyana mudra. The soft attention style involves just gently having the idea that the thumbs are there, rather than squeezing them together or trying to find them more explicitly via action (which would be left brain/"hard attention"). With the soft attention style the outline of the thumbs soon "revealed itself". Again, right brain signals are very subtle, and you kind of have to let them show themselves. But to give a practical instruction, what I was doing was very LIGHTLY scanning my thumbs in my mind to find their outline. (Again, I'm just using "light" instead of "soft" -- this stuff is difficult to describe, but you just have to recognize that the mind can be "flexed" like a muscle both softly or strongly. People do not usually consider their minds as being so flexible, but they are.)

Bliss appeared very quickly as soon the right-brain signals were "tuned into". Within perhaps 10 seconds, yellow-gold light had filled in a mental impression of two thumbs and every sensation that made up those thumbs was visible as a fleeting "sparkle" lasting just an instant. Soon, the whole body became visible in this way. It looks extremely similar to the gold glowing man Neo sees in one of the Matrix films: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=eeP9X-Gy9Vk

Because this visual became persistent, meaning it began to require no further effort to maintain, that was an indication that I had passed into the second jhana.

I did this particular meditation to see whether the last few months' NDM had helped at all with my directive meditations. It had -- a LOT, in fact.

For your own practical purposes, try that peripheral vision experiment, and also play more with the mantra being distant. See if bliss arises from this. It may be very subtle at first. These sorts of exercises train the soft attention style meaning you can then apply it intuitively to any object you wish.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 03:59:57 PM by Illuminatus »

Illuminatus

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2018, 03:34:18 PM »
I just wanted to add:

- Training soft attention is, of course, part of a totally directive meditation.

- However, soft attention, once trained, can end up appearing within NDM, arising by itself. This might be why some DM people get very good results very quickly with NDM. However it might occur as part of NDM anyway. I cannot say because I trained it long before taking up NDM. I cannot evaluate how NDM would be for me on a "clean slate" (because such a thing doesn't exist anyway).

- I cannot say whether training soft attention at this phase is right for you. I can just say that I had already trained it when I started NDM so I cannot actually discuss NDM without taking that context into account. I can also say that I tried NDM a few times without doing a "soft attention mode switch" (and therefore just staying in the hard verbal mode) and I also found I got the tension problems, which is why I don't do it like that any more. In the following post I did the "mode switch" right at the start by tuning into distant sounds in the widefield: http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/jhana-and-contrast/

All I can say is that learning how to generate bliss quickly is a highly valuable skill because of how pacifying it is. E.g. if I learned there was nothing higher to reach for, I would be happy enough I think just working with bliss meditations each day. It provides just enough of a "lubricant" to allow life to flow in many pleasing ways.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 03:35:53 PM by Illuminatus »

Arpan

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2018, 04:28:30 PM »
Re Bliss generation: I agree about soft attention mode described by Illuminatus. I attest to it's efficacy from opposite extreme of the spectrum compared to Illuminatus( I have mainly had a background in Witnessing meditation, only a short stint at DM and then mainly Do Nothing, thus a largely NDM history), that this mode comes naturally to me in my own practice without intentional cultivation.

I also found Ajahm Brahm's advice especially useful for bliss generation by directive methods: it does not matter what your object is. What matters is what you fill the space between yourself and your object, with. Is it full of ill-will, distaste, boredom etc ? Or is it full of joy, love etc ? It's this attitude towards the object that's the key.
I have always succeeded well in generating bliss if I do a directive meditation with that latter attitude.
But now with a ripe NDM practice, I rarely use it.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 06:11:00 PM by Arpan »

Kisen

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2018, 09:05:18 PM »
Thank you Illuminatus for the explanation. It makes perfect sense to me.

It is good to finally find a site which can explain things in a logical and practical way.

Also thank you for the further clarification Arpan!

I wish to mention something about my last session:

I sat down for my usual 15 minutes of meditation, starting repeating the mantra in my mind in a natural way (no specific speed or volume, just how it comes). After a while I let go of the feeling of doing and my attention stays on the mantra automatically. It feels like you're basically riding the mantra. As usual, thoughts come, go back to riding the mantra. Then I noticed something.

Typically, the mantra tends to quiet down as the meditation progresses and becomes much softer like you mentioned. Here I notice an error that I have been doing for quite a while. The mantra at times started having a blissful quality to it which would be interrupted by a stray thought. I noticed that I usually go back to the mantra at a more concrete and slightly louder tone rather than going back to how it last felt. For some reason, my mind brought up what you guys told me about the softness and something clicked.

I went back to that blissful level of mantra rather than bring it up slightly concretly and I noticed that it was pulsating softly without tension by itself. My head also tends to bob up and down for some reason during meditation. After a minute or two of this, I felt a shift, bobbing stopped, tension lightened and the mantra disappeared. I was aware but no thoughts could touch me. I woke up calm and refreshed from the session.

This was something I took note of when I tried NDM mantra meditation. When I would get to quieter states of mind, my tension would increase and now I notice it was because I was not realizing that since the mantra tended to get quieter and more abstract, I was trying to bring it back at a level I thought was right rather than go back to the level it already was at, so I was stuck in an infinite loop!

I will continue to do this because I felt this was a taste of the softness you guys mentioned.

Thanks again!

« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 09:07:35 PM by Kisen »

Illuminatus

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2018, 11:14:28 PM »
For the purpose of training bliss, you were right to return to the thing that caused the bliss in the first place.

And, yes, training a reflex of "letting go of effort" to replace "grabbing for bliss" can bring rapid results, despite being completely counter-intuitive. Regular people, when they get a taste for something they like, will grab for more instinctively, like a dog champing at the bit. In meditation however this simply breaks composure and makes the thing you want flee away from you.

If you continue training in the way you found brings you bliss then you will soon learn there is no theoretical limit to the amount of bliss it can bring you. However, usually your body will have little tolerance for that level of sensual arousal. It will block the electric signals, usually via contraction. To overcome this limitation you just continue training bliss every day -- your body's tolerance to it will increase with each training session, until it can tolerate enough bliss to enter jhana.

Kisen

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #43 on: February 01, 2018, 06:15:27 PM »
Hi all,

Just a question?

During this meditation, should I remain "open"?

A habit from my concentration practice is that as soon as I start my "object" all attention flows to it. I notice that I hold my breath when I start thinking the mantra.

Thanks!

Arpan

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Re: TM style mantra meditation
« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2018, 06:21:44 PM »
If by "open", you mean "relax", go ahead.
Though whatever happens habitually, rather than in a premeditated manner is fine.