Meditation Antidotes

25 minutes
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Okay, welcome back. And in the last video, we talked about the obstacles of meditation. And so in this video, we're going to go on and talk about what are the antidotes to each one of those obstacles. So as you recognize them in your practice, you can have a plan of action on how to tackle each of those obstacles and get back to that equanimity point of meditating on the object. So let's go through them one by one. The first obstacle was laziness and laziness, you'll be glad to know has a number of different antidotes that we can try to implement to get us on to the meditation cushion.

So it's all about motivation. And previously I said motivation was key in a previous recording. And so let's talk about in general what makes us motivated. So the first of those is faith, faith in, in, in what you're doing is right and that faith comes I guess, in a couple of forms, first of all is faith from what other people tell you or others that you respect tell you. So if by listening to these teachings, for example, and seeing how meditation can be beneficial, or by going in talking with other meditators that you respect highly, and they tell you are better benefits, you know, meditation is good for this and this and, and it helps my health and helps me get focused and it's good for depression, etc, then you feel much more motivated to think well, I'm going to do it myself. The same with research now.

There's so much research going on. And if you feel that by reading studies about how meditation has helped things off And 95% of people or whatever, those all give you a higher level of faith from what other people say that, well, if it's good for them, it must be good for me, I'm going to make sure I do my meditation every day. So that's one type of faith. And then the next is when you experience of course, the benefits yourself. And this obviously has a much more a deeper impact on us, in that if we do do meditation for a few weeks, let's say and we actually notice clearly, that we are feeling better about ourselves, we're calming, were less agitated by difficult people around us, etc, etc. Then, that gives us a strong level of faith that yes, meditation is a good practice to do and we have to make it a high priority in our life and make sure we do a meditation practice every day.

So that's five Now, the next time antidote to laziness is determination. So even though we know it's good for us, let's say, you know, it's warm and cozy in bed, but we've made a decision to meditate at 630 in the morning and it's cold outside. Sometimes we just need sheer determination to get up and do it. So, determination is considered the second form of second antidote to laziness. Of course, determination is more difficult as that because it's kind of pushing ourselves. Having strong faith, for example is is like pulling us towards it because we believe in it.

But nevertheless, it is a antidote to laziness, and one that all of us I'm sure use all the time. So the next antidote is what we call joyous effort. Now, where determination, we sort of push ourselves with Joy's effort we pull ourselves to the meditation practice because we love it. We're learning to love the meditation practice. And that's why I actually suggest, actually, don't push yourself too hard or don't set goals that are too difficult. So if in the beginning is just meditate 10 or 15 minutes a day, that's good, because hopefully that will allow you to enjoy the practice.

And so you'll get this joyous effort of coming and sitting on the meditation cushion. Again, if you join a group in your neighborhood of meditators, then sometimes it's a joy to go and see like minded people that are doing meditation the same as you and you have to cultivate that sense of joy in doing this practice because it is such a beneficial practice and it would be great to be pulled towards doing this practice, and then the last, the final antidote is actually a result of the practice. You see, when you start getting good at meditation, once you're up at say, level three or four, maybe or around that maybe a little while around for I think, you get what's called physical and mental pliancy, which are effects of the meditation practice. So with physical pliancy, you just feel like your body gives up any sort of resistance and it says, if you could just sit there for hours, you don't feel really any pain or if you do feel some pain, there's no aversion.

So if you wanted to, you could sit there with that pain so you can determine if that pain is not causing you any damage. You can just ignore it and keep meditating or an itch. You can just leave it run its course you don't have any compulsion to scratch it and it just disappears of its own accord. So I am I actually consider from the descriptions of runners that I know. I'm not a real runner myself, but from what they tell me when they go through the wall, and they go through this point while they're doing a marathon. And they suddenly feel that all the resistance gets overcome and they could run forever.

I feel like there's no resistance to the body and then they just keep going. So I think physical pliancy is similar to what runners tell me they experience in, in their exercise, and it's a really, really good feeling, the body feels blissful. And then the other thing, which comes even a little lighter is called mental pliancy. Where the mind does the same thing. There's absolutely no resistance to meditating. It's as if you could you can easily sit there for everyone.

In a day and meditate, and it doesn't matter how many distractions come up, you're not bothered about how many distractions come up, you can easily deal with them. And then there's this sense of, ah, this is so wonderful. isn't everything nice around me? You know? Look at this old orange shirt. It's done so well for me.

It's, it's kept me warm, and it feels so comfortable and all the people sitting around me, they're also helpful. There's this, you can't think bad thoughts. You know, when you've got mental pliancy everything, just the world just seems to be perfect. So this is really an ultimate form or the highest form of an antidote to the first obstacle, which is laziness. Okay, so that's a good description of the obstacle of laziness and antidotes. The next one is forgetfulness.

And there's a few tips and this is by no means all the tips. But some of the antidotes to laziness is firstly, of course, to learn the teachings, and that's what you're doing right now. One of the biggest antidotes are to not giving up is to have a thorough understanding of meditation. And really, that's the inspiration behind doing these videos, is because, at least in my humble view, there aren't very many places where you can get good thorough teachings of meditation in the world. There's little bits of teachings here and bits of teachings here and very esoteric, tantric teachings over here and very religious. But there's not many places where people will just give you the facts of how to meditate and why to meditate.

So, you know, listen to the fullness of this course and do more research until you get thoroughly as an Understanding as you can of meditation, and of the practice that you intend to do in your meditation session. So that's learning the teachings. Now, memorize the teachings as you do the practices over and over and over again. And I do suggest actually that you tend to stick to one or two practices and practice them over and over again. But in any case, you will gradually memorize what you're supposed to do when. Same with these antidotes.

Gradually, you will memorize as soon as you see an obstacle, you'll memorize it and go straight to the antidote. So you know what to do. Have a plan for your meditation practice. I don't suggest that you sit down on your meditation stool, and then with no idea of what you're going to do in that session, always know exactly what meditations you're going to do plan it out for the whole 1520 minutes. Whatever of the meditation session, whether you're going to do one meditation for the whole lot, or a couple of meditations or whatever, so that so that you've got this structure to the meditation practice. The next is to make sure that your meditation place is beautiful and inviting.

So set up a little shrine and if you like, candles, lot of candle, if you like, you know, if you have statues of people you admire or if you're religious, you can put statues of whatever gods you know, are important to you in your religion. You know, you can even put the books which inspire you down in your shrine, anything light, some incense, anything that will inspire you to come to that spot and do your meditation. This helps us get into the mood. It anchors us into the mood and then our will remember what we're supposed to do in that space. And then the final thing is actually to meditate in groups. And so again, I encourage anyone to find out a leader, meditation leader in your community.

And just as a plug, we have meditation leaders at the moment all over Adelaide, but soon, hopefully all over Australia and then and then hopefully beyond that, but we will have meditation groups, but if not asked, then find a meditation group or make a meditation group up. And this will help you recall all the different, what you're supposed to be doing, you might have a guided person guiding the meditation there, so that helps as well. So those are several antidotes to forgetfulness, which you can use. Now, we get to the interesting one because as I say, those those first two really get you on to the cushion and then doing the meditation practice. Now when in your meditation, you're going to be continued Fighting this dullness on the one hand and excitement or distraction on the other hand. And so let's talk about the antidotes to those.

So don'ts. First of all, so when we're feeling down, now, when we feel down our back arches, head sinks, we tend to sort of go down into the sleeping mode. Yeah. So first of all, check your posture, make sure that you've got a straight back, do your nine pointed, sorry, seven pointed meditation posture. Check all the parts of your body because having a good posture will allow you know all bodily fluids to flow correctly and the energy to flow correctly and it will keep you more more alert. Okay.

The next one is to visualize light. So one of my little meditations. Well, as I said, in our breathing meditation, we breathe in white light, so that actually helps us. So you can actually visualize yourself in a space of completely white light. And that brightness in the mind that visualization of brightness will actually help the mind pick up. Another thing is to visualize yourself in openness.

So it can be light, and also infinite. Now you can imagine the sky around you imagine you're part of the sky where there's, it's very light and might be blue and it sort of goes on forever. So that visualization of being open and spacious will help pick up the mind. Now in terms of the physical things you can do. The first is, make sure there's plenty of fresh air, so you're not claustrophobic. And also, I talked about this in module one, but it's better to meditate in a cooler place, and then a warmer place because the warm places obviously cause us Dallas and Dallas?

Well, the thing about Dallas is if you get into Dallas, then you can go to sleep. And you can sort of stay in that place for a long time and waste a lot of time. Indeed Dallas meditating, whereas at least if you're distracted, your mind's alert. So even though you're distracted and thinking about other things, you're also in a position to go on highly distracted and do something about it. So dullness is in some regards. A harder obstacle because you tend to sink into it and not move out of it.

Whereas at least with excitement or distraction, you you're aware enough, sometimes that is going on. So fresh air a little bit cold will help you stay a little bit alert. Now, if you sort of sink into dullness for an extended period of time, let's say five minutes or so and you just can't shake it, even though we don't recommend Having a break. We do say there's no point in meditating and deep dullness it's just not really doing you any good. So have a break. Now if that means staying on your your cushion and doing a few exercises whilst you're sitting there, then that's fine.

Or if you need to get out, have a quick walk, do one lap around the house and then come back and sit down just to get rid of that dullness. Other things you can do is make sure you have a light diet to eat salads and lighter foods, not so much oils and meats and that sort of thing. Meditate in a motivational place or put around do more motivational things remind us of how important meditation is and what you're trying to achieve and that motivation will help you stay alert. Again, read biographies. Again, motivation is key. All those things to keep you motivated will also Keep you alert.

And then just you may, this is kind of funny. But in long retreats, some of the Yogi's, they even have antidotes like tying their hair to the ceiling so that when they drop down, they pull their hair but I don't expect you to to go to those lengths. But it just goes to show that even advanced meditators when you're when you especially if you're going to go and meditate for hours at a time. dullness is a real problem, and you need to sometimes take drastic measures anyway. So there are some obstacles, some antidote to dullness. Now let's take on the flip side of the coin, which is excitement.

So the first antidote to excitement is to increase mindfulness. Now I've said that mindful, but excitement is good in the sense that you are alert so you are no knowing what's going on. So You've sort of got that energy level in your mind to do something with it, it's about taking it from the distracted object and putting it on the meditation object. So that's where you can try and harness that same amount of energy and increase mindfulness to stay on the meditation object. Okay? And then the next antidote is a sense of detachment.

So I'm going to talk about this a little bit later. But detachment In brief, the reason that our mind is going to other objects is because we're attached to them, either from a point of view of desire, or I'm thinking about lunch because I really desire lunch and I'm getting hungry, or aversion. I'm really thinking about my job because I hate my job. And I just want to, I just want to think about it because I hate it so much. You know, I'm sure that you've said have gone over and over in your mind things you hate. And it's a sort of a, it captures you even though it doesn't make you feel good, you keep thinking about those things that you hate.

So the idea is to be detached from all of that. And it's like, it's not important. Like, I don't care whether I eat now or in three or four hours time and you know, the jobs, just the job. And if I have to go and make money, I'll do it. But what's important to me is meditation, for example. So detachment from the world now to help us with this detachment, meditation on suffering, can help so I may do a meditation on suffering and put that below here.

So it's about thinking of all the suffering that we've undertaken. And what what about those people that are suffering from the ravages of flood or drought or poverty and what that does is, it is sort of brings us home the truth that let's stop stuffing around here. Let's stop with those distractions and get back to what really matters. And that is becoming more peaceful in ourselves so we can help ourselves and help others. And also, meditation on suffering has a kind of a sobering effect. In fact, if you sometimes are highly distracted, I personally and this is up to you, whether you do this is sometimes I'll think of a extremely agitating form of suffering, like I might think of someone from my past who had a terrible, terrible accident.

And it's a horrible thought and yet, if you can manage it, that will immediately snap you back into reality, and sort of wipe away those other distracting thoughts of you know, chocolate or whatever it is that you You're thinking of so strong will up to you how strong you want to do but thoughts of suffering both from yourself and from others help with that. You might think about the unpredictability of death. And again, this is reminding you of the meditation we did previously. And motivation is the key that Hi. We could walk outside after this meditation and die from any number of causes, you know, it'd be hit by a bus or get struck down by disease. So we have this precious window of opportunity where we need to meditate so let's get on with it.

Again, thinking of how much time we've spent in for frivolous activities in our life and how much time we've spent in actually doing something really useful to ourselves that is improving the happiness and the calmness of our mind. And I feel a little bit like a What a waste of time all of that All of those holidays were and all of that work was for and all of that earning money. You know, what do I need the latest gadget for when what's important is meditation and having a happy mind. Those sorts of things. Again, encourage detachment from the world and get us back to meditation. Again, looking up to people you admire, that have a calm mind.

So again, thinking of people you admire, brings us back. And then the final meditation, if you like, isn't meditation on wisdom. So in the advanced module, so module three, which is the advanced teachings, we're going to be, of course, talking a lot about wisdom. And that meditation in itself is an antidote to depression. and excitement. Okay, so that's dullness and excitement.

Now the last two application and non application. There are no real antidotes to that, except experience. So at first, we don't apply the antidotes that I've talked about. And that's called non application. And then so we start off with a little bit of dullness, and we think we're getting dull. And then before we know it, we're very dull.

And we realize that that's under application. And for beginning meditators, we're usually under under apply, we need to try to, at the first instance of, we have to try to be quicker and quicker and quicker. Over application doesn't really come to later when you are enthusiastic and you really are getting the hang of applying those antidotes very quickly and you might find that you're getting dalen you quickly apply an antidote and suddenly you're dismissed. attracted, and you realize that you've used way too much antidote and you've now flipped over onto the other side of the coin. And you've actually stirred up your mind rather than calming it down. So the last two are more subtle and experience from from your point of view.

And maybe I'll just finish off with a quick funny story about my own practice. When I was doing my own retreat, and as part of my my own retreat, in the tradition I did, I had to do 100,000 full length prostrations, which took me a number of months to do, and I got very enthusiastic at it and I was throwing literally throwing myself on the floor, you have to like lie down completely on the floor, and slide down and it's a good antidote for laziness. It's, it keeps your body nice and healthy. Fear puts you in a good mood makes you feel good. So for a number of reasons, it's also good for faith if in my tradition, which was Buddhist at the time. And anyway, I was so enthusiastic that after, like, a couple of months, I was building up to more frustrations, and I've got a pain in my ribs.

And I ignored it at first, you know, I was enthusiastic. So I keep going, and I got worse and worse and worse. And finally, I realized I'd literally broken my ribs like a little bit at a time like that crack must have started. I never confirm this because I didn't go to the doctor, but I'm pretty sure in hindsight that I actually cracked one or two of my ribs. And it got worse and worse. And so I couldn't do the prostrations, but I only had a window of about three and a bit months to finish this practice.

And I was mortified by the fact that I've taken time off work to do this particular practice and I couldn't finish it because I My body. And so in a state of, you know, very upset, I went to see my teacher and said, Oh, you know, I can't finish my practice and everything's going wrong. And he just turned to me nonchalantly. And he said, Yes, I see. Over application, you are doing it too hard. You see, that's one of the obstacles in the in the obstacles to meditation is over application should not you should try not to do that in future.

So that was quite funny that he dealt with that in such a nonchalant way. But it taught me a lesson as well. So I hope you enjoy that explanation of the opposite the antidotes to the obstacles of meditation.

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