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 Discussions on AYP Deep Meditation and Samyama
 Purposely relax, or stay tense?
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Jourdain

USA
20 Posts

Posted - Jun 06 2019 :  11:22:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
This dilemma has haunted me since I was introduced to AYP five years ago. (I haven't been practicing the whole time.) I try to get comfortable whenever I sit for meditation, which is again my sole practice just now, but there's usually a lot of tension left in my body when I start with the mantra. I'm not even aware of it all.

So it often happens during DM that I realize I'm still tense--most often in the neck, forearms, or belly--and that if I relax there, I'll remove a distraction.

I know what to do about the thoughts themselves: easily go back to the mantra. The question is whether or not I should also act on the thoughts, by relaxing the muscles in question as I do so.

The argument against is that I think repeating the mantra is the only thing we're supposed to deliberately do during DM. It doesn't matter if we adjust our seat without thinking or that sort of thing, but deliberately doing something in addition to the mantra, even if it's not a thought but an action, seems like it's off the mantra. Furthermore, and experience unfortunately seems to back this view, the more of these thoughts I respond to, the more I will get! Taking me in what seems like the wrong direction.

The argument in favor is that merely relaxing a muscle isn't really doing something, it's stopping doing something (the tensing the muscle) which was itself a deviation from the mantra, as well as a session-long source of distraction. To go back to the mantra and adopt a more comfortable posture at the same time seems like a return to yoga, not a rejection of it.

Don't worry, at least I haven't been hashing out these arguments while doing my sit! I have been relaxing as I go back to the mantra, and it's felt more right than staying tense would. But I know that the immediate experience isn't the test of practice, and I haven't gleaned clear guidance from my readings here. Any perspectives on this riddle are gratefully welcomed.

Charliedog

1542 Posts

Posted - Jun 07 2019 :  02:43:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit Charliedog's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Don't worry, at least I haven't been hashing out these arguments while doing my sit! I have been relaxing as I go back to the mantra, and it's felt more right than staying tense would.


You know the answer.....relax. Easily favoring the mantra means easily favoring, if you notice you are off the mantra, easily go back. If you need to move slightly to loosen up tensions that is fine. You are doing fine. Really, not rigid but relaxed is the way.


Edited by - Charliedog on Jun 07 2019 02:56:42 AM
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Dogboy

USA
1566 Posts

Posted - Jun 07 2019 :  10:36:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Also, Jourdain, do a few preliminary asanas before you sit, and notice how your body feels as you do your SBP and make adjustments and relaxations then, or even give yourself a minute before DM to set yourself before beginning.
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jusmail

India
461 Posts

Posted - Jun 10 2019 :  11:25:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
If you are doing pranayama, then doing a couple of rounds of chin pump (lesson 139) might help reduce neck stress.
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Jourdain

USA
20 Posts

Posted - Jun 11 2019 :  02:20:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I haven't yet reintroduced pranayama, but I remember now how much SBP used to improve my posture for meditation. I knew that wasn't "what it was for", but it certainly had that effect. No doubt that's one function of the asanas, of course.

Now I really want to start doing both!
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1144 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2019 :  01:15:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Jourdain

I am in favour of relax and remove the distraction - not to the extent of getting up and stretching - but taking a moment to breathe into the tensed up area and relaxing, then re-introduce the mantra at the level where you left off. Often the tension created is not in your body but in your mind, I always stop, breathe, let it go, and re-introduce the mantra.



Sey
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Jourdain

USA
20 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2019 :  3:31:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Sey

In my case it's usually easier to go on with the mantra while I relax, but when it isn't, that's what I do too--except breathing into it, which I will start doing, thanks!

Actually, this brings up another longstanding question I've never asked: There's so much going on in my awareness alongside the mantra--sensations (and, as in this case, actions) as well as thoughts. I've been figuring that I'm still doing the right procedure as long as I am repeating the mantra and not trying to have any other thoughts, but it's struck me as embarrassing at times to have a torrent of e.g. tactile and proprioceptive data taking up most of the bit stream, so to speak since this doesn't play a large part in the instructions or discussions that I see here. I have a vague recollection of seeing a comment from some trustworthy forum member--possibly you, Sey?--classing sensations with thoughts for purposes of DM, but it's an area of lingering uncertainty for me.

Edited by - Jourdain on Jun 12 2019 3:50:37 PM
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Christi

United Kingdom
3539 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2019 :  3:55:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Jourdain,

Whenever you are off the mantra, you simply easily favour the mantra with your attention again. The key is in easily favouring. It does not matter if you are off the mantra into thoughts, or sounds, or sensations, or feelings or anything else. Once you notice you are off it, you easily favour it with your attention.

So, there is actually no need to stop any of the processes of the mind or body from happening. The simple act of easily favouring the manta has a very special effect on the mind and body, causing things to eventually settle down and will gradually bring us into the witness and to transcendence.

Christi
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Jourdain

USA
20 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2019 :  7:09:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, Christi. I guess I never actually asked a second question, but your post has helped me define one! To wit: If I am repeating the mantra, and I am not deliberately doing anything else, but the mantra, while present, seems like a very small proportion of what is going through my awareness, am I off the mantra? And, if so, how do I return to it, since I am repeating it already? Do I stop in the middle of "I AM" and go back to the start of the "I"? That'll turn most of my sessions into "AH- AH- AH- AH-...." Which, written out like that, doesn't sound all that bad! But can that be right?

Edit: On rereading your kind post, I will guess that the answer is that I don't have to start the mantra over, I just easily favor paying more attention to what I'm already repeating rather than to how much else is going on. In this case, then, there's no need to decide in the moment whether I'm "off" the mantra or not, since I should do the same thing in either case, favoring it wherever I find it. Is that right?

Edited by - Jourdain on Jun 12 2019 8:12:13 PM
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