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 Yamas & Niyamas - Restraints & Observances
 Protecting the Senses
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lucidinterval1

USA
193 Posts

Posted - Sep 21 2005 :  3:59:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hello All,

I thought that I would share some observations about incoming stimuli. The objective in AYP meditation is to ever so gently stay with the mantra. When thoughts arise, notice that you are not with the mantra and gently go back to the mantra. Shree Om Shree Om I am I am Namah....

Now what I have noticed is that whatever stimuli that I have exposed myself to is what comes up as a distraction during meditation. Movies are a big one. I see a movie maybe once a month. Whatever movie that I see, portions of it try to slip into my consciousness during meditation. Therefore, I try to choose movies very carefully. No Kill Bill or Commando. But as you probably noticed, it is extremely difficult to find a movie that doesn't contain any violence.

Taking this another step further, I try to fill my consciousness with more uplifting stimuli. Most mornings and during lunch break, I try to read some scripture or a couple of pages of a spiritually oriented book. I have many of Paramahansa Yoganada's books or I read a lesson from Yogani's AYP book. I find that if something is going to creep into my consciousness during meditation, it should be something uplifting, something of higher consciousness to help keep the upper chakras open as opposed to allowing lower chakra consciousness to dominate.

This approach, for me, is very beneficial. I can have much deeper meditations when I guard my senses. It's tough. We live in a time of sensual stimulation bombarding us in many different ways throughout each day.

Just wondering if anyone else has similar experiences.

Paul

Edited by - AYPforum on Feb 05 2007 08:57:50 AM

Anthem

1608 Posts

Posted - Sep 21 2005 :  11:28:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Paul,

From reading your post I realize that I have had similar experiences to you on this topic. I have always been pretty conscious of what I take into my mind. I have never been overly keen about violent or graphic movies. Long before I was into yoga, I used to tell people I didn't want to "pollute" my subconscious or give my dreams unwanted material to work with. I definitely gravitate to books, movies, people and places that help me on my way along the path of life.

I believe that many of the thoughts that float accross the conscious mind during meditation are those that cling to us in some way. We have issue with them in one way another, either attachment or aversion, perhaps they are the current manifestations of the blockages that we are dealing with and/or releasing. I am sure that some of the thoughts that come up are also blockages being released from the near and distant past.

I have also noticed that some of those "distractions" from the mantra,during moments of silence, have ended up being some of the most profound insights into the nature of the soul or life that I have ever known. A moment of grace where a glimpse of truth clears away numerous clouds of delusion with a single stroke. Once your mind returns, it goes without saying that you pick-up with the mantra where you left off.

I am currently going through a stage where certain music is sticking in my mind and coming up during practices. So there I am meditating with this song playing incessantly in the background. Needless to say I have found this a little irritating which is probably making it stick around with more zelousness than normal. Aside from avoiding music, I have recently decided to accept this as there seems to be little I can do to "turn off the volume".

If anyone has any ideas for this I would love to hear them.

Anthem11

Edited by - Anthem on Sep 22 2005 09:58:24 AM
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Sep 23 2005 :  12:40:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
If you try to arrange your environment to be conducive for spiritual practice, you'll spend your life scrambling to get everything just right. That's exactly what bankers and playboys do. We're aiming to opt out of that.

Whether the images passing by your eye or your mind's eye are lovely ponds or naked women or blood-thirsty ghouls, it's all just stuff to not attach to. It doesn't matter what it is.
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lucidinterval1

USA
193 Posts

Posted - Sep 23 2005 :  09:23:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Jim,

Although I see your point, I have a little different perspective.

It's not about being paranoid and covering your eyes. I'm talking about easy diliberate decisions. This can include movies, music, friends, etc.. I choose to listen to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin or some nice Turkish music over say, Anthrax or Biohazard. I would rather watch a comedy as opposed to a horror movie or a violent movie.

I can also appreciate the lovely pond or beautiful song and get completely absorbed and lost in it, or I can choose not to. We are taught not to get attached to things, and in general, that's a good rule. I find that with inner silence I can get completely absorbed in say, my wifes beauty, and that's a good thing.

Andrew wrote:
"I believe that many of the thoughts that float accross the conscious mind during meditation are those that cling to us in some way. We have issue with them in one way another, either attachment or aversion...."
I find that is true for me as well.

It's just about decisions really. I don't want Heavy Metal posters in my meditation room!

Paul
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david_obsidian

USA
2602 Posts

Posted - Sep 23 2005 :  10:21:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I think it's clear that attempts to control the environment should not go too far or be taken to an obsessive stage. But controlling/modifying our environment, in balance, as well as controlling/modifying our approach to it, is all part of a good practice.

Paul, I haven't found that movies and so on matter so much in my case, although particularly disturbing ones I should avoid. What matters most for my clarity is how I approach my days work, and the movies I start to play in my own head if it does not go the way I want.....

But there are other things that do matter for me, and I just don't get them right. One of them is always staying on top of keeping my living quarters tidy. I always fail in this, and in a way, I allow myself to fail and I think that's OK -- for now anyway. We have to choose our battles with our own weaknesses. For now, this is a relatively unimportant battle with myself that I allow myself to lose -- I have bigger fish to fry in keeping myself in shape. For someone else, this could be a big and important one. We have to figure out what is most worth working on -- for us.


Edited by - david_obsidian on Nov 04 2005 11:06:03 AM
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nearoanoke

USA
525 Posts

Posted - Sep 24 2005 :  1:56:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I do the following things in additional to AYP, to make better progress.

I read in many meditation books that only doing the ashtanga yogic practices will develop a kind of ego in the practitioner that it is he who is acheiving everything. Afterall it is we who is doing the practices and hence the results coming right? That kind of thinking can lead to pitfall. Hence the suggestion is

"Do everything as if you are doing it for GOD. Do all the work but dont expect any results for yourself because you are doing it for GOD".

When you eat, imagine you are eating only to sustain yourself for doing spiritual practices. When you work, do your work sincerely even if your boss (for whom you work in office) is bad, imagining you are not working for him but for your GOD. When you want to cheat anybody in day2day life for small selfish gains let go of such thoughts thinking that the other person is a form of your dear GOD. This helped me a lot. When you listen to ANY song try to imagine the song in the context of GOD.

This kind of thinking will remove selfishness and lessen your ego. This is called "Redirecting the senses" which is better than plainly restraining the senses. This helped me a lot.






God might not always give you what you WANT, but he will always give you what you NEED
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Lili

Netherlands
372 Posts

Posted - Sep 24 2005 :  4:31:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi!

This is a very interesting topic. I have read in many places that it's beneficial to try and increase the positive influences in the environment and minimize the negative. If for you it works also to improve meditation so much the better. In my case the most massive 'disturbance factors' seem to be already inside . I mean meditation often brings up completely forgotten childhood or highschool scenes or bad memories from a former psychologically abusive relationship. Even if the things that come up are not negative but neutral it is still a disturbance and they keep coming up most of the time whether I see Kill Bill or not. For now I think that the most helpful thing would be to resolve remaining 'dilemmas'. Sort of either accept responsibility for your choices and move on or make changes - an attitude I find quite hard to achieve.


quote:
Originally posted by lucidinterval1



Now what I have noticed is that whatever stimuli that I have exposed myself to is what comes up as a distraction during meditation. Movies are a big one.
Taking this another step further, I try to fill my consciousness with more uplifting stimuli.

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riptiz

United Kingdom
741 Posts

Posted - Sep 24 2005 :  5:24:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit riptiz's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Lilli,
The disturbances you speak of are the effects of cleansing and purification of the whole which is necessary on the path.To meditate is not simply enough but one should put to use the energy that is created due to meditation and it is a large amount.Changing the mindset to take care of thoughts , actions and words will lead to lessening of the ego as you find yourself increasing in compassion and caring for others.Not thinking bad thoughts or mouthing words etc all lead to a rise in spiritual levels.This is a difficult task at times and I think this path is not an easy one.Within the system I study cleansing is inevitable and I changed my mindset to one of positive thoughts to enable me to get through the cleansing easier.I simply tell myself to be thankful to God as when the cleansing has eneded then my levels will have risen further.I reinforce these words to my students to help them overcome cleansing in the same way.Now you can back off your practices as yogani suggests( and I am not one to criticise his ways) but it depends on what you are prepared to endure to make progress.
L&L
dave

'the mind can see further than the eyes'
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lucidinterval1

USA
193 Posts

Posted - Sep 24 2005 :  5:43:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Lili,

It's tough sometimes to let go of the past. But really, that is what is necessary to move on. Right now is what is important. The past is a memory and the future is a dream. All that is real is one continuous neverending "now". If you haven't already, check out the book "The Power of Now" by Eckhardt Tolle.

As for resolving remaining dilemmas - the past is the past. Why spend your energy clinging to "would have, should have, could have...." In the end it's about forgiveness. Forgiveness of others and forgiveness of ourselves.

Really Lili, if you can get the hang of feeling in the present (which comes with inner silence) I know that the past issues will begin to melt away from your consciousness.

With Peace and Respect,
Paul
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Anthem

1608 Posts

Posted - Sep 24 2005 :  10:06:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
As it goes in life, I find there are numerous moments and interactions I would like to have handled differently. We are human and we make mistakes, this is how we learn. Others are in the same boat, they are doing the best they can with who they are, making mistakes, and learning from them too.

All we can do, is remind ourselves that there is nothing we can do about the past except resolve to handle our choices differently in the future.

This helps me forgive myself for my mistakes and others for theirs. There is no perfect, the past is only a thing we can learn from and the future may never happen. We can only choose how we act now.
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Lili

Netherlands
372 Posts

Posted - Sep 25 2005 :  09:22:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks a lot for the responses.
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riptiz

United Kingdom
741 Posts

Posted - Sep 25 2005 :  6:27:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit riptiz's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Melissa,
To be in a 'meditative mode'is normal as far as I'm concerned. LOL.
I understand your concern about interaction with others and regularly have others look at me as if I was a nutter because I am practically teetotal, don't eat meat and avoid situations where my peace is shattered.If only they realised the inner peace one achieves then maybe they would not be so judgemental.
L&L
dave

'the mind can see further than the eyes'
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tania

Australia
2 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2005 :  06:49:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit tania's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
"Just wondering if anyone else has similar experiences.

Paul"

Paul I cant answer that one for myself (as I aint currently meditating as Im allowing my process to settle down right now as Im too rapidly clearing for comfort), but I do know that external stimuli can affect me as I can sometimes feel it affecting me on the energetic level (im very sensitive to that level). Once stirred up, energetically things dont seem to instantly settle. I notice that things come out (for clearing or solving) in my dreams (so i guess if i was currantly meditating, they would also be coming out there during meditation as well). (ive been having nightly bad dreams/nightmares due to things trying to clear, it seems to be slowly resolving itself).
I personally believe that when we fill ourselves with good things..joy, happiness, love etc.. it helps to neutralise that other stuff/energy. I feel it do so.

Melissa.. from your post you sound very much how I used to be :) . I was a self choosen loner cause of that as I used to much rather have my face stuck in a spiritual book lol, then associating with others. Something changed for me though, (I cant pinpoint when it happened but i know it did). Its strange as ive gone from being a real loner just cause I enjoyed my own company so much and others how they are, used to get on my nerves a little, to also being someone who really enjoys being around people, I now even seek out their company at times just for enjoyment (something i almost never did before). I now really enjoy both things, others and being alone.. neither of those things now is perferable to the other. Your post actually brought to my attention how much ive changed :) .
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david_obsidian

USA
2602 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2005 :  11:04:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply

There's no simple, specific rule about how purification (in its various stages) will change your behavior and inclinations regarding what you will expose yourself to.

It certainly will make you stronger, and with that help you find out what is best for you at the time. Maybe being stronger would mean spending more time alone, if that is what is right for you at the time. But maybe being stronger would mean spending more time with other people, if that is what is right for you at the time.

Maybe becoming stronger will teach you to 'protect your senses' in certain ways, if that is best for you at the time. But becoming stronger can also lead you to being beyond the need to protect something in you that you needed to protect before.




Edited by - david_obsidian on Nov 04 2005 5:07:30 PM
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Lili

Netherlands
372 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2005 :  3:14:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by david_obsidian


There's no simple, specific rule about how purification (in its various stages) will change your behavior and inclinations regarding what you will expose yourself to.

It certainly will make you stronger, and with that help you find out what is best for you at the time.



Please tell me this means you will also make the 'right' choices for jobs relationships etc.
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yogani

USA
5192 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2005 :  4:58:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Oh Lili:

You'll have to read the new book coming out in December called, "Deep Meditation - Pathway to Personal Freedom."

I am doing the part today on how inner silence leads us to "right choices."

Pretty good timing on your part bringing that up. I am feeling lighter now that the book is coming together on time. Can you tell?

The guru is in you.
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Lili

Netherlands
372 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2005 :  5:46:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I am looking forward! Wish it came up 10 years ago

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Etherfish

USA
3615 Posts

Posted - Nov 06 2005 :  12:28:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Etherfish's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I think whether things that happen during everyday life
will distract us during meditation may sometimes have more
to do with the emotional charge we connect with the subject, rather
than whether we are exposed to it or not.
So if violence really shocks you sometimes exposure to it
might distract you in meditation. One problem with just
avoiding seeing it, is that you may be giving that thing
power over your subconscious thoughts.
Freud said our dreams come from repressed desires. There is
some truth to that. If you pick a certain subject, and
try all day not to think of it, and push it out of your
mind if you start to, there's a good chance you will
dream of it.
Also if that thing enters your everyday life by fate,
you can be caught off guard, and thrown off balance
or devastated by it.
So I think the best strategy is to learn to view
anything without emotional charge; as if a dream.
I used to be extremely squeamish about seeing blood
and people getting cut open. I learned to be a surgical
technologist, and now it has no power over me at all.
It didn't make me care less about people; it just gave
me the ability to think straight under those conditions.

I'm not saying it's not good to control what you
are exposed to. Just that you should remove all
emotional charge from those things, then control
the input. If the way certain people act makes
you uncomfortable you may be draining your energy
around them by "making them wrong." You would need
to figure out how to be around them and not care
at all about how they are.

Here's a funny thing about music getting stuck in
your mind. You want to know how to get rid of a
song? Think of a stupider, more inane song, and it will
surely replace the stuck one. How that helps, I
don't know, but it does give you some control, and
maybe someone can figure out how to make use of it.
Once your concentration is strong enough on the mantra,
however, it should dominate all sounds.

I'm not good at keeping my house straight either.
I tend to see it as a big job, and procrastinate.
i have found a way to motivate myself on those big
jobs though. i just break off a tiny bit of it, and
say that much is do-able today, as it will only take
20 minutes. Once I get started, I always do more, but
I feel like I can quit at any time because I've already
reached the goal. much less stress that way.

About "nothing we can do about the past":
for a while I followed an obscure form of buddhism,
"tendai", and they had us start meditation each week
thinking about things we had done in the past that
we could have handled better. We had to imagine how
we should have handled the situation, and go through
the entire interaction in our head, imagining us handling it the
better way. It gets rid of regrets, and trains you
for the future.

Etherfish
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Frank-in-SanDiego

USA
363 Posts

Posted - Nov 06 2005 :  10:15:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank-in-SanDiego's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hari Om
~~~~~
Namaste Avijnanavan (he/she who has right understanding)

If we do have choice on what we view , it makes sense to view that which is sattivc ( ~ Pure, good, etc) - vs. tamasic ( ~impure).
The mind is fluxuations ( Vritti or Klista's) or mental modifications. The influences we gain is best if positive if possible. YET we cannot control what we see - the senses are pulled automatically in the direction of more. All automatic.
YET, Patanjali is very clear about this ( if you choose to see Maharsihi Patanjali as a guide).
Grooming the mind for Viveka-buddhi or the final realization , sattva is important.

Once Viveka-buddhi , then nothing can shake it...completely stable and established in the SELF - nothing , not even death can overshadow this Brahman - why ? You no longer associate yourself with the relative, changing part of life. You are Brahm (great, expanding, absolute).
I am THAT, thou art THAT all this is THAT.


Regards,

Frank in San Diego

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david_obsidian

USA
2602 Posts

Posted - Nov 06 2005 :  3:36:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Etherfish


I'm not good at keeping my house straight either.
I tend to see it as a big job, and procrastinate.
i have found a way to motivate myself on those big
jobs though. i just break off a tiny bit of it, and
say that much is do-able today, as it will only take
20 minutes. Once I get started, I always do more, but
I feel like I can quit at any time because I've already
reached the goal. much less stress that way.



Hello Etherfish,

interesting you should mention that because that is exactly what I've come around to doing with things I procrastinate about....

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AYPforum

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