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12 year meditator here. You describe well the process of cleansing/polishing the memory.

> I found it impossibly hard to keep meditating on my own

Couple things to keep in mind:

1. Daily practice in some form is the real key. Just get up and do it.

2. There will be ups and downs, high and lows in meditation.

3. Vipassana is a pretty austere form of meditation. You are directly confronting the mind with little outside aid or warmup. Other forms of meditation leverage breathing techniques, concentration techniques and other practices that gradually bring the mind into submission, making the no-thought part somewhat more easy to achieve. Search around or shoot me an email if you want to know some other approaches.




12 year meditator here, too. Nice to meetcha!

Regarding the austerity of breathing: I've found that not forcing the eyes closed does the trick. It is far easier for my mind to wander, at first, with my eyes closed. With eyes open, but relaxed enough to close on their own (and they usually do) I get a constant reminder that I'm meditating not just day dreaming.

(And, if you read the Satipatanasutta you'll notice that the Buddha never instructs the meditator to close their eyes. :)


Regarding #3, when practicing Vipassana as taught by Goenka, you do indeed start with anapana, both in the courses (the first 3 1/2 days are only focusing on breath) and in daily practice.


By breathing technique I am referring to something slightly different than watching and counting breaths, which in itself is somewhat austere and easy for the mind to wander. You also are inherently relying on the mind to keep track of things. How to achieve no-mind using the mind? This is tricky.

I was referring more along the lines of pranayamas, mantras and other techniques that drive the mind into submission. The mind will be completely stunned after 10-20 mins. Look into any tradition be it buddhist, yoga, tantra etc and you find some other options.


There's something strange going on around breathing. By combining it with body postures, or focusing on certain parts of the body, or repeating (mentally or out loud) certain sounds, or just breathing in a certain way, all sorts of strange unexpected things happen, either purely at the consciousness level or even physical sometimes.

These techniques must put pressure on some deep, otherwise unconscious levels of the mind, and then produce responses closer to the "hardware" level. I'd love to see more research done in this area.

(Note: I don't practice Vipassana, but different, yet overall somewhat similar, techniques of a school of yoga - and I mean yoga in the traditional sense, not the bastardized "female yuppie gymnastics".)


And another 12-year meditator here — my first course was in 2001, in Massachusetts.

My practice has definitely had its ups and downs over the years. In my experience the most significant contributor to a strong, consistent practice is to regularly sit with other people. Like weekly, or a few times per week if possible.

Glad to see some talk of meditation here on HN — I've always felt that programmer-types would dig Vipassana. Buddha was a hacker.


I couldn't find an email to shoot you a message, so I'm responding here.

I meditated for a few months back in 2006 and it was fantastic. I, too, have trouble maintaining it. What other sorts of practices would you recommend?


Vipassana is a great practice — in my experience, finding other people to sit with consistently has helped better than anything else. Like weekly or even a few times per week.


I recommend going to another retreat and jump starting your practice. When you are there, work as hard as you possibly can, trying your best to practice continuously.


prgrmr75 at that gmail.com thing




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