How to sit longer ?

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 1 year, 10 months ago.

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  • #1587

    Andrew C
    Member

    I am practicing mindfulness of breathing for a while now. Recently, i have been trying to extend my sit to 2 hours for every session.
    It’s possible for me to sit for that long after a while but it seems that after 1 hours and 45 minutes of sitting meditation, my buttock seems to start to get painful.
    I could ignore them but it’s distracting.

    So i was wondering if there are any remedy towards this sort of problem? Maybe a cushion or Maybe a posture issue?

    In addition, is there any advices for practitioner to sit longer. Says 2 hours and more?

    I am using something similar to this and reducing the size of the cushion as it’s too tall for my buttock.
    I sit in ‘Half Lotus Position’

    Thanks for the help.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  Andrew C.
    #1589

    Ted Lemon
    Member

    When you attain pliancy, you will (so I am told) be able to sit for two hours without pain. But that doesn’t happen until pretty late in the stages.

    When I want to meditate for more than an hour, I do it in a comfy chair. If you are at stage five or later, you should be able to meditate in a relaxed posture without sinking into dullness.

    If not, you could try getting up and doing fifteen minutes of walking between two one-hour sits, and while at first the walking might pull you out a bit, once you get into the practice it’s actually a very sweet way to stay in meditation for longer periods without causing yourself unnecessary pain.

    #1590

    Andrew C
    Member

    Hi Ted, Thanks for replying. I believed i have attained mental and physical pliancy. This has kept me comfortable sitting for 1 hours and 45 minutes but beyond this point, it seems that the ‘sit bones’ suffers and pained started to arise from the buttock.

    When I want to meditate for more than an hour, I do it in a comfy chair. If you are at stage five or later, you should be able to meditate in a relaxed posture without sinking into dullness.

    I have no problem sitting for an hour or 1 hour and 30 minutes but only when i extended it to 2 hours, the problem started to arise.

    #1591

    Hey Andrew,

    The mental and physical pliancy Ted mentioned is different than what you think. If it were already happening for you, then you wouldn’t be experiencing any bodily discomfort at all during your meditation like you describe. On the contrary there would be intense mental and physical pleasure arising. These are stages 8 and 9 respectively.

    By the way, I’d recommend not using half-lotus or any lotus posture for long sits because you can permanently damage your knees, this is a common mistake many people have made. The burmese pose is a better option for extended sessions. Another great suggestion like Ted said would be to use a chair. You can even do 3-4 hour sits on a chair, if you have already mastered Stage 5 and know how to take care of subtle dullness.

    With Metta,
    Charles

    #1592

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Andrew,

    I think you have experienced something that could be very illuminating for you.

    You could look to sit in a more comfortable way, do all kinds of stretches, basically everything possible to make your sit more comfortable. Maybe eventually you would even be able to hit physical pliancy before the sit became uncomfortable for you.

    You would miss a great opportunity though.

    You said you could “ignore the sensations but it would become distracting”

    Can you find a relationship with those sensations where they are just sensations?
    Can you notice in your sit the precise point when your sit shits from comfortable to uncomfortable? How does it happen?
    What was your mental state before and after?? How does it differ?

    The boundary you are hitting is a great opportunity….

    (PS: In my experience, one would need to have experienced sensations as just sensation extensively, experienced that shift, in order to have the possibility of sitting longer, and eventually pliancy)

    -Ivan (DT Teacher in Training)

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  Ivan Ganza.
    #1594

    Andrew C
    Member

    The mental and physical pliancy Ted mentioned is different than what you think. If it were already happening for you, then you wouldn’t be experiencing any bodily discomfort at all during your meditation like you describe. On the contrary there would be intense mental and physical pleasure arising. These are stages 8 and 9 respectively.

    Thanks Charles. I understand what Ted means by Mental and Physical pliancy and i have experienced those initially before it subsides to a more smoothing satisfied / contented feel. At that time, the body is still comfortable, serene or feels like it’s resting, there is no mental pain. However, the buttocks areas after a long sit started to feel pain. I have found some info that seems to be relevant to what i am experiencing.

    I do believe i have reached stages 8 and 9 consistently (where intense mental and physical pleasure arising) that state would then transformed into a more serene experience like what i have mentioned above.

    Just wondering if anyone here, would experience any issues meditating on a mat with a longer sit such as 2 hours or more?

    By the way, I’d recommend not using half-lotus or any lotus posture for long sits because you can permanently damage your knees, this is a common mistake many people have made. The burmese pose is a better option for extended sessions. Another great suggestion like Ted said would be to use a chair. You can even do 3-4 hour sits on a chair, if you have already mastered Stage 5 and know how to take care of subtle dullness.

    Thanks for the recommendation. I have used lotus posture before and it seems to cause a little bit of a problem with my knee but it seems to work out fine now after i switched to half lotus even with a slightly over an hour sit.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
    Appreciated.

    #1595

    Andrew C
    Member

    You could look to sit in a more comfortable way, do all kinds of stretches, basically everything possible to make your sit more comfortable. Maybe eventually you would even be able to hit physical pliancy before the sit became uncomfortable for you.

    Thanks Ivan. I tend to think that i have hit physical pliancy. I think that’s the reason why i am able to sit for an hour or so without any issue but to sit even longer than that seems to be a challenge says more than 2 hours.

    Can you find a relationship with those sensations where they are just sensations?

    I am not sure if i got you here.

    Can you notice in your sit the precise point when your sit shits from comfortable to uncomfortable? How does it happen?

    Yes, the posture adjusted a bit, before the pain set in. but i reckon this could be a partial issue. I am suspecting that the cushion plays a part too as what the picture described (i have posted above).

    What was your mental state before and after?? How does it differ?

    Mental state remains the same at that time. If i want to, i could ignore the pain and sit longer but this doesn’t seem right in the long run and
    it would be good if i could find a way to prevent this. Maybe a change in a cushion or anything that i can use to prevent this from happening.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer this question, appreciated.

    #1596

    Andrew C
    Member

    I am sorry if i may seem to claim that i have reached a certain stage in the practice.
    I have been practicing alone for sometimes with no direction from a direct teacher
    and simply following the book published by culadasa.
    As time goes, i am using the description in the book to measure where i am
    but maybe this is a delusion from my part so i am glad if someone could correct me
    or point me to the right direction.

    Thanks.

    #1597

    Two clear markers if you have reached the Stages we’re discussing (from what I have heard/read by Culadasa and his advanced students) is that the pleasure experienced at that point is much, much more stronger than sex. Sometimes a powerful energy current of piti loops along the spine and may lead to mild or even severe shaking/convulsions, the bliss can become overwhelming. Another key feature is that the body feels very pleasant and the only time bodily pain comes back is when you end the session, not during it.

    Also remember that just being able to sit for 2 hrs or more without discomfort is not the same as the physical pliancy experienced at Stage 9. For example I’m able to sit for almost 3 hrs on the zafu with little pain, but I’m very far from Stage 9. Still working on mastering Stage 6, have been at it for many months now.

    That last message you posted shows you have a healthy attitude regarding the practice by being honest with yourself, if you keep it up you will go very far I have no doubt.

    With Metta,

    Charles

    #1598

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    It seems we’re talking about pliancy as if it is an on/off thing.

    It can also be experienced as a gradient, where the end of the gradient scale is the very strong physical/mental pliancy being discussed. So you could certainly have the beginnings of pliancy which is allowing a long comfortable sit(2-3 hours). This would very likely be accompanied by pleasant bodily sensations and other phenomena — but is not yet the fully mature pliancy discussed in the later stages.

    In a strong level of pliancy, as charlesanaata said, for that time physical pain and discomfort are basically temporarily plucked out of your vocabulary. As long as the pliancy lasts…; you will definitely know what that is like once experienced for the first time.

    In terms of the the comment:

    “pleasure experienced at that point is much, much more stronger than sex. ”

    True but just want to point out –it would be quite uncomfortable to remain with that level of busy high energy in all your sits. Eventually there is a maturation (Culadasa talks about this somewhere…) and it becomes far more bearable and less busy. Basically similar to moving up the Jhanas. Eventually you may just get a quick burst and then it evens out to a nice kind-of background hum. I suspect something must have also occured in the body energy system to accommodate that maturation.

    Andrew C: Just wanted to echo what the other’s said. You have a good attitude. We can only do the best we can, and keep measuring, checking, discussing and such. There is a constant deeper clarification of everything we thought we already knew, only to realize we didn’t know it, then going deeper, repeating, onward ho!!!

    Cheers,
    -Ivan (DT Teacher in Training)

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  Ivan Ganza.
    #1600

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Andrew C,

    Bit more comments from me apparently:

    – There is no way to prevent eventual discomfort
    – However — if you can experience the physical discomfort as “just sensation” — you will be able to sit still longer (without full pliancy occurring)
    – Much more valuable that sitting for a long time is to catch and see the process which creates the “discomfort”
    – For example, after about 1.5 hours, yes your rear end starts to get pretty uncomfortable, but you can just allow that to be when it is “just sensation”. No physical injury will result by just staying on the cushion.
    – “Just sensation” means you did not add the extra component of discomfort (aversion) to it
    – You want to see your mind adding that component. How does it happen? Who adds it? What is going on?
    – Your mental state must have changed when you switched from a comfortable sit to an uncomfortable one, somehow the idea of “discomfort” was generated right?

    Cheers,
    -Ivan (DT Teacher in Training)

    #1601

    Ivan is right of course, physical pliancy is definitely not an on/off thing. I was only referring to the point when it reaches full maturation. In the same way one can experience brief yet very pleasant feelings of joy which only intensify later on, because meditative joy as well is not an on/off thing. It also matures depending on your level of unification of mind.

    I forgot to add that if the particular pain you feel does not persist long after the sit, then you can either ignore it or do some insight practice like Ivan suggests (this is actually the best option if you really put your heart into it). But if the pain stays with you after you meditate, then it’s probably a sign that you need to change something about the way you’re sitting. It could be something as simple as switching legs in the middle of the session.

    With Metta,

    Charles

    #1602

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Thx Charlesanatta,

    Did not mean to suggest you were off the mark or anything. Wanted to point out the possibility of also thinking in terms of a gradient perhaps 😉

    Cheers.

    #1603

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Andrew C,

    I wanted to give this link and highly suggest listening to the “Meditation and Insight” retreat, just scroll down the window to find it.

    It has some really great info about Insight, which is, after all why we meditate in the first place.

    Give it a listen!

    http://dharmatreasure.org/teaching-retreats/

    #1612

    Andrew C
    Member

    Two clear markers if you have reached the Stages we’re discussing (from what I have heard/read by Culadasa and his advanced students) is that the pleasure experienced at that point is much, much more stronger than sex. Sometimes a powerful energy current of piti loops along the spine and may lead to mild or even severe shaking/convulsions, the bliss can become overwhelming.

    Sorry for the late reply. Yes, i had those in meditation with the exception that i wouldn’t term it as pleasure experienced similar to sex but nevertheless it is powerful and could keep your attention just solely on experiencing them. At that time, it’s also effortless to maintain concentration, body is pleasant and so does the mind is free from any distracting thoughts at all or they are rare and barely intruding.

    . Another key feature is that the body feels very pleasant and the only time bodily pain comes back is when you end the session, not during it.

    I am not sure about this but even in jhana says 2nd – 4th, sometimes distinctable sounds are visible through our consciousness. If we replace the sound with pain, maybe the distinctable pain may be visible as well.

    Also remember that just being able to sit for 2 hrs or more without discomfort is not the same as the physical pliancy experienced at Stage 9. For example I’m able to sit for almost 3 hrs on the zafu with little pain, but I’m very far from Stage 9. Still working on mastering Stage 6, have been at it for many months now.

    Thanks for the reminder. To my understanding, the piti that arose initially is physical pliancy but as we moved onto the grade 5. The piti that has started in some parts of our body becomes all pervasive(bliss of physical pliancy). It’s the pleasant sensation that allows the body to temporarily absorbed into it and sparing no room to the other consciousness (5 khandas). As time goes, the piti feels a bit too coarse and we turned into mental pleasure instead and progressively the bodily feeling is no longer noticeable and the mental pleasure (sukha / happiness) somehow transformed into a contentment instead.

    Thanks for the help. Greatly appreciated.

    Andrew.

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