People’s Comments

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Lakshmi says:

What can I say but THANK YOU.
I will read your post many times in the future to clear my doubts. Thank you for the pdf of the second book as well, shall read it right away.
I am sticking to meditation, and incorporating it into every action I do. Do or do not, there is no try, after all.

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From SoYoung Park

Roger. I LOVE your course. I’m taking my time with it. I still listen to track 2 exclusively, which feels right.
Quick question. When I find myself releasing throughout the meditation, there comes a point when I find my straight back slumped. I want to re-straighten (not ramrod straight, but a relaxed straight). Can I do this? I’m trying not to move (no fidgeting, scratching, adjusting) but slowly sinking into the cushion doesn’t seem to be helpful either.

What do you think? Thank you!

Ps going to a vipassana 10 day retreat in a couple weeks. Terrified and excited.

Roger Wells <chaosinaction@gmail.com>

to SoYoung
Excellent news that you’re doing the 10 day course. I’m assuming it’s with Goenka, a wonderful teacher, whose method is slightly different to mine. And given there are hundreds of different methods of Vipassana, that is not unusual. They all lead to the same place, like hundreds of paths going up the same mountain.

So when you go to this retreat, I recommend that, for the duration of that course you temporarily put aside what you might have learnt from me and any other sources of information, and for that ten days, give yourself entirely to the method he is teaching. That will ensure the best result.
Later, when the course is over, you can figure out your own way through from the pool of information you’ve accumulated.
You see, it can lead to confusion if you try to mix and match methods – and that leads to struggle, which wastes valuable time on a ten day course.

The other thing is, I have learnt on numerous retreats, that the silence and mindfulness of action during the course of the day and night are AS IMPORTANT as the meditation itself.

So try to move as slowly as possible – slow everything down, from the picking up of a cup to the walking to and from the meditation hall. And pay attention to EVERY action as you do it, as assiduously as you pay attention to the breath when you meditate. observe the feet as you walk. Observe the hand as it reaches out and does things. Every action, becomes a main object

And try to stay as utterly silent as possible – don’t talk to anybody (except with the instructor).

So why is this so important?

Well, the mind on retreat must be allowed to forget itself, and all its accumulated habits, so it can naturally go about re-organising itself and its view, and be open to insight. And the only way this can happen is to slow down the pace at which you are living, and take in as little irrelevant information as possible. This is why silence is essential. And slowing down the pace of your actions slows down the attention and makes it more able to be worked with when it comes time to meditate.

So silence and slow action will help the development of the meditation immensely.

And don’t worry – you will be well taken care of by the assistants there, and the food is sufficient. Just surrender your self to it, and it will be a wonderful adventure you will never forget.

cheers

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  1. Hi Roger,
    Thanks for your website and all it’s practical information. I meditated for many years and had plenty of interesting experiences. But two of them are the reasons I have been afraid to meditate again. One was the visions and voices that became more frequent (astral realm? Mental realm? Spirit realm?). The other that scared me proper was a very very strong sensation of energy/electricity that “approached” me during meditation one night. It did not seem to come from within, but seemed to come from outside towards me. It was extremely powerful (overwhelming) energy. I’ve read plenty about kundalini and energy vibrations etc but the fear of “spirit realm contact” and the energy I experienced really chased me away! Any helpful thoughts from your own experience?
    Many thanks!
    Cliff

    • Hi Cliff, quite aside from speculation about ‘energies’ and Kundalini or spirit realms, you must remember your mind is the maker of your reality, and most of what it makes is highly subjective – that is to say, there is very little of what we regard as ‘reality’ that is provable in any ultimate way. The only dependable reality we have are our raw senses of hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting and smelling. They feed us sensations which, depending on how we feel, or whatever mix of hormones are charging our blood, or preconceptions we have, we concoct a ‘reality’ out of them. For this reason, we should always be skeptical of what our mind makes or thinks about our raw experience.

      The ONLY reality we have is our raw senses – it is undeniable that we see, hear, feel, taste and smell, as well as thought energy that arises and passes away – but what we make of these sensations is, as I said, entirely subjective – a story that is entwined with everything we have experienced previously.

      So, the meditation I train people in, and which I recommend, is Vipassana meditation. And Vipassana meditation is completely concerned with teaching the mind to let go of illusions and see things AS THEY ARE, rather than as what we THINK they are’

      That is to say, we teach the mind to favor our raw EXPERIENCE of reality over what we make of it.

      So, when we experience anything, we learn to reduce it to the sensations first, BEFORE we think about it or imagine what it might be. Thus ”energy vibrations’ become simply sensations in the body, and thoughts passing through the mind and perhaps fear or whatever transitory reaction arises. Same with any other illusions – ghosts, spirits whatever – all simply sensations in the body and reactions. In this way we train the mind to cling to the only ultimate reality it has in the sea of illusion we live in – the raw sensations of the body. They do not lie.

      Cliff, I have meditated intensively in temples throughout Sri Lanka and Thailand, in dark forests and graveyards and abandoned buildings, and I have experienced many things that frightened me, surprised me, amazed me and challenged me. And I have known monks, nuns and many meditators who also have experienced all kinds of phenomena and delusions – but no matter how convincing were the illusions we have all experienced, in the end, we all saw there is nothing to be frightened of so long as you stick to the raw sensations – and see things as they are, rather than what you make of them -our entire life experience is simply sensations and feelings in the body, thoughts in the mind. That’s all.

      And what we make of them is only a dream.

      As was once said by John Kennedy, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ – and so it is with the things you are frightened of. There is nothing to fear in meditation. Nothing will hurt you or threaten you, other than your own fear. So I strongly recommend you get a copy of my audio course, or go to a good Vipassana meditation teacher and learn how to meditate efficiently, without all these fearful illusions.

      Let me know if you would like to find a good Vipassana course near you.
      cheers Roger

  2. Hi Roger,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my email. Your reply puts in words what I suspected deep within, but doubted. (More fear! 🙂

    I will certainly explore whether I can find a good Vipassana teacher nearby (I live in Cape Town, South Africa which is littered with psychic development circles and New Agey folk which I left behind long ago). It would be helpful to have guidance from someone who’s experienced the various sensations raised in meditation.

    Thanks again and all the best!!

    Cliff

    • Hi Cliff … There is a wonderful meditation centre near you, part of the world wide network of centres set up by SN Goenka, a Burmese man who teaches a very practical method of Vipassana meditation – non-religious and extremely well explained during the course.
      It’s a ten day live in course, where you are fed, trained and cared for extremely well, and payment is by donation.
      I began my own relationship with Vipassana meditation with regular 10 day retreats with this organisation here in Australia, back in the ’80’s, so I cannot recommend them enough. They’re wonderful, and the 10 days of silent meditation is a life adventure into the mind and all it is capable of, not to be missed.
      The meditation centre they have near Capetown where you are has a website where you can register and find out what they do:http://www.pataka.dhamma.org/Welcome.5922.0.html
      Cheers
      Roger

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Doug commented on Riding the Storm During Meditation

“Roger,
My goodness, that’s was such a beautiful and concise explanation. I stumbled on your site and I am so happy I did. I have been working on my meditation for about a year now so I do not have much experience. But I’ve been feeling and experiencing exactly as you described and I felt like I’ve been doing it wrong, when actually it’s been okay. I’m realizing have so much emotional baggage that I’m slowly releasing. I realize now that it’s a never ending process. This is the first time that I have some understanding of what meditation is really all about. Thank you so much..!”

 

Lorien commented on Our Forgotten Friend

“This is a wonderful description of your journey into awareness, and because of its universality, it’s one that would benefit a great number of us. It is a clear depiction of what all of us go through as we finally begin to listen to the body after years of being disconnected. I really appreciate the time you took to write these words and to share this experience with us. Thank you.”

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bernadette  (email 5/7/14) Dear Roger Thank you for your generosity in providing these books freely. I really appreciate it. When I’m able I shall donate. Warm wishes
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L:ucy Mays says: (hurts-so-good/#comment-272)

Hi .. loved the post. Just started meditating and will buy the audio course. I read your book, Happy to Burn a while ago, and it’s still one of my fave reads. cheers Lucy

Glad to hear it. Keep in touch re the Audio Course.

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Nick says:(forget-enlightenment-its-already-here/#comment-650)
Fantastic, fantastic post. Thank you, just what I needed to hear and so many other seekers need to hear!
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It is so good to be receiving these little jewels from you again.. I do not know if you have been “away”, or if I have somehow slipped out of the loop… a very real possibility.. But seeing you in my inbox again is cause for joy! I am not sure what other people mean when they talk about enlightenment.. but, for me…I always think, “Oh, wow.. I forgot, I forgot this!!, how could I forget??!”.. then I forget it again.

Hi Leeda, How lovely to have been missed. I’ve been somewhat distracted over the last year, working in China and writing a novel – and I had, rather arrogantly, thought I had covered most questions being asked in previous posts, until I realised I hadn’t. So I’ve been absent without leave, so to speak … Sorry about that cheers Roger

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67paintings says: (why-does-meditation-make-me-angry/#comment-746)

Thanks Roger. What you’ve expressed here is something not discussed in many book on meditation practice. Any exploration of human emotion in uncovering the self is vital to our understanding of psychological freedom.

Absolutely …from my point of view, it’s the key, the central purpose of meditation. Hope you’re well …

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Nick says: (why-does-meditation-make-me-angry/#comment-746)
Brilliant article. Thank you, this is so helpful to me.

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jack says: (why-does-meditation-make-me-cry/#comment-748)

That made so much sense, trying meditation out for the first time and what you just said especially in the last two paragraphs really hits home.

Yes Jack, it’s a common occurence, though most people don’t talk about it, because they think it indicates they are doing something wrong.

As I keep emphasising, nothing is wrong in meditation. S long as we sti still, and use the meditation method to keep detaching from whatever arises, we will progress.

it is our attachment to the false holy grail of ‘calm and tranquility’, which we keep trying to force meditation to create, that keeps making us feel like were failing when we meditate.

In this, we forget that the mind and body take time to discover the stillness that meditation is helping them to access, and even more time to get used to that stillness and build a working relationship with it. So there is no failure in meditation.

Whatever is happening IS the meditation, and the mind and body’s reactions to meditation will ALWAYS evolve through different mental and physical experiences – anger, anxiety, tranquility, sadness or even grief, memories of the past, happiness, peace, rage – all these layers of ‘stuff’ accumulated over a lifetime, will rise into the attention and then pass away – sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

The main thing is to use the meditation method like a surfboard, and surf each wave as it arises, treating the pleasant experiences the same as the unpleasant experiences.

The rule is, let go – let go of EVERYTHING, no matter what it is, even the act of letting go. That’s the ongoing challenge of meditation. That’s the journey and the destination. There stillness lies.

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Dee says:

I really enjoy your writing and find it is encouraging me to return to meditation instead of just thinking about it! Thank you!

Thank you Dee … I sometimes think the formal term ‘meditation’ is an obstacle to the doing of it. I was thinking that just today, that it makes it into a kind of ‘task to be done’. Whereas, maybe if it was ‘just sit and see what happens’, we might not have so many problems doing it. Just a thought. .. Roger

…………………………………………………………………………… Kent Fisher says:

As much as I have covered this subject in numerous posts, I keep hearing meditators complain about thinking: ‘I cant stop …

Just wanted to put in my thanks for the audio course, the books, and these blog posts. They’ve all been quite helpful in getting my practice started – something I’d been wanting to do for years, but managed not to do until now. I’ll probably post a question at some point, but I find that you’ve covered most of the questions that have come up for me already, in one place or another. Other questions have been “answered” by just focusing on the practice and not worrying so much about “doing it right”.

Thank you Kent … so satisfying to know you’re practicing … and actually, I think the most significant line in your email is “Other questions have been “answered” by just focusing on the practice and not worrying so much about “doing it right”. This is incredibly important in two respects:

1. I means you’re listening to your intuition, which is by far the best teacher. The mind is an incredible thing, constantly working on a subconscious level to find solutions to often indefinable problems, which arise as ‘Oh’ moments so subtle, we have to be quiet to catch them.

2. It means you’re not allowing your expectations of ‘what meditation should be’ lead you into a blind alley. You’re allowing yourself to bumble through, with compassion and understanding for your self, learning by allowing apparent mistakes to happen naturally … and providing you keep allowing these ‘mistakes’ and keep bumbling through, the skill will develop. It’s inevitable, so long as you keep going.

Excellent news.

2 thoughts on “People’s Comments

  1. Re: Don’t Fight to Meditate
    Thanks Roger, your main point re the effort to “master” the mind is well made. Regarding disengagement, I tend to see meditation practice as more of an engagement than a disengagement. I think that it’s more about familiarising ourselves with phenomena than it is about withdrawing our attention from this phenomena.

    • Totally agree Paul, though in this I think we move into the ambiguity within my use of the word disengagement …
      …my view is, we cannot disengage with something we do not properly know. So in order to disengage, we must first engage, however briefly, and accept, and know – only then can the attention let it go. And it does … once the attention knows, it spontaneously lets go.
      But then, the level of engagement depends on the phenomenon … a nagging cycle of thinking can be dismissed easily – simply move the attention elsewhere.
      But a complex emotional response needs to be engaged with, and seen for what it is – sensations in the body and a compelling story – once this is intuitively known, the attention lets go …
      So … yes, I do see meditation practice as teaching the attention to be able to disengage at will… and engagement is a part of that process.

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