SeekingDharma wrote:I have been wanting to join a retreat for some time, but my current circumstances do not allow it (and likely won't for at least a few years). I can get away for a day or two per month, though. Does anybody have any recommendations on how to maximize this time? Should I simply seclude myself and meditate as much as possible on the breath?? Should I keep to a particular schedule or set some sort of goal?
Any help or references are appreciated, since I can't join any new retreats I think this is my best route...but I'd like to have a bit of understanding on how to best proceed.
There really is no substitute for doing at least one intensive retreaat of at least a week or 2, it really helps get your practise established.
In your situation I'd recommend making mindfulness of your daily activities your primary practise, be determined and keep coming back to that, just notice what you're doing and what you are aware of every moment of the day as mmuch as you can, notice how the quality of awareness and your mind states fluctuate.
It might be helpful to make a bit of a game of it, every day choose one thing that you do regularly and determine to make a note of it each time you do it, like walking through doors, or getting up from a chair, this will help establish your mindfulness.
If you live with other people then probably the best way for you to get meditation time is to wake up an hour or two before they do and mediate then. I wouldn't get hung up on how much sitting you do or don't do though, if you are putting your effort into mindfulness of daily actrivities then this is probably more important.