Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby Orbiting-Awareness » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:47 pm

I have had a really hard time establishing a daily practice of sitting twice a day. I find myself being mindful in daily situations, but a routine being cemented just seems to be something I've always had trouble with. I seem to procrastinate quite a bit, especially with the trip I've been trying to plan. (See my pilgrimage topic)
It's not that I don't have time to meditate, quite the opposite. I have plenty of time on my hands, more then enough to meditate up to 2 hours a day, even more. I understand it's not about how long you sit, but the mindfulness and maintaining of a schedule if you will. I also have books on the subject of meditation, but find myself having a hard time really picking them up and reading them! I really need to buckle down, because if I can't get a handle on it now, it will just escalate seemingly out of control. Anyone know of some methods to help establish a daily practice, and maybe get things done (maybe a little off topic, but the root of the problem) :shrug:
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby Moggalana » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:25 pm

A public commitment may help. See the Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge Thread
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby bodom » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:36 pm

Try sitting for just once a day until you establish the habit. You could also practice walking meditation if you prefer it. Start with one session a day your practice will grow from there

. :anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby Orbiting-Awareness » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:38 pm

So I posted on the meditation challenge topic. 10 minutes of walking for a week, then 10 walking and 10 sitting twice a day, for 2 weeks, and then bumping it up 5 minutes every week after that. I'm ready to get serious, I feel Samvega, and encountering the dhamma in this lifetime is a true blessing, and letting that pass by would be detrimental.
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby bodom » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:03 pm

Orbiting-Awareness wrote:So I posted on the meditation challenge topic. 10 minutes of walking for a week, then 10 walking and 10 sitting twice a day, for 2 weeks, and then bumping it up 5 minutes every week after that. I'm ready to get serious, I feel Samvega, and encountering the dhamma in this lifetime is a true blessing, and letting that pass by would be detrimental.


That sounds like a great plan! Theres no need to overdo it in the beginning you will just end up burning yourself out and not meditating at all. Take it slow and let it progress at its own pace.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:16 am

I have a friend who told me her solution to this problem. She made the personal commitment that she would engage in at least 30 minutes of meditation every day. To solidify her commitment, she decided she would not go to bed until she had honored this. She said that the first time she was exhausted at the end of a long day, but had to stay up even later to meditate... She quickly found the time in her schedule to meditate earlier.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby Guy » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:48 am

Monkey Mind wrote:I have a friend who told me her solution to this problem. She made the personal commitment that she would engage in at least 30 minutes of meditation every day. To solidify her commitment, she decided she would not go to bed until she had honored this. She said that the first time she was exhausted at the end of a long day, but had to stay up even later to meditate... She quickly found the time in her schedule to meditate earlier.


That's how I have been approaching meditation since the start of this year, I have put it off until the last minute a couple of days now but I always make sure I do the amount that I have asked of myself. It has worked for the first 17 days of the year, let's see how I go for the next 348.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby Abyss » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:46 pm

Orbiting-Awareness wrote:I have had a really hard time establishing a daily practice of sitting twice a day. I find myself being mindful in daily situations, but a routine being cemented just seems to be something I've always had trouble with. I seem to procrastinate quite a bit, especially with the trip I've been trying to plan. (See my pilgrimage topic)
It's not that I don't have time to meditate, quite the opposite. I have plenty of time on my hands, more then enough to meditate up to 2 hours a day, even more. I understand it's not about how long you sit, but the mindfulness and maintaining of a schedule if you will. I also have books on the subject of meditation, but find myself having a hard time really picking them up and reading them! I really need to buckle down, because if I can't get a handle on it now, it will just escalate seemingly out of control. Anyone know of some methods to help establish a daily practice, and maybe get things done (maybe a little off topic, but the root of the problem)

The "direct way" of forcing myself into some kind of practice never worked for me, at least not for very long. It was to artificial. I think the practice (including meditation) has to become a need. There must be an urge to do the practice, otherwise one won't persevere. And the only way I see for me to awaken that urge is to contemplate the consequences of not practicing. Liberation is not going to come by itself, i. e. suffering is not going to end by itself, death it possible at any time. If you see suffering clear enough, your goal will automatically become the end of that suffering. And in that case the urge to practice will come naturally. You don't have to force yourself to practice then, you are forced to instead. For me this is a gradual process. The suffering has to become unbearable, one has to be tired of that suffering, otherwise one will delay the practice again and again as soon as it becomes time-consuming and arduous.
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby Orbiting-Awareness » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:26 am

Abyss wrote:
Orbiting-Awareness wrote:I have had a really hard time establishing a daily practice of sitting twice a day. I find myself being mindful in daily situations, but a routine being cemented just seems to be something I've always had trouble with. I seem to procrastinate quite a bit, especially with the trip I've been trying to plan. (See my pilgrimage topic)
It's not that I don't have time to meditate, quite the opposite. I have plenty of time on my hands, more then enough to meditate up to 2 hours a day, even more. I understand it's not about how long you sit, but the mindfulness and maintaining of a schedule if you will. I also have books on the subject of meditation, but find myself having a hard time really picking them up and reading them! I really need to buckle down, because if I can't get a handle on it now, it will just escalate seemingly out of control. Anyone know of some methods to help establish a daily practice, and maybe get things done (maybe a little off topic, but the root of the problem)

The "direct way" of forcing myself into some kind of practice never worked for me, at least not for very long. It was to artificial. I think the practice (including meditation) has to become a need. There must be an urge to do the practice, otherwise one won't persevere. And the only way I see for me to awaken that urge is to contemplate the consequences of not practicing. Liberation is not going to come by itself, i. e. suffering is not going to end by itself, death it possible at any time. If you see suffering clear enough, your goal will automatically become the end of that suffering. And in that case the urge to practice will come naturally. You don't have to force yourself to practice then, you are forced to instead. For me this is a gradual process. The suffering has to become unbearable, one has to be tired of that suffering, otherwise one will delay the practice again and again as soon as it becomes time-consuming and arduous.

It's funny, I don't think i could put my situation any other way! That's exactly how I look atit, and it's Immensely encouraging to continue practicing.
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Re: Establishing and maintaining a daily practice

Postby PeterB » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:27 am

As the late Christmas Humphries put it. First its a need. Then a habit. Then a joy.
But I would say that a measure of self discipline IS required no matter how un pc that is. The alarm goes, you can either push the snooze button, or you can put your legs over the side of the bed and stand up.
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