How many times a day do you sit?

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

How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:22 am

I'm finding 3 sittings of 20 minutes too much right now. So in fear of ditching the practice altogether, I've reverted to 3 sittings of 15 minutes each, morning, afternoon and evening.

How many times a day do you sit, and for how long?
User avatar
Collective
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:12 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Guy » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:58 am

Hi Collective,

What is the reason why you find 3 x 20mins too much? Is it because your body is experiencing pain or because you would rather be doing something else? Or is it some other reason?

With Metta,

Guy
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
User avatar
Guy
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:05 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:35 am

If I sit for 20 minutes I find it counterproductive. My mind wanders tremendously, it's almost as if I've told myself subconsciously '20 minutes is too long for you to focus - so don't even bother'. Then there's a feeling of restlessness (a classic I know) where I could be doing a million other things instead.

15 minutes I am completely comfortable with, and I get a much better sitting practice with it. I can focus for 15 minutes, because that 5 mins less is huge for me.

In fact, I could go for 5 x 15 minutes per day (9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm) quite easily.
User avatar
Collective
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:12 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Guy » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:15 pm

Hi Collective,

One key insight into meditation which Ajahn Brahm emphasizes (which has helped my own practice) is "whatever you value, that's what the mind will focus on". Do you value the time you spend with the breath? Are you happy to be with the breath? If so, that's what the mind will focus on. Do you value thinking about the future, planning, speculating, day dreaming? If so, that's what the mind will focus on.

See if you can learn to value the breath a bit more than you value unnecessary thinking (I know that all the thoughts certainly SEEM necessary and can have a charm about them at the time) and then the mind will want to watch the breath. Ask yourself honestly how many of your plans, expectations, desires actually turned out exactly as you wanted them to? This can be a good way of reflecting on how pointless much of our thinking and planning actually is.

Another technique you can try is to cultivate the Four Brahmaviharas during one of your 15 or 20 minute meditation periods. Maybe just focus on one Brahmavihara each day or whatever works for you. Metta (Loving Kindness/Good Will) and Mudita (Sympathetic Joy) may be particularly helpful in your case since these tend to brighten up the mind and make it happy which makes the development of concentration easier.

With Metta,

Guy
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
User avatar
Guy
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:05 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:10 pm

:goodpost:

Thanks for the Ajhan Brahm tip!

Collective, I have heard of this happening before. I think we can become psychologically programmed to think that we can only do 20mins. It might be worthwhile doing 5 minutes more (perhaps with an alarm clock so that your mind wont wander thinking what time it is), every week and gently teasing the mind out of it's preconditioned state. Nothing likes showing it behaviourally that it is wrong! To get into to deeper ('suttic') states of samadhi it is good to give more than 20 mins, perhaps not more than an hour in each sitting.Building up to 2 one hour sessions a day would be excellent. At the same time the development of mindfulness must go hand in hand with this during the rest of the day.

with metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby bodom » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:18 pm

Can only get one in the morning these days due to having my daughter all night.

: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
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4602
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:03 pm

Thanks for all the advice

It seemed only to be a temporary thing. It lasted about a day and a half. To be fair I'd gotten a cold and wasn't feeling to well either. Anyway, today I went back to 3 x 20 minutes sessions but there was an instant when I almost had to physically jump up and stop. I got this overwhelming feeling to open my eyes and just stop. Meditating was almost a physical pain it was so bad. It was a mental thing though, I just did not want to meditate. Even though I visibly flinched a few times, I rode it out and just sat.

I guess what I wanted to know, was is it better to sit for numerous shorter sessions, or sit for one longer session.

Also, whilst I'm typing, a side issue of late, is that my mind has become a torrent of thought. It's very weird because, I haven't zoned out or dozed off, but I catch myself thinking for most of the sitting.

Any thoughts on any of the above?

:namaste:
User avatar
Collective
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:12 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby PeterB » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:35 pm

Its normal for many people Collective...stick at it. There are no short cuts. Its ok.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3903
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Mukunda » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:09 pm

I sit twice a day for one hour each. In addition, I usually fit in two or three "mini sessions" a day that last around 15 minutes each.
Mukunda
 
Posts: 295
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:54 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Mukunda » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:24 pm

Collective wrote:I guess what I wanted to know, was is it better to sit for numerous shorter sessions, or sit for one longer session.

Also, whilst I'm typing, a side issue of late, is that my mind has become a torrent of thought. It's very weird because, I haven't zoned out or dozed off, but I catch myself thinking for most of the sitting.

Any thoughts on any of the above?

:namaste:


I find differing periods of meditation produce different results. Several shorter sessions tend to help keep me calmer and more level headed through out the day. But I find that achieving any real insight requires longer sessions, as it can sometimes take me 20 minutes or more just to get focused enough to begin meditating.

I doubt you are thinking more, you are probably just more aware of it. Early on I told my teacher meditation was driving me crazy, to which he replied "You always were, the difference is now you know it." :shock:
Mukunda
 
Posts: 295
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:54 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Reductor » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:12 pm

Mukunda wrote:
Collective wrote:I guess what I wanted to know, was is it better to sit for numerous shorter sessions, or sit for one longer session.

Also, whilst I'm typing, a side issue of late, is that my mind has become a torrent of thought. It's very weird because, I haven't zoned out or dozed off, but I catch myself thinking for most of the sitting.

Any thoughts on any of the above?

:namaste:


I find differing periods of meditation produce different results. Several shorter sessions tend to help keep me calmer and more level headed through out the day. But I find that achieving any real insight requires longer sessions, as it can sometimes take me 20 minutes or more just to get focused enough to begin meditating.

I doubt you are thinking more, you are probably just more aware of it. Early on I told my teacher meditation was driving me crazy, to which he replied "You always were, the difference is now you know it." :shock:


Reminds me of my beginning. I would sit and calm, calm, calm... then when I was calm, it would start becoming noisier and noisier and noisier inside. The noise was more varied than the thinking of my regular life, and seemed like a lot of unconscious stuff coming up into awareness. It drove me nuts, until I just accepted that it was there and that worrying over it being present was adding to it. In time it dissipated and I was more and more able to just sit and breath without distraction.

So meditate, and the various obsessions you're mind is spinning in the background will lessen with time. But during your regular day you have to practice 'non-obsession' with the activities and thoughts that you experience, and avoid contact with things that are obviously connected with the hindrances. In short -- meditation and calmness in the day are two sides of a process, and if you can improve on either side you will strengthen the other. Make an effort in both ways and you will get to those nice calm meditation sessions more quickly.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

User avatar
Reductor
 
Posts: 1284
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:57 am

So putting aside the amount of times you sit in a day, what about the length of the time spent meditating?

Would it be better to meditae less but spend more time on the cushion?

Or would it be better to meditate more with less time on the cushion?

Thank you :namaste:
User avatar
Collective
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:12 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Guy » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:58 am

Hi Collective,

Collective wrote:So putting aside the amount of times you sit in a day, what about the length of the time spent meditating?

Would it be better to meditae less but spend more time on the cushion?

Or would it be better to meditate more with less time on the cushion?

Thank you :namaste:


Just try to be mindful in all postures, don't get too caught up in the specifics.

With Metta,

Guy
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
User avatar
Guy
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:05 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Mukunda » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:15 pm

Collective wrote:Would it be better to meditae less but spend more time on the cushion?
Or would it be better to meditate more with less time on the cushion?


I'm not singling you out so please don't take this personally, but in my experience, questions like these are usually linked to rationalizations for not "doing the work" of meditation. :anjali:

When I caught myself telling others (and most importantly, myself) that "I'm not doing much formal meditation, I try to maintain mindfulness throughout the day" I realized two things. (1) I was deluding myself and (2) I was being pretty arrogant about it. Faced with unflattering truth about myself, I make a commitment to get on my cushion for at least five minutes, twice a day. Once I made that commitment, I found my days were never so challenging that I couldn't carry through with it. As a matter of fact, the less I sit, the busier my days become and the more I sit, the easier it is to be mindful in my other activities. :namaste:
Mukunda
 
Posts: 295
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:54 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:18 pm

Well I tend to put in 3 20 minute sessions every day give or take one or two. But I am genuinely concerned about what would give me the best benefit, more shorter sits or fewer longer.
User avatar
Collective
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:12 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Kenshou » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:32 pm

Collective wrote:Well I tend to put in 3 20 minute sessions every day give or take one or two. But I am genuinely concerned about what would give me the best benefit, more shorter sits or fewer longer.


Whatever works for you, you've got to experiment for yourself. I think total time is more important than how many sessions per day (within reason, 30 1 minute sittings probably wouldn't do much good), but you know your mind best.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Guy » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:33 am

Kenshou wrote:
Collective wrote:Well I tend to put in 3 20 minute sessions every day give or take one or two. But I am genuinely concerned about what would give me the best benefit, more shorter sits or fewer longer.


Whatever works for you, you've got to experiment for yourself. I think total time is more important than how many sessions per day (within reason, 30 1 minute sittings probably wouldn't do much good), but you know your mind best.


It probably wouldn't help for developing concentration (30 x 1 minute), but maybe some might find it useful as a reminder to maintain mindfulness throughout the day?
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
User avatar
Guy
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:05 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Mukunda » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:01 am

Collective wrote:Well I tend to put in 3 20 minute sessions every day give or take one or two. But I am genuinely concerned about what would give me the best benefit, more shorter sits or fewer longer.


My experience has been that the longer I sit, the greater the benefit, provided it's done on a consistent basis. I was taught that it takes most people a minimum of 20 minutes to achieve any meditative absorption.
Mukunda
 
Posts: 295
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:54 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:08 am

Mukunda wrote:
Collective wrote:Well I tend to put in 3 20 minute sessions every day give or take one or two. But I am genuinely concerned about what would give me the best benefit, more shorter sits or fewer longer.


My experience has been that the longer I sit, the greater the benefit, provided it's done on a consistent basis. I was taught that it takes most people a minimum of 20 minutes to achieve any meditative absorption.

I'm starting to realise and experience this myself. Maybe 2 x 30 minute sits are in order, or 1 x 45 minute sit (which I can't do - not yet anyway).
User avatar
Collective
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:12 am

Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:43 pm

2 x 1h 10m
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16060
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Next

Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot], Tom8989 and 5 guests