Daily life meditation

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

Daily life meditation

Postby phalaris » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:17 pm

At the moment I'm reading: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah Vol 1 - Daily Life Practice. I'm really enjoying this book because Ajahn Chah presents the teachings in a very clear way which really seems to touch me.

The master emphasises moment to moment meditation. This approach makes the perfect sense to me as I don't see much benefit in formal medidation if you can't apply it to your daily life. So I try to do moment to moment meditation as much as I can, but I find it extremely hard most of the time. I just seem to be caried away by things very easily. My job is pretty stressful and requires constant attention. While working I get anxious and loose my patience quite often. When this happens it's even harder to keep up with meditation.

My question is about the technique itself. As far as I understand Ajahn Chah (like many other teachers) emphasizes mindfulness as a daily meditation technique. So basically being aware of what's going on at present moment and knowing it without getting lost in it. I find that very hard to do, all the things that are going on just overwhelms me and I get lost. Of course at some point I notice that and I try to reestablish my mindfulness but in a split second the wave of thoughts and feelings caries me away again. So I end up frustrated and pretty exhausted because of all that effort and just give up. Next morning I try again just to give up in the afternoon or so. I noticed that I find it a bit easier if I just try to follow my breath rather than being aware of everything that happens around me. Of course I don't concentrate on it 100%, but just as much as I can in any given situation. That way I seem to have some sort of a balance point. However that sort of practice doesn't feel like a proper mindfulness because by concentrating on my breath I'm excluding things rather than being aware of them. So is this breath following practice a good thing to do or am I just running away from reality?
phalaris
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby kirk5a » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:36 pm

phalaris wrote: I noticed that I find it a bit easier if I just try to follow my breath rather than being aware of everything that happens around me.

I don't see why we need to be aware of everything that is happening around us in the midst of daily life. In activity, the main practice I work on developing is "just doing" whatever is required at the moment. When walking, just walk. When reading, just read. When having a conversation, being fully engaged with that conversation. "Full engagement" with activity - that's what I remind myself to practice. When I'm riding my motorcycle to work, sometimes I ask myself "what is practice right now?" The answer is rather obvious. It is just riding.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby Sarva » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:45 pm

Hi Phalaris
I like Krik's response too.
I am not familiar with the book, but I would suggest using an anchor, such as bringing attention back to your hands (or breath), each time you find you are feeling under pressure or have simply forgotten to practice. It will become stronger and easier overtime, try to enjoy doing it now rather than considering how much time it will take to get better or how often you have forgotten today (these are just thoughts and not practice which is your goal). The path is the goal, keep treading it :) Just keep bringing your attention back to the same location and that will help improve awareness of other factors too e.g. the room, the light, your ideas shouting for attention, people, the job at hand. It will pay-off.
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
Sarva
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:49 pm

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby phalaris » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:14 pm

Sarva wrote:Hi Phalaris
I like Krik's response too.
I am not familiar with the book, but I would suggest using an anchor, such as bringing attention back to your hands (or breath), each time you find you are feeling under pressure or have simply forgotten to practice. It will become stronger and easier overtime, try to enjoy doing it now rather than considering how much time it will take to get better or how often you have forgotten today (these are just thoughts and not practice which is your goal). The path is the goal, keep treading it :) Just keep bringing your attention back to the same location and that will help improve awareness of other factors too e.g. the room, the light, your ideas shouting for attention, people, the job at hand. It will pay-off.


Thank you both for your helpful responses.

When using an anchor, let's say bringing attention back to the breath, should I try to stay with it or should I let it go and practice "just doing" until I get lost again and repeat the process? I seem to feel better if I stay with it even if it's just 5% of my attention concentrated on it. However at the same time I start questioning myself isn't that avoiding reality? At least a little part of me wants to always stay in a warm place with my breath, so maybe I should look at it as some form of clinging rather than as an aid to my practice?
phalaris
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby bodom » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:21 pm

See here:

Chapter 15

Meditation In Everyday Life

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe15.html

:smile:

: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: 4580
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby Sarva » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:26 pm

phalaris wrote:Thank you both for your helpful responses.

When using an anchor, let's say bringing attention back to the breath, should I try to stay with it or should I let it go and practice "just doing" until I get lost again and repeat the process? I seem to feel better if I stay with it even if it's just 5% of my attention concentrated on it. However at the same time I start questioning myself isn't that avoiding reality? At least a little part of me wants to always stay in a warm place with my breath, so maybe I should look at it as some form of clinging rather than as an aid to my practice?

At this stage I would say to not dwell on your concern of if this is clinging to a practice, as the practice is itself skilful (in the Buddhist sense) and will gently lead to the end of clinging of its own accord (as part of the Eightfold Noble Path and Right Concentration etc). So when you worry, use that too as a reminder to bring your attention back.

You may find attention takes a lot of effort and energy at the start, later you may find as you say, that you can keep attention on the breath or a hand, and still engage in conversation, problem solving or making dinner etc. This too is skilful and will help. This is what I advise regarding the 5% question above.

Keep repeating the process. Keep bringing attention back. Be easy with yourself, try to laugh and smile at it "here I am again, bringing attention back :) ;) ) If you become irritated, you will then have to deal with attention on irritation and on the breath/hand and on your work etc, so go with the saying "make it simple".

Not all questions need answers. I too practice this. Sometimes, just for the sake of experimentation, try letting a question go without finding an answer by bringing full attention back to breath/hand etc. If it nags you, then write it down on a piece of paper and then forget it for a thing to do a few hours later. See how this frees you up for practice.
Last edited by Sarva on Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
Sarva
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:49 pm

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby santa100 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:27 pm

Mindfulness of the breath is a wonderful training. Keep doing it and don't worry about all that reality avoiding stuff. Our brain is more than capable of being both mindful of the breath and whatever the task you have at hand. Remember that mindfulness of the breath training WILL increase your overall awareness and cognitive ability over time, not decreasing them. So, enjoy and keep on training..
santa100
 
Posts: 1506
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby phalaris » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:30 pm

Thank you so much for great advices, it made my mind calmer for now :bow:

All the best for you in your practice :buddha1:
phalaris
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby seeker242 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:13 pm

As I see it, there are two benefits to doing this "daily life meditation". There is the benefit of staying with whatever you are doing which produces a calm tranquility. And then there is the benefit of "coming back". This coming back has a great benefit if you do not judge the fact that you have "went away". Coming back can show you the difference between this away state and this here state in that the away state has stress, anxiety, clinging and the here state does not. I can show you that this away state is dukkha, impermanent, empty. However, if you judge yourself because of the fact that you went away, you can't see those differences because you engage in a 2nd instance of clinging, which produces more stress, anxiety here. as opposed to no stress here. IMO, the answer is to accept the fact that you mind will sometimes go away and when it does you just bring it back. It does not mean that you have "failed" in your practice. The fact that you did come back means you have "succeeded" in it. :) However, if you sit there agonizing over the fact that it went away, you really haven't come back yet. By judging yourself like this, you are "tracing back the past". Tracing back the past often produces more suffering because doing that is born of clinging. It's better to not judge and just come back, leaving the past behind. But of course, that take practice. :)

Let one not trace back the past Or yearn for the future-yet-to-come. That which is past is left behind Unattained is the "yet-to-come." But that which is present he discerns — With insight as and when it comes. The Immovable — the-non-irritable. In that state should the wise one grow Today itself should one bestir Tomorrow death may come — who knows? For no bargain can we strike With Death who has his mighty hosts. But one who dwells thus ardently By day, by night, untiringly Him the Tranquil Sage has called The Ideal Lover of Solitude. MN 131
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: Daily life meditation

Postby icyteru » Tue May 08, 2012 4:43 pm

first you must calm your mind, not thinking about past, future, and inner talks every time every day. :anjali:
The most complete english tipitaka on the internet world. http://realtruthlife.blogspot.com .
User avatar
icyteru
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 1:11 am


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests