Practicing with a family

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Practicing with a family

Postby Beautiful Breath » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:59 am

I have recently aquired a new family - well my partner has moved in with her 11yo son. Its all good but the new dynamic makes normal practice difficult. for example, getting up at 5am to practice is not going to go down to well - unless I return to bed afterwards :jumping: ... that's going to give me more to think about than I need when sitting. How do others manage?

Thanks,

BB
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Aloka » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:12 am

Presumably your partner knows you meditate. Discussing it gently with her seems like the best thing to do, so that you can find a time which suits you both .


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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby bodom » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:29 am

Beautiful Breath wrote:I have recently aquired a new family - well my partner has moved in with her 11yo son. Its all good but the new dynamic makes normal practice difficult. for example, getting up at 5am to practice is not going to go down to well - unless I return to bed afterwards :jumping: ... that's going to give me more to think about than I need when sitting. How do others manage?

Thanks,

BB


As my teacher always tells me, "Your family is your practice."

Also see this sutta:

Sigalovada Sutta: The Discourse to Sigala
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html

: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: Practicing with a family

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:57 am

Greetings Beautiful Breath,
Be careful about being so accommodating that you loose what you cherish most.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Beautiful Breath » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:35 pm

Ben wrote:Greetings Beautiful Breath,
Be careful about being so accommodating that you loose what you cherish most.
kind regards,

Ben


Such insight Ben...this is what I am afraid of.

Thanks _/\_ BB
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:04 pm

Hi BB,
Beautiful Breath wrote:
Ben wrote:Greetings Beautiful Breath,
Be careful about being so accommodating that you loose what you cherish most.
kind regards,

Ben


Such insight Ben...this is what I am afraid of.

Thanks _/\_ BB


Over 20 years ago when I returned back to Aus from having stayed at my teacher's centre for three months, I moved in with a girl. Although she wasn't a practitioner I initially had the impression that she was very supportive. Once I was back home - it was a different story. She was a born again Christian and was intensely negative towards my practice. And as a result of an extremely intense experience in India and a desire not to create disquiet in the new domestic situation - I allowed my practice to slide. Two years later we had split apart. Looking back on it - I realize that it was a mistake not to protect something that was of profound importance to myself.

Over the last 18 years I've managed my practice with a young family. I have succeeded by practicing meditation in the pre-dawn morning and again in the evening when everyone was in bed. I've also been able to negotiate yearly retreat time. I think you need to have a discussion with your partner, indeed an ongoing discussion, about the role and importance of practice in your life. For non-Buddhists the continuity of practice is hard to understand or accept. And one last point - it appears your partner and her son moved into your house. So, its not unreasonable that your partner make some concessions for your way of life.
I wish you all the best with navigating a mutually agreeable arrangement.
with metta,

Ben
"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."

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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby nobody12345 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:19 pm

Ben wrote:Greetings Beautiful Breath,
Be careful about being so accommodating that you loose what you cherish most.
kind regards,

Ben

Agree.
One needs to be adamant when it comes to the most important things.
Women and children come and go.
Love and hate come and go.
It's all impermanent.
Dhamma is not.
If you are going to have a family, then let them respect your daily practice and make sure that it's not up for the negotiation.
Make sure that your partner understand that it's the package deal and your partner cannot have you minus Dhamma practice.
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:52 pm

Getting up to meditate before everyone else is awake seems to me to be the most considerate way of doing it, I don't see why anyone would object to that. If that's already a problem it doesn't bode well.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:10 pm

imaginos wrote:Agree.
One needs to be adamant when it comes to the most important things.
Women and children come and go.
Love and hate come and go.
It's all impermanent.
Dhamma is not.
If you are going to have a family, then let them respect your daily practice and make sure that it's not up for the negotiation.
Make sure that your partner understand that it's the package deal and your partner cannot have you minus Dhamma practice.


Disagree - strongly!
If your practice is so narrow that it ignores the needs of those you have chosen to live with, it doesn't deserve the name of Buddhism.
If you can let your children 'come and go' with no regard for their well-being, you are storing up misery for them (and remember, they did nothing to deserve it - you brought them into the world or took on responsibility for caring for them) and yourself.

By all means, negotiate time and space for your meditation practice - but not at the cost of others' well-being, especially while children are young.
As has already been said here, your family is your practice.
As another tradition puts it, charity begins at home.

:namaste:
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby SDC » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:47 am

Beautiful Breath wrote:I have recently aquired a new family - well my partner has moved in with her 11yo son. Its all good but the new dynamic makes normal practice difficult. for example, getting up at 5am to practice is not going to go down to well - unless I return to bed afterwards :jumping: ... that's going to give me more to think about than I need when sitting. How do others manage?

Thanks,

BB


She'll get used to it. Give it time. If she doesn't, and isn't willing to accept something as simple as getting up early then you'll probably have bigger problems to deal with eventually. No offense.

You all need to meet in the middle. If none of you are willing to bend then moving in together was a mistake.

imaginos wrote:Agree.
One needs to be adamant when it comes to the most important things.
Women and children come and go.
Love and hate come and go.
It's all impermanent.
Dhamma is not.
If you are going to have a family, then let them respect your daily practice and make sure that it's not up for the negotiation.
Make sure that your partner understand that it's the package deal and your partner cannot have you minus Dhamma practice.


Sounds like the words of someone that should ordain rather than attempt the lay life.

I'm with Kim. When you are sharing life with others you need to work together, or you can easily neglect and abandon those that you asked to be around you.
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby marc108 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:05 am

i think obviously you wouldn't want to skip out on an important family event or something for a single sitting, but if you're talking about giving up regular practice for the sake of anything, this would be unwise and unbeneficial to yourself and everyone around you. you will be happier, a better person, a better husband, a better father, etc if you practice regularly that is for sure. the unfortunate reality is, is that people who don't practice don't understand the importance of regular practice and aren't going to be interested in furthering your progress... the world is not set up to foster our spiritual needs, quite the opposite, so sometimes you have to put your foot down. that being said, i don't see any reason you shouldn't be able to wake up early to sit or to sit before you sleep every day baring some sort of illness or disability.
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:56 am

marc108 wrote:i think obviously you wouldn't want to skip out on an important family event or something for a single sitting, but if you're talking about giving up regular practice for the sake of anything, this would be unwise and unbeneficial to yourself and everyone around you. you will be happier, a better person, a better husband, a better father, etc if you practice regularly that is for sure. the unfortunate reality is, is that people who don't practice don't understand the importance of regular practice and aren't going to be interested in furthering your progress... the world is not set up to foster our spiritual needs, quite the opposite, so sometimes you have to put your foot down. that being said, i don't see any reason you shouldn't be able to wake up early to sit or to sit before you sleep every day baring some sort of illness or disability.


While it's true sitting practise is a very beneficial skill to get established in this post and a couple of others appear to assume that practise is only something you do on the cushion and is something separate from everyday life. This might be true if one is pursuing the jhanas but from an insight meditation perspective time spent on the cushion is preparation for the real work of maintaining awareness throughout our day to day activities.

so if one has a family then family life is the practise. However I think family also need to be considerate and grateful for the sacrifices you make for them, I'd be doing a lot more retreats if it weren't for my family responsibilities but luckily I established my practise when i was single.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:46 am

Greetings Goof,
Goofaholix wrote:While it's true sitting practise is a very beneficial skill to get established in this post and a couple of others appear to assume that practise is only something you do on the cushion and is something separate from everyday life. This might be true if one is pursuing the jhanas but from an insight meditation perspective time spent on the cushion is preparation for the real work of maintaining awareness throughout our day to day activities.

so if one has a family then family life is the practise. However I think family also need to be considerate and grateful for the sacrifices you make for them, I'd be doing a lot more retreats if it weren't for my family responsibilities but luckily I established my practise when i was single.


I disagree. For the vast majority of practitioners, regular sitting or walking practice will be the foundation for their wider Dhamma practice from which the development of continuous awareness in daily life is nurtured.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the practice context of the OP, as expressed in his opening post, is getting up at 5AM to sit. And if that is the mainstay of his meditative practice, and it works for him, then we should support it.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:19 am

Ben wrote:I disagree. For the vast majority of practitioners, regular sitting or walking practice will be the foundation for their wider Dhamma practice from which the development of continuous awareness in daily life is nurtured.


That's what I said, the only difference is I consider development of continuous awareness in daily life to equally be practise, because practise as much as possible should be continuous.

Esteeming one activity as spiritual and above another is a recipe for complacency.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:25 am

Goofaholix wrote:Esteeming one activity as spiritual and above another is a recipe for complacency.

I agree.
kind regards,

Ben
"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."

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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Alobha » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:55 am

Beautiful Breath wrote:I have recently aquired a new family - well my partner has moved in with her 11yo son. Its all good but the new dynamic makes normal practice difficult. for example, getting up at 5am to practice is not going to go down to well - unless I return to bed afterwards :jumping: ... that's going to give me more to think about than I need when sitting. How do others manage?
Thanks,

BB


I don't manage practice with a family, but please remember, that practice is not just about yourself. Training yourself in peace, stillness and noble qualities, you look for yourself and for your family. Your partner may not know about the influence formal meditation has on you, but if she understands that the practice is helping you to behave patiently, kindly and supportive and to be more in peace with the world and yourself, i'm sure she will help you as much as she can :smile:

Best wishes,
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby marc108 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:44 pm

Goofaholix wrote:While it's true sitting practise is a very beneficial skill to get established in this post and a couple of others appear to assume that practise is only something you do on the cushion and is something separate from everyday life. This might be true if one is pursuing the jhanas but from an insight meditation perspective time spent on the cushion is preparation for the real work of maintaining awareness throughout our day to day activities.

so if one has a family then family life is the practise. However I think family also need to be considerate and grateful for the sacrifices you make for them, I'd be doing a lot more retreats if it weren't for my family responsibilities but luckily I established my practise when i was single.


trying to practice the Noble 8 Fold Path in daily life without formal meditation practice of some sort would be akin to trying to be a doctor without going to medical school. of course, family, daily life, etc is where the rubber meets the road as far as practice goes... but again, no one should allow anyone to dictate whether they have daily sitting practice or not.

i think it would be prudent for BB to clarify why exactly his partner is having an issue with him sitting? it's hard to give any advice without knowing the specifics.
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:04 pm

marc108 wrote:trying to practice the Noble 8 Fold Path in daily life without formal meditation practice of some sort would be akin to trying to be a doctor without going to medical school. of course, family, daily life, etc is where the rubber meets the road as far as practice goes... but again, no one should allow anyone to dictate whether they have daily sitting practice or not.


I like your metaphor because after one goes to medical school for several years one is supposed to become competent enough to practise medicine daily without going back to school one hour per day every day. One can draw on the experiences one had in intensive learning and has less reliance on continuous study, though occasional refresher courses are needed too of course.

Practise is like this, at first one needs to meditate daily and do intensive retreats and practise can really go down the toilet if you skip for a while. After a decade or two of doing this awareness of daily activities should have become the norm, practise should hopefully be mostly natural and continuous, there is less difference between what happens on and off cushion, then one has less reliance on regular formal sitting.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby marc108 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:05 pm

Goofaholix wrote:I like your metaphor because after one goes to medical school for several years one is supposed to become competent enough to practise medicine daily without going back to school one hour per day every day. One can draw on the experiences one had in intensive learning and has less reliance on continuous study, though occasional refresher courses are needed too of course.

Practise is like this, at first one needs to meditate daily and do intensive retreats and practise can really go down the toilet if you skip for a while. After a decade or two of doing this awareness of daily activities should have become the norm, practise should hopefully be mostly natural and continuous, there is less difference between what happens on and off cushion, then one has less reliance on regular formal sitting.


Also relevant to this metaphor is that doctors must regularly relearn current medical & scientific advances. a 20 year old medical degree is fairly worthless in the scope of medicine as it is today. My personal opinion, and my understanding of the Buddha's teachings is that regular meditation is a must for the entire lifetime. I believe the Buddha continued to meditate daily even after his awakening. I believe, that unless we are awakened, there is still more to learn in meditation. I agree a lot with what you're saying about the 'off the cushion' aspects of the practice... I know for myself personally that area has been very important and is often overlooked in meditation centered practices. But I also believe firmly that the foundation of the entire practice is life long daily meditation... I only know of one Western Lay Dhamma teacher who doesnt sit regularly, and I know of no Ajahn's who don't meditate regularly. I look at the 2 Ajahns who have been most helpful to my own practice, Thanissaro Bhikku & Bhante G, and see that they still continue formal meditation practice even after 40 someodd and 60 someodd years of regular practice respectively... and these are meditation masters of the highest caliber!

I try to avoid these sort of back and forth exchanges in general because they can be taken as argumentative... that's not my intention at all so I hope you don't take it as such. Just a friendly exchange :anjali:
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Re: Practicing with a family

Postby SDC » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:26 pm

marc108 wrote:trying to practice the Noble 8 Fold Path in daily life without formal meditation practice of some sort would be akin to trying to be a doctor without going to medical school.


I only sit a few times a month. But I practice every moment of every day and have had profound progress. Please explain how this has happened?

I understand I am taking this off topic and apologize.
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