Self-Discipline

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

Self-Discipline

Postby Guy » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:59 am

I haven't been meditating...Any tips on self-discipline?
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: Self-Discipline

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:05 am

Yep.


nike-just-do-it.jpg
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:35 am

I haven't been meditating regularly either, Guy. Maybe we can return to daily practice together?

Edit: As for tips, I am like a drunk advising you how to stay sober :) but given that I did maintain daily practice for a number of years, I guess what kept it going was a belief in its importance and getting it firmly entrenched in the routine (I sat with my wife).

What I'd like to do now is set a daily alarm and not make any excuses. Time to sit is time to sit, rain or shine, healthy or sick, sleepy or wide awake - it's always worthwhile.
Last edited by Dan74 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby Sarva » Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:43 am

Hi Guy
You could wait for others to go to bed or get up 1 hour early. I find it is minimalising distractions, not increasing discipline which is the problem.

If you have small children or inquisitive people at home, then I guess they may need to learn that the first hour in the day you aren't to be disturbed, for example. It may take some time for them to learn to leave you but then their mind will move on to more 'fun things' to do than seeing what you are doing sitting there.

Metta
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:30 pm

Ben wrote:Yep.

I can only assume that by attaching the Nike logo, you're advising him to pay a small Laotian child to do his meditation for twelve cents a day, right? =]

Ben's right though! Just sit. It's obviously easier said than done but that's all it comes down to. I'd recommend starting a daily regime and setting aside a certain time each day for meditation. Maybe start with 20 minutes in the morning and 20 at night? We do a lot of things every day like brush our teeth or shower, so just add meditation to the list and try and get into the habit of doing it without exception. Even fifteen minutes a day, if done every single day, can lead to a really healthy practice over time. Get yourself a copy of the Dhammapada as well and try and read some every day to get in the mood, so to speak.

Good luck!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby David2 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:53 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Get yourself a copy of the Dhammapada as well and try and read some every day to get in the mood, so to speak.


Yes, pariyatti can help in terms of confidence/faith.
It is very good to learn some Pali and to translate the Buddha's texts oneself.
It takes time but it can be very beneficial for one's practice.
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby ground » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:49 pm

Guy wrote:I haven't been meditating...Any tips on self-discipline?

1. You shouldn't bother about the past at all
2. Although meditation may be helpful you should not bother too much about meditation. Why?
And he discerns that 'Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to cessation.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Having said this. Meditation should neither be a duty nor a ritual but a wholesome "activity" one looks forward to.

:namaste:
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby marc108 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:27 pm

for me there have been two components to building regular practice. first is the 'just do it' factor, you have to make a serious commitment to yourself that you are going to sit, for at least a little bit, no matter what. even if nothing productive comes of the meditation, it still serves to reenforce the commitment.

the other, and most important part imo, is making meditation ENJOYABLE! Meditation should be fun, enjoyable, pleasurable... if you view meditation as a chore or a duty, its unlikely anything worthwhile will ever come of it. For me approaching the practice with an attitude of exploration/investigation/wonder is very motivating... It's interesting, like being a mind scientist. Also it feels good, getting the mind into a concentrated state feels extremely pleasurable and the Buddha said this pleasure is good and to be pursued. That is one thing that I am so thankful to Thanissaro Bhikkhu for... he really emphasizes that meditation should be pleasurable and the desiring the non-wordly pleasure of Samadhi is good. The idea being that our unliberated minds will automatically follow pleasurable feelings, so if we can get our minds to follow the pleasure that comes from meditation its like a loophole and can REALLY turn out commitment to practice from a burden into something we enjoy and desire... we can use our unskillful desire for pleasure in a skillful way.

i also do a lot of reading/listening on meditation, theory, practice and on various subject by the great meditation Masters. i like to listen to a Dhamma talk before meditation, even if just for a minute or so... i find this really helps to bring up the correct mindstate & inspires me to practice.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:44 pm

I made a resolution that I would meditate each day, and I would not go to bed unless this was done. Ideally I would meditate first thing in a day. The first time I realized I could not go to bed yet, at 1 am, because I had not done meditation that day... I made it a priority after that.
"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: Self-Discipline

Postby Guy » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:11 pm

That's awesome, thanks everyone for all the great advice!!!

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Really I know all this stuff...it is just a matter of applying it; "Just Do It", as Ben said.

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
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:37 pm

More importantly have you been keeping up mindfulness of your daily activities, have you been noticing your mind states and quality of awareness throughout the day?

if you can do this reasonably consistantly then build on this, don't worry if you are not sitting much, if you can't then yes you need to get into more disciplined sitting so as to establish mindfulness.
"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: Self-Discipline

Postby Guy » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:57 pm

Hi Goofaholix,

Goofaholix wrote:More importantly have you been keeping up mindfulness of your daily activities, have you been noticing your mind states and quality of awareness throughout the day?

if you can do this reasonably consistantly then build on this, don't worry if you are not sitting much, if you can't then yes you need to get into more disciplined sitting so as to establish mindfulness.


This, I believe, is an important point. Thanks for mentioning it, it's something that has been on my mind.

Sometimes the mindfulness is there, sometimes it is not. I believe that I could certainly benefit from more formal practice, but, to say that I don't have even a shred of mindfulness without it would be the other extreme.

I probably can just carry on with my daily activities, more or less, without a regular formal practice. However, as a musician (and a meditator), I know from experience, the periods in my life when my drumming has been most professional have been when I have been practising several hours a day. So, if I continue without formal practice, sure, I will have a degree of mindfulness thanks to all that time I have dedicated to practice - or - I could deepen that practice through more diligent, focused effort.

This is the conclusion I am reaching, it may or may not be true, I will test it with more diligent practice and see.

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
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby spoke » Fri May 04, 2012 9:43 pm

You might consider setting up a commitment on a goal tracking website like stickk.com - I did this a few months ago and it worked well.

Here's how it works: you define a goal that you want to stick to, say for example, I want to meditate X number of minutes per day, every day, for Y weeks. And then once you've set up the goal, you need to check back in on the website every week to notify whether you reached your goal or not.

The part where it becomes effective is this: you can (optionally) put an amount of money on the line that you will either go to a charity that you like if you succeed in reaching your goal every week, or, you can choose to have that money donated to an organization that you really don't like (examples for me would be organizations like the National Rifle Association in the US, or those dedicated to denying global warming) if you fail to achieve your goal for that week. So it kind activates the "there's no way my hard earned money's gonna go to those guys" factor to get you motivated to stick to your goal no matter what. (The creators of the website, psychologists at Yale I believe, actually say that the latter is more effective at getting people to stick to their goals.)

You also can designate a "referee" that you know personally, who will report back to the website every week on your behalf - so you're accountable to the referee as well, not just to the website.

Good luck!
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby williamregal » Sat May 05, 2012 5:32 am

spoke wrote:You might consider setting up a commitment on a goal tracking website like stickk.com - I did this a few months ago and it worked well.

Here's how it works: you define a goal that you want to stick to, say for example, I want to meditate X number of minutes per day, every day, for Y weeks. And then once you've set up the goal, you need to check back in on the website every week to notify whether you reached your goal or not.

The part where it becomes effective is this: you can (optionally) put an amount of money on the line that you will either go to a charity that you like if you succeed in reaching your goal every week, or, you can choose to have that money donated to an organization that you really don't like (examples for me would be organizations like the National Rifle Association in the US, or those dedicated to denying global warming) if you fail to achieve your goal for that week. So it kind activates the "there's no way my hard earned money's gonna go to those guys" factor to get you motivated to stick to your goal no matter what. (The creators of the website, psychologists at Yale I believe, actually say that the latter is more effective at getting people to stick to their goals.)

You also can designate a "referee" that you know personally, who will report back to the website every week on your behalf - so you're accountable to the referee as well, not just to the website.

Good luck!

Self discipline is the state of art where a person restricts himself from doing certain things, which he considers wrong for himself. But charity is another issue. To donate in the charity a person should not get selfish regarding his hard earned money. Rather than that he should think that there are more needy people who want the most basic things to survive in the world. If a person is eligible enough to donate a small part of his earning or any of his belongings then he will not get below poverty line by doing that.
Kids are the future of the world
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby manas » Sat May 05, 2012 6:26 am

Guy wrote:I haven't been meditating...Any tips on self-discipline?


I can think of a few things that have helped me on occassion.

Things you can say to your mind:

"I know you don't want to, but this is for your own good" - (then go and sit)

"you don't feel like it, huh? well, 'like and dislike' don't come into it - it just has to be done, even if just a little, every day" - (then go and sit)

"What if today turns out to be the last day of your life? Would you want your last day to be one where you skipped your meditation, out of laziness?" - (then go and sit)

- Just a few ideas. There are lots of ways to arm-wrestle yourself onto the meditation cushion. Find ways that work for you.

_/I\_
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby Buddha » Sat May 05, 2012 10:57 am

well if you want to meditate often you need to "force" yourselfe to do it,its pretty hard for about 1 week,but when you get an hang of it its quite easy.
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby Stephen K » Sat May 05, 2012 11:06 am

Start small and gradually increase. First day meditate for just 1 minute. Next day meditate for 3 minutes. The following day 5 mins. After that increase by 5 minutes per day until you are meditating for 1 hour every day. Then meditate for 1 hour every day for a whole week. The following week meditate for 1 hour and 10 minutes per day. The week after that meditate for 1 hour and 20 minutes every day. Increase your daily meditation by 10 minutes every week until you are meditating for 3 hours every day.

You'll find it quite easy to do that. Gradual way is the best way. Good luck!
With metta,
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby manas » Sat May 05, 2012 12:25 pm

Stefan wrote:Start small and gradually increase. First day meditate for just 1 minute. Next day meditate for 3 minutes. The following day 5 mins. After that increase by 5 minutes per day until you are meditating for 1 hour every day. Then meditate for 1 hour every day for a whole week. The following week meditate for 1 hour and 10 minutes per day. The week after that meditate for 1 hour and 20 minutes every day. Increase your daily meditation by 10 minutes every week until you are meditating for 3 hours every day.

You'll find it quite easy to do that. Gradual way is the best way. Good luck!


Not everyone can keep pushing up the time limit like that, stefan. Personally, three hours every day would be 'tightening the strings' a bit too much for me at this stage. For some of us, if we did even one hour a day, and kept this up for an entire year, we would have achieved something. For some, it might be even less. The most important thing (imho) is that the momentum is created in the mind on a daily basis - a kind of 'inclining towards calmness and clarity' - and that we actually sat, regardless of whether we felt like it that day or not, regardless of whether we enjoy it that day or not. I'm of course not correcting you in any way, I just wanted to say that some of us just can't do three (quality) hours a day as yet. The essential thing for the OP is to do something, and to stick with it. If we say 'keep increasing up to three hours' he might get scared away!

:anjali:
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby Stephen K » Sat May 05, 2012 12:42 pm

Well 3 hours was just an example. Whether 3, or 2, or 1 hours, my point was to get there gradually. I just said 3 because that is my own goal. :smile:
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Re: Self-Discipline

Postby manas » Sat May 05, 2012 7:57 pm

Stefan wrote:Well 3 hours was just an example. Whether 3, or 2, or 1 hours, my point was to get there gradually. I just said 3 because that is my own goal. :smile:


Thanks for the clarification! :)

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