Developing regular 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.
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DharmaDude
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Developing regular practice...

Postby DharmaDude » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:57 am

Hello!

Seeking guidance please....

For a long time my meditation practice has gone something like this;

1. Meditate everyday for about half hour or so.
2. Meditate occasionally [one a fortnight] for about half hour or so.
3. No meditation at all for weeks/months.
4. Goto 1.

I think it's time that I really knuckle down and develop a solid and regular daily sitting practice. Although I have resolved this before, my practice always follows the point by point details set-out above. As such, please may I request any advice/pointers for how I can begin and sustain such a regular practice. My devotion seems to waver and I wonder if there are any areas/subjects I can focus on that will help inject the right amount of urgency of focus to my mind?

Thank you in advance.

Peace, DD

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bodom
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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby bodom » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:15 pm

Are there any meditation groups in your area? It doesn't even need to necessarily be an insight group. I've sat regularly at a soto zen center. Practicing with others makes all the difference in the world when it comes to trying to maitain a sitting practice.

: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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Dan74
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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby Dan74 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:16 pm

bodom wrote:Are there any meditation groups in your area? It doesn't even need to necessarily be an insight group. I've sat regularly at a soto zen center. Practicing with others makes all the difference in the world when it comes to trying to maintain a sitting practice.

:anjali:


:goodpost:
_/|\_

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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby daverupa » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:23 pm

It probably simply wasn't written down in the list, but sila is an essential backbone to everything which follows, so that can help with finding a theme of uplifted energy. Beyond that, daily sati-sampajanna seems to be missing; the sitting practice ought to compile the daily practice, rather than being the sole practice, it seems to me.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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DharmaDude
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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby DharmaDude » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:57 pm

Thank you very much for the responses :anjali:

As suggested, I have decided to re-visit a Theravada meditation group [I have not attended in many years] that has twice monthly group meetings with meditation and occasional visits by monks from the local monastery. I have emailed the person who deals with the admin and am awaiting a response for times and dates etc.

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bodom
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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby bodom » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:33 pm

DharmaDude wrote:Thank you very much for the responses :anjali:

As suggested, I have decided to re-visit a Theravada meditation group [I have not attended in many years] that has twice monthly group meetings with meditation and occasional visits by monks from the local monastery. I have emailed the person who deals with the admin and am awaiting a response for times and dates etc.


Excellent! Glad to hear.

: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

philosopher
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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby philosopher » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:02 am

What I did when I first started meditating was to begin with a very short period of time, something like 5 minutes. Then gradually as I *wanted* to meditate more, I increased the time. I always increased it by less than what I wanted, to maintain the energy generated by enthusiasm. Now I'm up to two 30 minute sessions per day. It's definitely something I look forward to rather than a task or chore. However, on the rare day it doesn't feel that way, I still do it anyway.

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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby lojong1 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:13 am

I would begin by focusing more on reasons for increasing regular meditation periods.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:06 am

philosopher wrote: However, on the rare day it doesn't feel that way, I still do it anyway.


That's a good approach. I think in a way meditation is like doing regular exercise to get physically fitter, a little bit of self-discipline goes a long way.
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
Peter Gabriel lyric

ohnofabrications
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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby ohnofabrications » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:05 pm

Hey dharmadude,

This might help with urgency: continuity of practice is probably THE most important thing. Mindfulness basically means remembering to practice, it was obviously something highly touted by the Buddha. If you can maintain a state of relative singleness, quietness, and steadiness of mind with maximal continuity you will make serious progress.

If you are constantly dropping out of concentration to allow your mind to wander to some random fantasy, then those fantasies will never get 'dealt' with. The way things are dealt with is by maintaining concentration WHILE wanting to go off into some thought world. I would say that having the courage not to constantly 'peek' into these thought worlds is the most important thing you can have.

So, stress regularity in your practice. Both in terms of routine formal sittings and major effort to maintain off-cushion concentration and presence.

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Re: Developing regular practice...

Postby Digity » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:32 pm

I had the same problem you did, but eventually I buckled down and just did it. However, one thing that helped me keeping going was seeing progress in my concentration. Over time I could see a real difference in my ability to focus on the breath. I think when this happens it's very encouraging and it makes you want to continue the practice. If you're not experiencing any of this then I can see how the practice would wear on you.

Remember how fortunate you are to even know about the Buddha's teachings and to be able to practice. Don't take these matters lightly. It's imperative that you don't waste this opportunity. You know if the Buddha was alive right now he'd be urging you to practice so I'd heed his words and do it!

Make sure you start off small. If you're trying to meditate for 30 minutes right off the bat that's too much. I started off at 15/20 minutes per day. I recently bumped it up to 25, but that was after a few months. I'll eventually get to 30, etc.
Samsara sucks. #samvega


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