Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

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

Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Jack » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:24 pm

Many people start a meditation practice and then drop out. I want to come up with a list of some techniques to keep them going. Please add or comment on the following suggestions. 1. Attend meditation group meetings regularly even if they meet hours away and you can only go once a month 2. Try and go on a retreat at least once a year. 3. Use guided meditation tapes when your practice is going through some rough times. There are plenty on the Internet 3 Vary your practice. Sometimes I will concentrate on vedana, sometimes on letting phenomena go, sometimes on just returning my attention back when it goes away, sometimes on the hindrances. Usually I do vipassana but sometimes switch to samadhi. Sometimes I start off with samadhi meditation counting 200 breath cycles and then switch to vipassana. If I am doing samadhi, I might pay attention to 8 focus points, i.e., beginning and end of in breath and out breath plus the two turnarounds. I might pick one point to start and then go to the next point and so on. Then I would put them all together. 4. Start off with walking meditation. 5. I have some CD's with nature sounds that I use sometimes while meditating. I rarely use these but it helped when I was going through a rough patch last year. 6. One thing I learned when I ran a lot was to just get out the door. That was my goal. Once I did that, I almost always finished my scheduled run. This translates into a meditation practice by blocking out a time and just starting. 7. Count breaths (1-10 and repeat) and note whatever came up. 8. Start off with setting intentions or purpose. Mahayana Buddhists say the following Bodhisattva Vow: However innumerable sentient beings are, I vow to save them. However inexhaustible the defilements are, I vow to extinguish them. However immeasurable the dharmas are, I vow to master them. Howver incomparable enlightenment is, I vow to attain it. For a time, I would use a variation of this by saying: My purpose is to alleviate stress and suffering for myself, all those I touch and all beings. 9. Say to yourself at the start of meditation, I have nothing better to do in the next 25 or whatever minutes. 10. Use a mala, worry beads or rosary to count breaths. 11. Try to meditate at the same time each day. 12. During the meditation session, investigate whatever resistance comes up.

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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Reductor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:48 pm

I would like to add that have helped me maintain a daily meditation practice. Especially 14. That's my favorite.

13. Leave your meditation seat setup.
14. Assemble a simple shrine. I find that to sit in front of my shrine and recollect the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha dispels obstructive states of mind. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... ml#summary
15. Take up the five recollections: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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

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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Abyss » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:50 pm

I would like to quote Bhante Punnaji here:

When our goal in life changes to tranquility of mind, our thoughts, speech, and actions will fall in line directed towards this goal. You don't have to push yourself to meditate. Meditation will automatically occur in you because meditation is the means to the goal you are pursuing. Your life is going in that direction. You don't have to make any effort. You don't have to make any resolution. You don't need to have will-power to meditate. Willpower is the result of meditation, and not a means to it. You don't have to force yourself to meditate. You don't have to say, "I don't have any time, I have to make time." You will automatically have time because that is what you want to do. If you really want to do something you will have time. You don't have time only when you are not really interested in doing something.
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby salmon » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:34 am

16. No matter how busy you are, or how much in a rush, just take 5 minutes each morning to sit and breathe mindfully.

While this may sound very trivial, it actually helps you to keep your (meditation) momentum going. When you find yourself able to allocate time to practice again, you'll find it easier to "hop back in".
~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Guy » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:02 am

17. Just do it (please don't sue me Nike)
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: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:14 am

Guy, you took the wordds right out of my mouth!
but for effect...
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:00 am

so no one here heard of victoria wood?
lets do it

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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby BlackBird » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:43 pm

If it wasn't for Dukkha, the Noble Eightfold Path (including meditation) would be without purpose. Working backwards, it's Dukkha that we need to understand in order to spur an impetus for practice. Once we can see the burns we've been given by craving, we can start looking in earnest for a way out.

The more we practice, the more we see Dukkha, the more we see Dukkha, the more we practice.

metta
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Kenshou » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:01 pm

:goodpost:

The thing that I've found helps me stay on top of it is to force myself to make up for any missed meditation by doing it before bed at the last minute. Eventually it sinks in that you better get it done earlier so that it doesn't have to cut into sleep-time.

And what's the reward for meeting your meditation goal for the day? .....more meditation.
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Sekha » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:59 pm

Well some items may be added to the above mentioned lists.

What happens during your meditation time is connected to every single other thing you do in your day. Therefore it is impossible to devellop in meditation if outside of that time you keep fulfilling your cravings. You must get your 5 sila perfect.

You must absolutely abandon any sexual activity, otherwise you can't even reach the first jhana, not to mention intoxicants.

You must restrain yourself in entertainments, ideally suppress them all (TV, movies, music, getting out with friends who are deeply concerned with fulfilling desires, parties etc.).

Don't get yourself busy with the world. Guard your sense doors, don't get involved in sense pleasures. Give up as many responsabilities as possible, they bother your meditation very much. Don't watch the news, you will always be told when something really important happens.

Cultivate wholesome thoughts for everyone. Practice metta bhavana after each sitting for a few minutes.

You also better restrain yourself in food, not eating at night, or very lightly. Restrain in sleep, decrease your time of sleep, because you don't need to sleep 8 nor 7 nor even 6 hours a night. You can very rightly transform your time of sleep into time for meditation.

Generally speaking, go to the essential, only perform deeds which are absolutely necessary, give up all other activities and get to sit whenever you managed some free time.

But the best instructions are given by the Buddha himself
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby adosa » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:21 am

Dukkhanirodha wrote:Well some items may be added to the above mentioned lists.

What happens during your meditation time is connected to every single other thing you do in your day. Therefore it is impossible to devellop in meditation if outside of that time you keep fulfilling your cravings. You must get your 5 sila perfect.

You must absolutely abandon any sexual activity, otherwise you can't even reach the first jhana, not to mention intoxicants.

You must restrain yourself in entertainments, ideally suppress them all (TV, movies, music, getting out with friends who are deeply concerned with fulfilling desires, parties etc.).

Don't get yourself busy with the world. Guard your sense doors, don't get involved in sense pleasures. Give up as many responsabilities as possible, they bother your meditation very much. Don't watch the news, you will always be told when something really important happens.

Cultivate wholesome thoughts for everyone. Practice metta bhavana after each sitting for a few minutes.

You also better restrain yourself in food, not eating at night, or very lightly. Restrain in sleep, decrease your time of sleep, because you don't need to sleep 8 nor 7 nor even 6 hours a night. You can very rightly transform your time of sleep into time for meditation.

Generally speaking, go to the essential, only perform deeds which are absolutely necessary, give up all other activities and get to sit whenever you managed some free time.

But the best instructions are given by the Buddha himself



So which came first the renunciation or the meditation?


adosa :smile:
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Sekha » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:37 am

renunciation (to some extent at least) must come first.

otherwise there is no energy for meditation

when meditation devellops, renunciation goes deeper
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Jack » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:14 pm

[quote="Dukkhanirodha"]Well some items may be added to the above mentioned lists.


You must absolutely abandon any sexual activity, otherwise you can't even reach the first jhana, not to mention intoxicants.

===
I strongly disagree with the above but that is the subject of another thread.
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Re: Techniques to keep a daily meditation practice going

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:25 pm

That assumes that we see the Jhanas as desirable.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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