Author Topic: Time spent on the cushion...  (Read 4016 times)

Billymac629

  • Bill
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  • Everything rises and everything falls away
    • Breath and Satipatthana
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Time spent on the cushion...
« on: March 02, 2012, 12:43:34 AM »
So just wondering how much time everyone feels is a suffice amount of time to meditate... I usually do about an hour a day.. 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening or afternoon..  Although recently I've had days where I only got the morning sit in since I'm a coach and season is starting up.

Now I know one should meditate as much as one can, but I've heard 40 minutes to an hour is sufficient and also some teach minimum of 2 hours per day... Any opinions??

With metta
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 11:15:14 AM by Billymac629 »
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...

Alexanderjohn

Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 12:51:34 AM »
You can really only know this for yourself. It's not so much that meditation is a formula that will magically churn out insight and peace the more effort you pump into it. You have to know your limits and be realistic with yourself about them. This means knowing when to gently stretch these boundaries. And do remember, it's not just about what happens on the cushion.

Andrew

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Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2012, 02:06:25 AM »
I find trying to make myself achieve some target, only brings up rebellion, I've learnt the hard way not to stress about it. Sit when you can for as long as seems profitable. what you are doing now is more than enough, what really counts, to echo Alex, is that moment to moment awareness, plain and ordinary, during the day. Being your own jovial-scientist-observer-friend, "hmm, look at that feeling, what an amazing thing!"

I've swung probably further than most would towards being very laid back about it only because I observed it was counter productive to push myself. That observed condition is a product of my particular conditioning (extreme fundamentalist Christianity) which means I can strive with the best of them, but through mindfulness have learnt it is not the path (middle way).

Let each moment go as quickly as it comes and take the same attitude to the cushion, the toilet, the bed, work, the train, etc etc.




getting it done

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
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Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2012, 11:00:37 AM »
I've had periods of sitting 14 hours a day and months where I do not sit and everything in between.

Andrew makes a solid point that you are already embodying from your other posts - meditation is not just about time on the cushion. Mindfulness cultivated 24/7 is where the strength of the middle way lays: Truly facing up to your "self".

That is not to say that cushion time is unimportant. It amplifies the ability to face up to oneself and cut through the layers of mind and conditioning. It strengthens concentration, establishes deeper calm and aids insight development. Most people I know benefit well from 2 one hour sits a day but quality matters more than quantity. Additionally you can do mini retreats on a day off whereby you push the limits a bit and set yourself a schedule of mindful activities including more hours sitting. At the other end of the scale you can always do mini-sits lasting anything from half a minute to a few minutes - when faced with a stressful situation, the demand to respond to something, or when going to the bathroom.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

teacher

Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 03:00:06 PM »
I find trying to make myself achieve some target, only brings up rebellion, I've learnt the hard way not to stress about it. Sit when you can for as long as seems profitable. what you are doing now is more than enough, what really counts, to echo Alex, is that moment to moment awareness, plain and ordinary, during the day. Being your own jovial-scientist-observer-friend, "hmm, look at that feeling, what an amazing thing!"

correct . i am the proof  :angel:

rob

Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 09:01:28 PM »
I aim for two 30m sessions a day, morning and evening, plus a 2-hour class one night a week.

Matthew--

Love the mini-retreat idea, never thought of that. Very difficult to get much sitting done at home on the weekends since that's when I usually "get stuff done" and because my apartment building gets kinda loud and has very thin walls. Gonna give that a try on Saturday anyway, though.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 10:35:46 PM »
rob,

If you do the point is to be quite "tight" with the discipline but relaxed with the experience.

The details don't matter but try and stick to what you decide upfront, even if that is "sit til it feels right to stop".

Matthew

ps If home is full of distraction driving 20 miles into the countryside to somewhere quiet or walking to the nearest graveyard work well.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 10:47:17 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

rob

Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2012, 10:49:05 PM »
rob,

If you do the point is to be quite "tight" with the discipline but relaxed with the experience.

The details don't matter but try and stick to what you decide upfront, even if that is "sit til it feels right to stop".

Matthew

ps If home is full of distraction driving 20 miles into the countryside to somewhere quiet or walking to the nearest graveyard work well.

Noted, thank you. In your opinion, does it matter HOW you spend this time? For example, a few hours of sitting vs. 30 minute intervals of sitting, walking, sitting, walking, etc.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2012, 11:47:25 PM »
rob,

Good question. Yes and no - it depends.

I get the impression  for you it's time to push your boundaries having prepared yourself. For your first one I'd recommend something along these lines:

- Get a few good night's sleep before, stay hydrated and relax. Stay off intoxicants.
- Prepare anyone you share your space with by telling them what you're doing. Turn off the phones.
- Timetable tightly so you DO spend the time as you intend (esp if it's your first time). Start with waking and showering.
- Sit half an hour before breakfast. Only drink warm water before sitting.
- Prepare and eat a wholesome breakfast and clean up. Break to make up an hour.
- Double your normal time for the next sit: 1 hr if normally half an hour, or 2 hrs if normally 1hr/40 minutes - just sitting, one session, walk for 5 minutes in the middle if getting cramps.
- After that take a break of half an hour, relax, lie on the bed, drink some tea, go in the garden and be aware, or walk -whatever it takes - but do not lose your mindfulness, don't reflect, be (true for all breaks).
- Depending on the time either sit for another hour and/or:
- mindfully prepare a wholesome lunch and eat it and clean up.
- After lunch another half hour break.
- 2 hr sit whatever your normal time is. By now mindfulness if firm. If you are used to 20 minutes you can do this.
- 1/4 hour tea Break
- Finally a 1/2 hour sit to close or one hour if that's your norm.
- In the evening no music, tv or videos etc. Relax, read a Dhamma text or go to bed. You will be tired. Be aware of your tiredness when it comes and go to bed. Habitually most ignore it.

This is up to around a nine hour timetable in full, including 15 minutes for showering and getting to the cushion and up to 61/2 hours sitting. Less than a working day yet more work and more refreshing. Sitting is the bulk. Walking meditation is to relieve the cramps and go for a piss. Breaks between sittings or walking mindfully outside or whatever is important for balance.

It's half the time sitting I did on my longest retreat: 14 hrs a day for 30 days, but for anyone with little or no retreat experience and/or a busy life it's a good middle way.

Matthew
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 11:53:17 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Alexanderjohn

Re: Time spent on the cushion...
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2012, 08:59:51 AM »
This mini-retreat sounds like an excellent idea, may well use your timetable. I've been thinking about taking my parang and hacking my way into the jungle for a day... The jungle can give you a very sharp awareness of your surroundings you don't often get when sitting between walls.

 

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