Author Topic: Daily Practice Step-by-Step  (Read 488 times)

emptyhand

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Daily Practice Step-by-Step
« on: February 18, 2019, 04:56:24 PM »
I decided to write this post in order to make myself more accountable and perhaps to help someone struggling with the same things.

Brief Story: I did my first Vipassana retreat of 10days in Nov, 2017 and then followed it up with a 3day refresher course in April, 2018. Both of these retreats were nothing short of amazing, albeit super tough too. I'm sure I am not the only one saying this, but I was convinced that I wanted to meditate regularly! Having said that, the reality of things was much tougher than I had imagined and meditating consistently proved to be an issue.

In my mind I rationalised that I wanted serious meditation, so nothing shorter than one hour sitting at any one time would do the trick. Whilst I didn't struggle to get through the one hour session, I struggled to set time aside for it, so I was doing hero sessions of 1hr+...but only once in a blue moon. Once every two weeks at best.

I wanted consistency, so I had to reformulate my approach. I had to think what was long enough for me without it becoming a chore. It's great that others can do 2hours a day or more, but how long was my optimum time that I could allocate at my current capabilities and mental strength?

So I think I have found a sweet spot for myself that doesn't feel like a chore, yet feels long enough to feel like a session. I decided I wanted to do daily morning and evening sessions and 30 mins is what I found works for me. I do 30mins upon waking up and 30 mins before going to sleep. So far, it's working for me and currently already completed 26 sessions or 13 days of consistent meditation. Whilst it doesn't seem much in a grand scheme of things, it's a step forward and I can definitely see the fruits of continuous effort already. The times the mind wanders off are much rarer. The scanning of the body is much more precise. The whole mental structure seems to be solidifying and unifying under the umbrella of calmness.

Anyhow, if someone is also in the process of incorporating daily practice into their lives or has found a way that works for them, please do share your experience as it may helps others!

With Metta,
emptyhand 

May you find what you seek ;)

tbarron

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Re: Daily Practice Step-by-Step
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2019, 06:58:14 PM »
Good for you for establishing yourself a daily practice, emptyhand.

When I retired from my job at the end of April, 2017, one of my plans was to meditate more. Over a year and a half later (this past December), I finally got serious about that and ramped up the amount of time I spend meditating daily. I had been doing an average of 15 minutes per day or so. I'm not sure what suddenly increased my motivation but around December 15 last year (2018) I suddenly started meditating around 1.5 hours each day. Not all at one time -- I've been breaking it up across the day in sessions as short as 10 minutes but sometimes up to 45.

The last few days I've done 2:15 (two hours and 15 minutes). I'm also trying to do noting practice as much as I can informally while going about my day.

I'm grateful to have the leisure time to be able to devote myself to practice as well as being able to read about practice to keep myself motivated. Forums like this help with that also. Thank you all for being here -- it's motivating to have friends who care about the practice.

Tom

emptyhand

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Re: Daily Practice Step-by-Step
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2019, 02:04:12 PM »
Good for you for establishing yourself a daily practice, emptyhand.

When I retired from my job at the end of April, 2017, one of my plans was to meditate more. Over a year and a half later (this past December), I finally got serious about that and ramped up the amount of time I spend meditating daily. I had been doing an average of 15 minutes per day or so. I'm not sure what suddenly increased my motivation but around December 15 last year (2018) I suddenly started meditating around 1.5 hours each day. Not all at one time -- I've been breaking it up across the day in sessions as short as 10 minutes but sometimes up to 45.

The last few days I've done 2:15 (two hours and 15 minutes). I'm also trying to do noting practice as much as I can informally while going about my day.

I'm grateful to have the leisure time to be able to devote myself to practice as well as being able to read about practice to keep myself motivated. Forums like this help with that also. Thank you all for being here -- it's motivating to have friends who care about the practice.

Tom

That's pretty cool, well done! I think that's a good idea of conditioning yourself to do more - to break it up apart, so that sitting down becomes part of the daily bread and butter, plus you keep piling up those precious moments of mindful attention. I might incorporate that too every other day.

I think the more important thing also IS NOT that you have more time, but that you're using it more wisely. That's one thing I noticed whilst I was backpacking in Asia. I had plethora of time to meditate daily or to set aside some time for useful things like online courses or volunteering, but I hardly did that. So it's about using the time you have more efficiently.  :)
May you find what you seek ;)

tbarron

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Re: Daily Practice Step-by-Step
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2019, 08:34:01 PM »
Thanks, emptyhand!

It helps me to not think that every session has to be at least so long to be worthwhile. It's easy to sit down for five or ten minutes and sometimes I feel motivated to do more.

It's taken me a while to get around to using my time more wisely, but thank you for that observation. It's all too easy to let the time slip by without making good use of it.

Backpacking in Asia! That sounds like fun. You must have had some interesting experiences. I'd be curious to hear more, maybe in another thread?

Tom

emptyhand

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Re: Daily Practice Step-by-Step
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2019, 02:00:59 PM »
So a quick update:

It is now the 28th day in a row! Most if not all days I did what I had planned to do completing two sessions of 30mins. Some days less in the morning as I would oversleep, other times I compensated that by doing 45-60mins in one go. So there was certainly balance

It is said that a month is needed to implement a habit into our lives and I do feel much more sure about my practice now. Whilst the outliers of overly agitated or overly equanimous mind remain, they have ironed out into much more stable sessions. I am complementing my practice with two books that I am reading S. N. Goenka "The Art of Living" and Mark Glickman "Beyond the breath". It helps to bring perspective to my practice.

Day-to-day life has also underwent slight changes. I have started incorporating body scanning even outside the cushion. The continuity of a routine has enabled me to stay focused on the sensations even when I am commuting and/or reading a book. I can't maintain it all the time, but it has been my go-to anti-procrastination tool. I'm walking through the park - let's scan the body. I'm doing the dishes - let's scan the body. I'm watching a movie - let's scan the body.

Also, another interesting development - I have started forgiving others and myself more. There have been a few sessions now, where memories of certain incidents from the past have cropped up and I started accepting it and forgiving that person or myself (if the situation involved me and I have wronged someone). Which I have to say, was somewhat liberating.

Lastly, the body and the mind are slowly asking for more meditation time. It's hard to explain, but it's as if they too are undergoing change and want to keep pushing so after today I plan on increasing the session time :D
May you find what you seek ;)

tbarron

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Re: Daily Practice Step-by-Step
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2019, 01:47:46 AM »
Thanks for the update. Sounds like you're doing great! Way to go and keep it up.  ;)

emptyhand

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Re: Daily Practice Step-by-Step
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2019, 11:30:55 PM »
Thanks for the update. Sounds like you're doing great! Way to go and keep it up.  ;)

How is your own practice going?


I noticed another shift in my meditation. Slowly the focus has started to shift from physical sensations to the mental ones. The scanning of the body started to bring up more and more states of mind, whether it be dullness, spinning, agitation or total "seemingly weightless" tranquility/happiness. It's quite difficult to claw through them, especially the positive illusions, yet I can sense it is another little yardstick for some progress. :)

p.s. A friend of mine has introduced me to the idea of the darkness retreats, where you isolate yourself for X amount of days in a room without a light. It resonated with me a lot, but I don't think I am ready for this kind of experience. There are a lot of demons I am still not ready to face. What is your experience with it? Have you heard of it or perhaps done it?
May you find what you seek ;)

Apkallu

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Re: Daily Practice Step-by-Step
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2019, 09:19:49 AM »
I started in Jan 2015, twice a day, between 20 min to 60 min each. It was not vipassana but mantra meditation and other techniques along that one (pranayama + mantra + samyama). Prana arose about 2 months + other "strange" things shortly afterwards  :D
I switched to other techniques including vipassana then fully vipassana since weeks.

Most of the time, I would meditate in the train for 15 min in the morning and in the evening. Or do it even standing at worst.
But every evening I would do a meditation for 30 to 60 min.
Saturdays are often off.
Fun thing is that since I do vipassana, I wake up one hour sooner than before. Maybe is it my body looking for a morning meditation  ;)

Right now, I think I need to meditate hours before sleep to better struggle against sleepiness (one of the 5 enemies !) but that is hard to achieve in terms of schedule...