Author Topic: keeping it up  (Read 2352 times)

Alex

  • Member
keeping it up
« on: February 01, 2010, 03:53:13 PM »
Hi all,

At the end of this month I am going on a meditation retreat (7days) like I do every year.
I always come back with the best intentions in terms of daily practice, but after a month or two I start slacking off and eventually stop meditating, at least in a formal way: I don’t sit anymore.
Retreats are great for me because, in such circumstances, practice comes naturally to me. But my daily life still too unsettled, addictions and patterns lurking to absorb my time and energy.

Last year I had set low expectations in order to be able to build a minimum routine, even if it was only 10 minutes a day. But even that didn’t help for long.

Does anybody have any tips or things to consider when trying to establish a daily practice?

Also, I am organizing a corner in my room as a permanent meditation space. I would also like to paint a short but powerful phrase on the wall that will help me do the practice.  On the one hand I am considering a phrase that catches the essence of what we're doing. On the other hand something practical like "just sit" or "sit here" ;)
Any suggestions?

I know I will have to do the work, but I'm hoping to find some inspiration here to jump over the roadbloack this time.

Many thanks!

rebirther

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: keeping it up
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 07:22:08 AM »
rebirther,

Right meditation is one aspect of the path. As you point out you are drawn away even from this by addictions and the like eating up your time. So my suggestion would be to keep up a practice and work on other aspects of the changes you know you need to make.

Ignoring them will lead you down the same path again.

Enjoy the retreat and perhaps think a little before you go about some other needed changes, and act on them.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew

PS having a special place where you sit can certainly help.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 07:23:20 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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TomThumb

  • Member
Re: keeping it up
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 12:34:36 PM »
Good advice from TIB. I think that this is also a question of routine. We are creatures of habit and the habits can take a lot of effort to establish but then take on a life of their own. Personally, I found it hard to identify a time of day when I could meditate. I procrastinated away for years. I finally realised that it implied getting up earlier. It was hard to begin with, especially since I actually started in my summer holidays when one least wants to get out of bed in the morning. Then you finally start, the days turn into weeks and then the weeks into months. Then one day you realise that you just automatically wake up at the correct time every day without needing an alarm clock and go and sit. It is as much a part of my daily routine now as having breakfast...

I also found that I was really resisting very strongly the actual "getting going" part, actually sitting and meditating. Upon further enquiry, I realised that I actually found the whole process boring. I don't mean just a wee bit boring, like cutting the grass or doing the washing up. I mean agonisingly mind numbingly boring. I could almost taste the boredom. I would scream out in my head "Agggghhhhhhh I bored, I can't stand this feeling"... This little insight helped a lot. Once I identified it and used it as part of the meditation, like pain or sleepiness or whatever, it went. If it comes back out of session time (which it hasn't in a quite a while) I just remind myself of my objectives and some quotes I have read to help me along (like "no pain no gain", "you don't have to like it, you don't have to enjoy it, you just have to do it...") and press on, if it comes back during a session, then I just note it and go back to my breathing.

I suggest that you do this introspective analysis yourself.

Good luck,

TT
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 12:36:05 PM by TomThumb »
Before you claim any absolute truth, remember you see only 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear 1% of the acoustic spectrum. 90% of the body’s cells carry their own DNA and are not you. Your body’s atoms are 99.9999999% empty space. Humans have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato.

Alex

  • Member
Re: keeping it up
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2010, 01:37:09 PM »
rebirther,

Right meditation is one aspect of the path. As you point out you are drawn away even from this by addictions and the like eating up your time. So my suggestion would be to keep up a practice and work on other aspects of the changes you know you need to make.

Ignoring them will lead you down the same path again.

Enjoy the retreat and perhaps think a little before you go about some other needed changes, and act on them.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew

PS having a special place where you sit can certainly help.

Off course you're right... Thank you for pointing this out!
I wanted to hear some practical tips that would make it easier for me, but I needed to hear this.  ;)

I tend to think that sitting will lead the way. And off course it does, up to a certain point, but then it’s up to me to work on the other aspects and change what needs to be changed.

I am confident that after the retreat the renewed strength and clarity will help me make some changes, at least the one that is most important to me now (and most destructive to the path).

Thanks again!

rebirther

LisaTech

  • Guest
Re: keeping it up
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2010, 11:24:09 AM »
What I notice about keeping up a practice or not, is a close examination of what my priorities are and why one thing is more important than another.. Why is sleeping longer in the morning more important than getting up? Why are distractions more important at night than meditation? Often if I can understand why I place importance on one action that seems to be a distraction, I am more successfully in acknowledging it and letting it pass, returning to actions that are more fundamentally important to me...

"When no one thing is important, everything has equal importance"...


Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: keeping it up
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 08:53:05 PM »
Off course you're right... Thank you for pointing this out!
I wanted to hear some practical tips that would make it easier for me, but I needed to hear this.  ;)

I seem to have a terrible habit of telling people what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. Some take it very badly. Good for you that you have the wisdom to take it on the nose. I think this bodes well for your establishing a proper practice. It shows growth and maturity.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 10:37:42 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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