Author Topic: Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed  (Read 3215 times)

dhruv

Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed
« on: April 28, 2010, 05:42:39 PM »
Greetings, I'm dhruv and this is my first time posting on this forum. I'm 20 now and just came back from my 2nd Goenka retreat. This one was just 6 months after my last one because I could not progress ahead of anapana the first time. Even this time I only got gross sensations however on one day I did feel my entire face vibrating. Just trying to give a frame of refrence. I have been a heavy drug user since I was 15. It's been 3 days since I came back and I have been clean and decided to stay clean till october atleast. I'm waiting to build some mental strength.

However I havn't meditated since I have come back and I will make sure I do know. What was of concern to me is that I was being a little absent minded. How do I stay aware at all times during the day. Goenka suggests paying attention to the moving part of the body, breath and sensation. I try but I still stay absent minded.

For example, should I focus on my breath while reading. And if yes where, on the tip of my nose or in the entire body. I'm looking for such bits of practical advice. Also the few times I tried meditating I couldn't feel sensations. I'm scared that I will start becoming reactive again if I can't observe them. I am open to other techniques but I think the Goenka description of anapana at the nose makes you reach the stage of feeling sensations quicker. Is this true.

Please share your personal experiance on how you maintain awareness and equanimity during work, study and daily life. Practical advice. Specific and easy to understand so I can try and see for myself.

I'm also very ADD. A little better now but I can feel myself slipping back. How do maiting concentration while mentally intensive tasks. Where do you focus? On the object itself?

Please share your thoughts, ideas and opinions.

Cheers

Renze

  • Member
    • Ungrounded
    • No hope
Re: Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2010, 06:37:47 PM »
Welcome to these forums, dhruv.

I personally think that mindfulness during the day is not (only) about bodily sensations. It's about being mindful of anything that arises to the surface at every moment. So if you get lost in thought (which is what absent minded basically is), be aware of the fact that you're thinking, without judging yourself. If you're reading, be aware of the fact that you're reading, of the thoughts that arise while reading, the emotional responses that may arise etc. etc. Whatever comes to the foreground. And if there's a bodily sensation arising to the foreground, you're aware of that. And if nothing is at the foreground, you can A.) be mindful of the breath or B.) be mindful of the fact that there's nothing at the foreground. If you're doing physical stuff, like walking, you can be aware of the feelings you get in your body (the feet etc.)

What helped me in the beginning, was to take mental labels of everything that arises. So when you're thinking, label it in your head 'thinking, thinking' until the thought is gone. Also, don't ever judge yourself. It takes a lot of practice to be mindful of everything during the day. If you still get lost in thought, don't blame yourself for it, just be aware that you got lost in thought.

Do you practice meditation daily, or only in retreats? It pays off to practice daily.

dhruv

Re: Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 06:38:46 AM »
It's been 3 days since my retreat and I havn't. But I will from today, 2 hours everyday.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 06:58:45 AM »
Hi dhruv, welcome to the forums.

Renze gives some good advice. Not really anything I would add to it except to say be careful in setting yourself reasonable targets you will meet at the beginning so you don't set yourself up for a fall.

If you can do two hours a day of simple Shamatha relaxation it would be profoundly transformative, given what you have explained. ADD and running mind and drug use can all be transformed with this practice. But if you can't manage two hours a day just don't turn that into a stick to beat yourself with, decide to try a little smaller to start instead.

Warm welcome,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Crystal Palace

  • Member
  • "Move on Bhikkus, Move On" - Buddha
    • Thai Forest Tradition
Re: Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 09:44:21 AM »
Dhruv,

Meditation is essentially effortless. I would suggest at this stage you focus primarily on anapana - for at least a couple of months although you would be a better judge of that. Train the mind to calm down first. Start the practice of vipassana only once you reckon you have established a certain level of calm.

Sit down cross legged, with your back straight and breathe in, aware of your body and aware of the present moment. Breathe out aware of your body and aware of the present moment. Glide with your breath. Follow it, as it goes in and as it goes out. If the mind runs like a monkey accept that. If the mind runs like a monkey for hours on end, accept that. If the mind has quitened down accept that. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Whatever it is - just let it be.

Quote

How do I stay aware at all times during the day.


To stay aware at all times during the day, you will have to be a very advanced practitioner. So for the time being focus only on your 'on-cushion' time, the 'off-cushion' will follow later.


Quote

Goenka suggests paying attention to the moving part of the body, breath and sensation. I try but I still stay absent minded.


He suggests doing that when you are meditating, not in real time situations. So for instance, if you are driving, your attention should be totally on that, and not on your body. Gradually, however, you will reach a stage when you will be aware of yourself, your body, your thoughts and your surroundings while working. But that's a little far away for the time being.

Quote

For example, should I focus on my breath while reading.


No you shouldn't, you should focus on reading.


Go easy on yourself. Be compassionate to yourself. There will be times when you will do stupid things that will hurt your practice but that's okay because everyone goes through such stages. Afterall as SN Goenka says, "the habits of a lifetime are not going away in a day"

As far as practical tips go, since I know you are in college, and seeing how inconducive such an environment can be for meditative practice, I have attached below a reply I had written earlier to one of our fellow meditators. Go throught it and see what fits you depending upon your preferences and dedication.

If there's anything that is unclear, kindly ask, I will be more than happy to clarfiy  :)

Warmly,
Crystal Palace

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sylvan Hart,

I too am in college and am currently living in a hostel. I can understand the problems you might be facing in trying to keep up the Dharmic life in the not so Dharmic environment of a college/school.

Here are some of the things I try to do to maintain my practice:

1. Left all social networking sites. They are not only big time wasters, but also huge playing fields for the ego. I remember in high school I would spend all the time on such sites. Once you get sucked in to them, its very hard to come out.

2. Keep socializing to an absolute minimum. In college it is very common to join XYZ club/society and then be involved in its day to day activities and politics. Its really useless.

3. Have a quiet room where I can practice meditation. Im grateful to my room mate in this regard, who I know from High school, that he does not listen to loud music or does other things that can become a distraction. We try to keep our room isolated so not many people come to our room otherwise in hostels its virtually like free entry and exit. Friends will come and go and come and go and it becomes impossible to have quiet time to oneself.

4. No intoxicants whatsoever. I have never really taken these so this one's not hard for me although again in college all this stuff is pretty common.

5. Keep a low profile. I used to be really extroverted in school and this can beome a real hindrance especially if girls are around and especially at this age, so this time in college, I didn't even 'build an image' that I knew would require a lot of time and energy to maintain.

6. Wholesome speech. This one's a real tester in college. Its very common to use swear words and just bitch about people and things. Its almost a fashion to use different and unique types of swear words but all of this can lead to breaking of sila on a daily basis, which is harmful for the practice. So I try to use no swear words at all and keep my talks to a minimum.

7. The issue regarding girls is a tricky one. While I understand girl chasing is a hindrance to the practice, I try hard not to have aversion towards them as well - that is I try hard not to deliberately avoid them. Ultimately even if you are looking for someone you would want to have a meaningful relationship and I have not found a single girl here who is interested in the Dhamma nor do I expect to. The girls here are just like the boys, to whom only the superficial relationships matter. So I feel that even if I can charm a girl she wouldn't be interested in the Dhamma and this thought puts me at ease in my behaviour around girls.

8. Only meaningful friends. In school I used to keep a high profile and virtually every person in my batch knew me. But in college I decided to interact with only those people who I thought would not hinder my growth on the path and although this means I have fewer friends I have much more meaningful relationships with them.  

9. Patience. Although we don't play music in our room, a lot of our neighbours play loud music. It can be disturbing especially if youre meditating, but I try to practice tolerance and patience whenever there's loud music being played and I reckon my ablilty to tolerate things has gone up because of that.

Therefore, although university has a higly undharmic environment, practice can nonetheless be continued if the determination is high. Comparing my life in school to my life in college, I feel more in control, peaceful and ultimately happy. Since I have seen the difference I am inspired to continue the Dhamma practice.

I want to leave you with a quote from the Dhammapada which has become a cornerstone in my attitude towards life.

Best Wishes,
Crystal Palace


Better than a thousand hollow words
Is one word that brings peace.
Better than a thousand hollow verses
Is one verse that brings peace.
Better than a hundred hollow lines
Is one line of the dharma, bringing peace.
It is better to conquer yourself
Than to win a thousand battles.
Then the victory is yours.
It cannot be taken from you,
Not by angels or by demons,
Heaven or hell.
Better than a hundred years of worship,
Better than a thousand offerings,
Better than giving up a thousand worldly ways
In order to win merit,
Better even than tending in the forest
A sacred flame for a hundred years -
Is one moment's reverence
For the man who has conquered himself.
To revere such a man,
A master old in virtue and holiness,
Is to have victory over life itself,
And beauty, strength and happiness.
Better than a hundred years of mischief
Is one day spent in contemplation.
Better than a hundred years of ignorance
Is one day spent in reflection.
Better than a hundred years of idleness
Is one day spent in determination.
Better to live one day
Wondering
How all things arise and pass away.
Better to live one hour
Seeing
The one life beyond the way.
Better to live one moment
In the moment
Of the way beyond the way.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 09:50:38 AM by Crystal Palace »
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

dhruv

Re: Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 12:59:52 PM »
Firstly, I really appreciate the advice and thank you all :) TIB, you make a very good point. I can't do vipassana here. It comes easy in the retreats after some time but there are far too many distractions here. I need to have reasoable goals.

Here is what I understand of Shamthatha
1. Breath in and out naturally
2. Feel the breath flood the entire body.
3. Feel the chest and abdomen rise.
4. Be aware of thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensation as they arise.
5. Observe them and do not engage them.

If I can establish a calm base in one sitting I will move on to anapana at the nose. I still plan to sit for 2 hours everyday. Is this advisable, doing shamtha and then anapana. My main reason for anapana is concentration.

Also, Is it ok to meditate late in the night. The hour before I go to bed (because everyone is sleeping then). In the morning too it will be the first thing after I wake up. Might go for a quick run before that as my circardian rythm is a little out of whack.

Metta

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2010, 01:03:21 PM »
dhruv,

Concentration comes from calm. Anapana is a form of Shamatha meditation. Personally I would recommend you stick to one form, Shamatha as described above. This process takes a while to really feel your way into and mixing techniques will confuse that process.

It works on a very deep level affecting the reptilian parts of the brain through feedback from the body and telling them to "calm down". As you calm, yet stay awake, concentration emerges as well as other fruits that will help your practice.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

dhruv

Re: Mindfulness in daily life and work: Practical Advice Needed
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2010, 01:07:34 PM »
Thankyour for clearing that up TIB

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
12 Replies
5472 Views
Last post June 25, 2016, 12:29:21 PM
by stillpointdancer
40 Replies
12822 Views
Last post March 05, 2012, 03:19:29 PM
by frepie
2 Replies
1386 Views
Last post March 06, 2014, 05:37:09 PM
by siddharthgode
2 Replies
1466 Views
Last post January 25, 2015, 12:55:01 PM
by Alex
9 Replies
1957 Views
Last post January 22, 2018, 11:39:12 PM
by pwinston
1 Replies
969 Views
Last post June 18, 2019, 12:38:50 PM
by Nicky
1 Replies
543 Views
Last post July 24, 2020, 09:04:11 PM
by Matthew