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Meditation Journal

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Meditation Journal

Postby Floating_Abu on Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:07 am

Please feel free to use this thread for posting your meditations. Use it as a meditation diary, a log book or challenge yourself publicly to keep a commitment.
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Stephanie on Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:09 pm

Been off of daily sitting for a while now, which has become a source of endless frustration, because behind every difficult, confused, or completely mentally scattered day is the thought, 'How might this day have been if I'd been keeping up with my sitting?'

I hereby challenge myself to sit at least once every day for the next week... and then go from there. Will come here to post a brief description of each sitting, and also will post if I don't sit, and why I didn't sit.
:???: .. :<.<: :HAHA:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby hrtbeat7 on Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:48 pm

Stephanie wrote:Been off of daily sitting for a while now, which has become a source of endless frustration, because behind every difficult, confused, or completely mentally scattered day is the thought, 'How might this day have been if I'd been keeping up with my sitting?'

I hereby challenge myself to sit at least once every day for the next week... and then go from there. Will come here to post a brief description of each sitting, and also will post if I don't sit, and why I didn't sit.


Hiya Stephanie, and Thanks for your efforts!

Establishing a routine is more difficult these days than ever, it seems, with so much distraction occupying everyone's life -- all the multi-tasking and bombardments from the multi-channel media, etc., not to mention the pesky cell phone world with everyone walking around speaking to or thumbing texts on miniature devices, and then, of course, if one has a family, time for sitting is even more elusive.

In any case, I once heard that it takes the mind about 21 days of regularly repeating a process until it becomes established in the neural file as an official "routine", and then you just do it as part of your regular day, without having to ponder each time "should I , or not".

For most, it seems the best time is right when you get up, and some will set their alarm clocks to get up a half hour early to sit. Another popular time is before bed, when the day is done. This is also a good segue into sleep, with the mind emptied out and the body relaxed.

In my own experience, after I left the zen monastery where I had trained, I found that I had to establish a routine based on my new life in the marketplace, and so I got up about 3 hours before I needed to catch the bus to work, and used that time for yoga and zazen. Then I also found that my lunch hour provided an opportunity for more zazen, and by eliminating the television (except for Japanese Film Festivals), I had a few more hours in the evening for zazen. In this way, I was able to maintain my sitting practice while still busy in the workaday world. This routine served well for many years, but eventually my work responsibilities were such that I had less and less time available for sitting. Consequently, I directed my career to a resolution whereby I could eventually semi-retire and devote myself more fully to the sitting practice, and that's worked out OK.


:Namaste:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Stephanie on Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:15 pm

hrtbeat7 wrote:
Stephanie wrote:Been off of daily sitting for a while now, which has become a source of endless frustration, because behind every difficult, confused, or completely mentally scattered day is the thought, 'How might this day have been if I'd been keeping up with my sitting?'

I hereby challenge myself to sit at least once every day for the next week... and then go from there. Will come here to post a brief description of each sitting, and also will post if I don't sit, and why I didn't sit.


Hiya Stephanie, and Thanks for your efforts!

Establishing a routine is more difficult these days than ever, it seems, with so much distraction occupying everyone's life -- all the multi-tasking and bombardments from the multi-channel media, etc., not to mention the pesky cell phone world with everyone walking around speaking to or thumbing texts on miniature devices, and then, of course, if one has a family, time for sitting is even more elusive.

In any case, I once heard that it takes the mind about 21 days of regularly repeating a process until it becomes established in the neural file as an official "routine", and then you just do it as part of your regular day, without having to ponder each time "should I , or not".

For most, it seems the best time is right when you get up, and some will set their alarm clocks to get up a half hour early to sit. Another popular time is before bed, when the day is done. This is also a good segue into sleep, with the mind emptied out and the body relaxed.

In my own experience, after I left the zen monastery where I had trained, I found that I had to establish a routine based on my new life in the marketplace, and so I got up about 3 hours before I needed to catch the bus to work, and used that time for yoga and zazen. Then I also found that my lunch hour provided an opportunity for more zazen, and by eliminating the television (except for Japanese Film Festivals), I had a few more hours in the evening for zazen. In this way, I was able to maintain my sitting practice while still busy in the workaday world. This routine served well for many years, but eventually my work responsibilities were such that I had less and less time available for sitting. Consequently, I directed my career to a resolution whereby I could eventually semi-retire and devote myself more fully to the sitting practice, and that's worked out OK.


:Namaste:


Thanks for the support and encouragement, hb.

My zazen practice fell off as I entered grad school. I kept it up OK at first, but over time, the intense schedule and constant state of exhaustion cut away at my motivation and ability to sit.

I'm a 'night sitter'--if I sit only once a day (which is almost always the case), I sit at night. I have enough trouble as it is getting up in time to get wherever I need to be for the day on time, and it takes me a while most days to get past that first bit of morning sleepiness. And I like to sit when I know my day is over, and I can let it go on the cushion. The problem is, though, sometimes I come home and get distracted and do something else until I'm falling asleep, or have a beer or two with dinner, etc. My solution to this starting out this year when I was trying to get things back on track was to sit as soon as I came home, but that hasn't been consistent either. Trying to get back to it...

I did sit last night. I was distracted and foggy, which was expected, but it is always nice to come home to myself on the cushion and drop everything for a while. That said, I noticed that I had a lot of resistance toward sitting with the churn of confused thoughts and feelings that has taken over the inner silence since coming up here for grad school. I think that's probably been the biggest factor in my slowed down frequency of sitting--that it's been more appealing to distract myself from the states of mind that come about over the course of the day than to sit with them. Especially since things started to get difficult at the beginning of 2008, because I kept up a pretty good sitting schedule through most of my first semester, and was even sitting with a local sangha multiple days a week at that point.

Anyway... I soldier on... :lol2:
:???: .. :<.<: :HAHA:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Floating_Abu on Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:28 pm

Thanks for your good work and inspiration, Stephanie.

I will join you for a week starting tomorrow so I will follow.

:rbow:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Floating_Abu on Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:12 am

Day 1 - I sat for 20 minutes and did 100 prostrations. :Namaste:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Stephanie on Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:17 pm

Thank you, FA! It's really encouraging to share this effort with you.

Sat again last night. Was sitting with some disappointment and heartache, but that strangely made it easier to sit... I think at times like that, one really experiences the aspect of sitting as a "refuge." Was still foggy and distracted, but felt a little more solid.

And to record: Night 1 was a 25 minute sit, Night 2 a 30 minute one.

:Namaste:
:???: .. :<.<: :HAHA:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby genkaku on Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:00 pm

Thanks all! I got in an incense-stick's worth yesterday, but there were errands and early-to-work today, so it'll be a no-zazen day today.

I did turn the heat on in the zendo with the notion that I would sit a couple of hours tomorrow. We'll see what actually happens.

Thanks again.
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Floating_Abu on Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:16 am

Thanks Stephanie and Adam.

Day 2: Bowed, prayed, sat for 20 minutes.
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Floating_Abu on Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:17 am

Stephanie wrote:Thank you, FA! It's really encouraging to share this effort with you.


Likewise - it's an honour. Thankyou. :Namaste:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Laura on Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:11 pm

This is for Stephanie:

I am also working to re-establish a good sitting routine. I don't know if this will work for you, but I am also a night-sitter and have found that I really have to sandwich sitting in on most worknights. It's not good for me to do it when I first get home from work-- with dogs needing out and fed and dinner for my husband and myself (he normally cooks but I am required to eat and clean up) that just isn't the right time. And just before bedtime is not a good time, because I'm tired then. So I have a time that seems to work well, which is right in-between. Usually around 7:00 or 7:30 I can relax from dinner, I am not sleepy yet, and the distractions are few. For me, that's a good time to get in a half/hour or so. YMMV, of course!
"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, ....The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand"

-- WB Yeats
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Stephanie on Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:28 pm

I think that's good advice, Laura--I managed to sit pretty late last night but almost missed because I waited until I started to feel sleepy. Luckily I got enough of a 'second wind' to sit pretty solidly for 20 minutes. I could feel the benefit from having sat the two days prior--just a slight bit more stability. My mind was still all over the place, but I felt more connected to that part of my mind that is able to root itself in the here and now, could actually feel and consistently stay with the effort to bring the attention back.
:???: .. :<.<: :HAHA:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Floating_Abu on Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:20 am

Day 3 - Prostrated 3 times in the ten directions. Sat for 20 minutes. :Namaste:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby ZenGeek on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:01 pm

Thank you all. Inspiring to hear others with the same obstacles. I'm now sitting pretty regularly in the morning before breakfast, but I have a hard time disciplining myself in the evening. Sometimes I sit, sometimes i don't. No 21 days in a row here. :cry:

On workdays it's routine, but in the weekends it's harder. It's very tempting to stay in bed and cuddle with my girlfriend, but sometimes I do manage. :peace:
Zi gui yi Fo - I take refuge in the Buddha
Zi gui yi Fa - I take refuge in the Dharma
Zi gui yi Seng - I take refuge in the Sangha
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby m0rl0ck on Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:43 pm

Sat for about an hour yesterday which is about a half hour less than i usually shoot for. I've been distracted lately and continue to obsess on and off to some greater or lesser degree about my posture. One if the reasons for my distraction is that i had an experience during / after sitting a few days ago and i am dealing with the grasping and obsessiveness that, for me, almost always follows. Struggling with letting go of my previous experiences, but thats really the heart of the matter anyway isnt it? :)
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Ko_Shin on Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:15 am

I sat for 20 minutes today.

I don't usually get to sit everyday, typically I get 3 maybe 4 sessions of 15 or even as short as 10 minutes over the course of the work week. But on weekends I usually do 20 minutes on Saturday and Sunday, today due to a pretty significant snow storm I got a chance to do 20 minutes today.

I've been reading "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman and I read one poem from the collection at the start of my sit and another at the end. Today my sit was bookmarked by "A BOSTON BALLAD. (1854.)" and "EUROPE, The 72d and 73d Years of These States."

Often it has seemed that the poems I read from this collection have a theme or express an idea that seems very connected to Zen ideas but not always and that was the case today, though the poems were no less enjoyable. It helps me appreciate the poems when I'm still in the mode of concentration only on what I'm doing at the moment and letting the experience - in this case the reading of the poem - be all.

I think I reached a milestone today. About a month ago I bought my first Zafu and Zabuton. It's been great to have them right from the start but today during my sit I truly felt that the cushions were my home, my own space, like a treasured treehouse or spot in the woods, it felt like the universe was just a small bubble around me on my special cushions. Someday this set of Zafu and Zabuton will be old and worn and I expect it'll be very difficult to move on from using them to new ones that will continue to provide a good foundation for sitting. :)
"Whether the water is cold or warm, only you will know, and it is not something you can describe to others."
Master Hanshan Deqing "Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners" Translation by Guo-gu Shi
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Floating_Abu on Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:46 am

Thankyou all for sharing here, it warms my hearts. :Namaste:
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby m0rl0ck on Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:34 am

About an hour and a half. Trying to start over at stupid and having mixed success. Such is the nature of the beast. :) You may be dead tomorrow and what is there in this world worth holding on to anyway? Let go, let go :)
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby ZenGeek on Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:39 am

I actually sat for 20 min last night. I sat in burmese and didn't get any pain in my bad knee. It felt like you all cheered me on. My morning sessions continue as they should. If I can make the evening sitting a habit too, all will be well.
Zi gui yi Fo - I take refuge in the Buddha
Zi gui yi Fa - I take refuge in the Dharma
Zi gui yi Seng - I take refuge in the Sangha
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Re: Meditation Journal

Postby Floating_Abu on Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:00 pm

To you all - :rbow:
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