Restart Practice

Bilbo Baggins, modified 10 Years ago.

Restart Practice

Posts: 26 Join Date: 8/23/10 Recent Posts
I want to restart a meditation practice. The buddhist ways and maps are quite unfamiliar to me but I do know simple meditations like watching the breath, which I usually enjoy. The only thing is I cannot keep a regular timetable, yet I would like to put in regular hours, maybe wake up earlier and do an hour every day just to get into it, limber up, strengthen my mind and bring some concentration calm and wellbeing.

On the other hand maybe I should try something such as noting, which I have done very little of, so I don't get hung up on nice feelings too much - although I could do with some of that.

I appreciate any suggestions.
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Restart Practice

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
hi bilbo,

my suggestion: click on 'recent posts' and read the two threads by ian and 'stickied' at the top of the thread list ('The Practical Aspects of Establishing Mindfulness' and 'A General, All Purpose Jhana Thread').

particularly as you say that you cannot keep a regular timetable, establishing a constant mindfulness practice might be of the most obvious benefit.

tarin
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Ian And, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Restart Practice

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Bilbo Baggins:
I want to restart a meditation practice. The buddhist ways and maps are quite unfamiliar to me but I do know simple meditations like watching the breath, which I usually enjoy.

Nothing could be more "Buddhist" than the simple act of watching the breath. If approached from the simplicity of what the Buddha taught – in the discourses as opposed to how some sects teach and practice it – the instruction can be quite challenging (and refreshingly vital once one begins to appreciate the simplicity of what is being pointed at).

The good thing about this practice is that it can be dropped and picked up again and again during the course of one's life, until one finally reaches that point at which putting up with dissatisfaction is no longer an option. When that point is reached and you begin to place a committed effort at practice which arises from an inner need to know, then things can change in one's practice quite dramatically. Never be discouraged or hesitant to begin again. . . for there is so much there to be gained once it becomes understood.

Bilbo Baggins:

The only thing is I cannot keep a regular timetable, yet I would like to put in regular hours, maybe wake up earlier and do an hour every day just to get into it, limber up, strengthen my mind and bring some concentration calm and wellbeing.

One of the most beneficial times (for me) to meditate/contemplate is first thing in the morning. It sets up my day in the right frame of mind (as well it can act as a way to plan your day, at least to reflect on what you may like to get accomplished, and thereby become a practical exercise). It also helps in setting up the mind in a mindful demeanor, establishing passadhi or a calm mind. As you carry this mindful demeanor into your day, it can become quite easy to reestablish it (once the mind become distracted from it) by simply paying attention to the breath and recalling the pleasant calming effect that that had as your meditation deepened earlier in the day. This can be a great way to "reset" yourself (the mind) in the midst of a busy and distracting day. And like the practice itself, it can be done again and again throughout the day to reset the mind in mindfulness.

Once your practice becomes more advanced, you may notice that your mindfulness begins to last for longer and longer periods before it begins to go off track. This is a sign of progress. If you keep practicing, you may eventually arrive at the point where mindfulness become continuously established, allowing you to end dukkha altogether.

Bilbo Baggins:

On the other hand maybe I should try something such as noting, which I have done very little of, so I don't get hung up on nice feelings too much - although I could do with some of that.

The nice sensations can lead to a concentrated mind. Although I don't usually recommend dividing one's practice up into nice neat little boxes like samatha and vipassana (as some schools teach these as separate practices by themselves), there is some benefit from beginning one's sitting in the pursuit of calm (samatha) with the ultimate goal of practicing insight later on in the sitting. As soon as you can sense the arising of a calm and concentrated mind, then is the time to contemplate insight objects (or subjects, depending on how you look at this).

One quick tip: don't ever begin a sitting before you have established mindfulness. Mindfulness goes a long way toward subduing any of the hindrances to meditation. Once mindfulness becomes established, samatha and vipassana become attainable. You end up wasting less time this way while giving your session some genuine meaning and significance in your day.

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