Ritualizing the day

tdiggy t diggy, modified 5 Years ago at 4/15/17 11:09 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 4/15/17 11:09 AM

Ritualizing the day

Posts: 23 Join Date: 12/26/11 Recent Posts
Hi Folks,

I wanted to bring up the topic of "off the mat" practice.  I assume many of us have very established daily sitting/formal practice times.  For example, for me that amounts to 1-1.5 hours of "mat" time.

I'm curious if anyone has played successfully with setting up triggers for "micro-dose" practice during the day.  A trigger here would be a specific reminder in the physical world. For ex. opening a door, or the act of touching a doorknob, or turning on/off light switches, or picking up your cell phone/wallet, etc. 

The way such a trigger would work would be to set up the intention to associate a practice with that act.  Say I pick up my wallet as the trigger, then for ex. perhaps I immediately start doing metta, if this is my daily practice I want to do, infused in whatever I'm doing with my wallet (paying for a coffee for ex.)

Anyways, would love to here from folks' experience on this.  Shinzen Young talks about this, and I've also come across it from Bhante Vimalaransi.  

Would really value hearing specific examples of what's worked, how much of an impact this "off the mat" practice has had.  I'm particularly interested in hearing from folks who have very established formal practices.  (ie. an hour + of formal practice)

bernd the broter, modified 5 Years ago at 4/15/17 2:58 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 4/15/17 2:58 PM

RE: Ritualizing the day

Posts: 376 Join Date: 6/13/12 Recent Posts
Here are some similar ideas discussed in more detail:


In my personal experience, doing 24/7 practice is possible even without a trigger system though, so I haven't tried too much of this.
junglist, modified 5 Years ago at 4/21/17 1:54 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 4/21/17 1:39 AM

RE: Ritualizing the day

Posts: 232 Join Date: 1/25/17 Recent Posts

I like this type of stuff, for many reasons, one of which is because I often think about how the all pervading ultimate truth of all phenomena must be in all phenomena. 

I don't know to what "level" my practice would be considered, but I'd say my daily formal practice is well established, at least 1 hour daily, sometimes 3.

I like to do noting throughout the day of what is happening and what I am doing, lifting, touching, cold, seeing, searching, finding, identifying... I like the "left, right, left ..." described in the Mahasi book when walking anywhere or even just stepping then grabbing something, things around me seem to become a little clearer when I do. This is closest thing to what you describe as a "trigger" that I do, I often find that the sensations on my feet set things off a bit.

Sometimes I do walking meditation up and down the train platform.

Most recently, when I'm a passenger in a vehicle, I've found it really interesting to do something adapted from the first MCTB exercise for No Self. I basically sit (or stand) and watch how cars and other things go past, using that as the meditation object, I also notice anything else that comes up.

I also like one that Florian taught me, which is basically noting every time you walk through a doorway. To maximise this I also use walking through anything that looks like a doorway like a gate, tunnel etc. I find the actual experience of passing through the doorway can be strangely intense sometimes. Sometimes I noticed I missed noticing my passage through a doorway, and this can also be a trigger, setting off some mindfulness.

One last one I like to do in a similar vein to noting everything I do, is trying to perform every action I do in a kind way, mostly mundane things like getting dressed, opening a door, pressing a button, picking something up. I think this could probably be extended to all life. I find this one more difficult to remember to do though.

Hope it helps!
junglist, modified 5 Years ago at 4/21/17 3:38 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 4/21/17 3:38 AM

RE: Ritualizing the day

Posts: 232 Join Date: 1/25/17 Recent Posts
Paweł K:
my personal understanding is that such ideas are result of 3rd fetter

weak understanding of it is equating it with religious things
stronger is understanding it in regard to any practice
fetter is eradicated (and thus Stream Entry attained) when one does not cling to result of any action, ever
ofcourse it is not simply not caring. SE can assess results of actions because actions do have purpose. Both acting without purpose and clinging to results of action are forms of being not mindful.

tehnically having any quality of mind will make it more likely to appear in future which include everything about it, its arising and things which came after it. Best quality of eg. metta (whatever this is (when you do it)) is when it is most pure, which mean it fill mind totally so that nothing else is in it. If you succeed in having any quality like that you are pretty much guaranteed to have more of it without need for any additional conditions. But you can not have it when you 'practice it' or worry about having it in future or its effects. 'Quality' here is anything really, especially mind/emotional states.

I find your reply, Paweł K, very interesting, I would love to hear more from other people on this too. 

Do you not think, however, that since our days are full of so many other things, of which meditation forms a significant but small part (unless we are on retreat, which will probably be impossible in my case), rejecting them because of the fact that we do not consider them to be meditation would be somewhat wasteful, if not careless? 

My understanding is that there are many other disciplines, as well as activities that might be performed in a monastery, retreat etc., that consciously develop the same attributes as different forms of meditation, and therefore I see no reason to suppose that this would be impossible even when tying my shoelaces, scratching my arse, or whatever else I might do at any moment in my life.

Is this not ultimately about life itself? My feeling is that after the bell rings at the end of meditation, there should be no difference in our intentions.