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Thread: Stress, life, and zazen

  1. #1
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Stress, life, and zazen

    The last week and a half were super stressful for me. I was taking way over a full summer load in school in preparation for graduating. As the work and studying piled up I first abandoned zazen and then any form of mindfulness. Although it isn't optimal it didn't really surprise me as time was short, I was stressed, and family was staying over at the house for the graduation adding to the chaos. I kept telling myself just to survive till this Saturday, graduate, and then I would get right back into the groove. So, Saturday comes and goes, I graduate, and the family leaves back for home. Sunday evening I told myself I would get back into the routine Monday. I was excited. Then Monday came and I dreaded the thought of doing zazen, checking the forum, or doing anything related to practice. Tuesday was much the same. Wednesday I forced myself to sit for 10 minutes, but my mind raced the entire time. Finally yesterday I sat for 20 minutes and it felt ok.

    I guess why I'm writing, is that is was the first time since I've started meditating that I felt a dread for sitting, as if it were a burden. I don't know if I just needed to de-stress from everything, including zazen, but it was odd. Sitting is not very difficult and for most of the day I was sitting three feet from my alter only surfing the net on mindless websites.

    So, what the rest of you do when time and energy are on short supply. The best I could muster during this last push was an occasional gatha or a few mindful breaths.

    As an aside, I would also like to know if the old meditation timer with the heart sutra is hidden somewhere on site. My old link no longer works. I loved that version of the heart sutra and sometimes the "reward" of hearing them chant was enough motivation to get on the cushion!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Thanks very much for your post. Firstly, congratulations on graduating. All that time and effort, must be nice to have it finally come to an end.

    Alot of what you said, I can identify with. Occassionally when I am not as motivated for zazen, in an effort to get my mind "into it." I will surf treeleaf, youtube videos, anything to get me psyched up, before long I have wasted so much time, when I could have just sat.

    I think though, that is the point, sitting with lack of energy, or the short supply. Sitting with lack of motivation, or sitting with a troubled or pre-occupied mind (even super stressed). It is all zazen. No positive, strong mind set required for preparing to sit, we just sit with what is. Easier said then done obviously, but very easy when you (don't) think about it. My confusion, lack of motivation, always comes from not sitting for a few days and snow balls.

    I try and make zazen a part of my day, like eating dinner. I would never miss a meal, I would go hungry if I did. Well, if I miss a sit, well..you get the point.

    Then again, zazen is everything we do in life, sitting, shopping, graduating, its all on opportunity to be present.

    Lately I have been sitting on google hangouts with some of our trealeafers. Great way to feed off someone's energy when you yourself are struggling with sitting, (especially at 530 in the morning!)

    Gassho.

    Shawn

  3. #3
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your graduation

    When it is much stress, I do the same, runing all around trying to fix everything, a few times I felt that zazen was another chore to get done, but I sat, most of the times with my mind running around thinking in all the things I had to do after Zazen, and all the things I was not doing because of Zazen....but I guess it is ok, cloudy zazen is zazen anyway, returning one time and again to non-thinking, and I just skiped zazen a few days.... I even "sat" driving, or waiting for something in a line, or walking somewhere, just to convince myself that in that day I did not miss zazen :P

    Stress it is been a little lower this days, so I have been sitting without missing a day a couple of months, and now it is funny, I have been sitting two periods of 30 min in the morning and in the evening, sometimes a short sit in the office, but when things get complicated and I can manage to only sit a few minutes at night (just to not miss zazen), the next morning I feel like I have not been sitting in ages :P

    I love the old meditation timer, I downloaded the flash movie so I have it at my hands anytime, but I cannot upload it here, it says "Invalid file type"...maybe Treeleaf“s engineers can post a link to download it :P

    Gassho
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    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  4. #4
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lipor View Post
    I love the old meditation timer, I downloaded the flash movie so I have it at my hands anytime, but I cannot upload it here, it says "Invalid file type"...maybe Treeleaf“s engineers can post a link to download it :P
    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0Bze...DJsbWI2QXBKTVU

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    ~Anaļs Nin

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  6. #6

    Nothing to gain

    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    The last week and a half were super stressful for me. I was taking way over a full summer load in school in preparation for graduating. As the work and studying piled up I first abandoned zazen and then any form of mindfulness. Although it isn't optimal it didn't really surprise me as time was short, I was stressed, and family was staying over at the house for the graduation adding to the chaos. I kept telling myself just to survive till this Saturday, graduate, and then I would get right back into the groove. So, Saturday comes and goes, I graduate, and the family leaves back for home. Sunday evening I told myself I would get back into the routine Monday. I was excited. Then Monday came and I dreaded the thought of doing zazen, checking the forum, or doing anything related to practice. Tuesday was much the same. Wednesday I forced myself to sit for 10 minutes, but my mind raced the entire time. Finally yesterday I sat for 20 minutes and it felt ok.

    I guess why I'm writing, is that is was the first time since I've started meditating that I felt a dread for sitting, as if it were a burden. I don't know if I just needed to de-stress from everything, including zazen, but it was odd. Sitting is not very difficult and for most of the day I was sitting three feet from my alter only surfing the net on mindless websites.

    So, what the rest of you do when time and energy are on short supply. The best I could muster during this last push was an occasional gatha or a few mindful breaths.

    As an aside, I would also like to know if the old meditation timer with the heart sutra is hidden somewhere on site. My old link no longer works. I loved that version of the heart sutra and sometimes the "reward" of hearing them chant was enough motivation to get on the cushion!

    We probably have a tendency to take on more than we can handle. If we just listened to our thinking we would probably never sit zazen. The best we can do is try to find some balance and sitting in the posture is a good start. Now that my knee and back are better I mostly enjoy sitting but I have my limits and don't push them too hard. There is nothing to gain.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    The meditation timers as well as any other Flash-based objects featured in Treeleaf 1.0 have been removed from the site because they were causing some issues with search engines directing people back to Treeleaf 1.0. Everything has been archived, but it will stay offline unless I can dismantle it to remove old URL's embedded in it.

    It would be great to replace the timers in the future with something updated. If anyone knows how to develop in Flash and would like to take a shot at building new timers, it would be welcome.

    Gassho,
    Chris

  8. #8
    Zazen can be like exercising. Sometimes you don't feel like doing it. Sometimes you love it. But when you make a commitment to something, it doesn't matter. That being said, I miss sittings too. Sometimes I'm in the groove, sometimes things come up, but I know it's my fault that I de-prioritize it. Then I beat myself up about it, which does no good. Then I finally just shut the hell up (mentally) and get back to sitting. lol I do know that when I get back to sitting it's good to sometimes start slow (like the 15 min minimum), but that's just my quirkiness.

    Oh and congrats!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zen_rook View Post
    Hello,

    Thanks very much for your post. Firstly, congratulations on graduating. All that time and effort, must be nice to have it finally come to an end.

    Alot of what you said, I can identify with. Occassionally when I am not as motivated for zazen, in an effort to get my mind "into it." I will surf treeleaf, youtube videos, anything to get me psyched up, before long I have wasted so much time, when I could have just sat.

    I think though, that is the point, sitting with lack of energy, or the short supply. Sitting with lack of motivation, or sitting with a troubled or pre-occupied mind (even super stressed). It is all zazen. No positive, strong mind set required for preparing to sit, we just sit with what is. Easier said then done obviously, but very easy when you (don't) think about it. My confusion, lack of motivation, always comes from not sitting for a few days and snow balls.

    I try and make zazen a part of my day, like eating dinner. I would never miss a meal, I would go hungry if I did. Well, if I miss a sit, well..you get the point.

    Then again, zazen is everything we do in life, sitting, shopping, graduating, its all on opportunity to be present.

    Lately I have been sitting on google hangouts with some of our trealeafers. Great way to feed off someone's energy when you yourself are struggling with sitting, (especially at 530 in the morning!)

    Gassho.

    Shawn
    Thank you! I've now been sitting regularly since Wednesday and it seems silly that I was dreading it, but stress does strange things to people sometimes. I'm looking forward to joining some of the google + sessions now that I have some free time!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lipor View Post
    Congratulations on your graduation

    When it is much stress, I do the same, runing all around trying to fix everything, a few times I felt that zazen was another chore to get done, but I sat, most of the times with my mind running around thinking in all the things I had to do after Zazen, and all the things I was not doing because of Zazen....but I guess it is ok, cloudy zazen is zazen anyway, returning one time and again to non-thinking, and I just skiped zazen a few days.... I even "sat" driving, or waiting for something in a line, or walking somewhere, just to convince myself that in that day I did not miss zazen :P

    Stress it is been a little lower this days, so I have been sitting without missing a day a couple of months, and now it is funny, I have been sitting two periods of 30 min in the morning and in the evening, sometimes a short sit in the office, but when things get complicated and I can manage to only sit a few minutes at night (just to not miss zazen), the next morning I feel like I have not been sitting in ages :P

    I love the old meditation timer, I downloaded the flash movie so I have it at my hands anytime, but I cannot upload it here, it says "Invalid file type"...maybe Treeleaf“s engineers can post a link to download it :P

    Gassho
    Thanks! I definitely need to remember that sitting for a few minutes is ok when I'm stressed. For his past week I was certainly in "all or none" mode.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Dokan & Dosho, thank you! Getting the timer back has made my day!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by christhatischris View Post
    It would be great to replace the timers in the future with something updated. If anyone knows how to develop in Flash and would like to take a shot at building new timers, it would be welcome.

    Gassho,
    Chris
    I have some friends in my schools computer science department. I will talk to one and see if they would mind helping out, if that is OK.

  13. #13
    Hi catfish..

    IMHO we continue to pick entertainment and distraction over the Zafu until it no longer works as a compensation for feeling dissatisfied and unwhole. Trying to fill up by running from experience to experience has to play out. We need to get fed up with it. In a way sitting is the last choice, the last thing I want to do, because it means being on the spot, with no wiggle room, no way out, nothing to do. It is the very place I spend my life running from.. driven by feelings of dissatisfaction.. incompleteness .. lacking. Yet, when I do stop running, sit right on that spot, and give in. The basic wholeness I've been chasing is there all along.


    Gassho, kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 08-06-2012 at 04:56 AM.
    大山

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Hi catfish..

    IMHO we continue to pick entertainment and distraction over the Zafu until it no longer works as a compensation for feeling dissatisfied and unwhole. Trying to fill up by running from experience to experience has to play out. We need to get fed up with it. In a way sitting is the last choice, the last thing I want to do, because it means being on the spot, with no wiggle room, no way out, nothing to do. It is the very place I spend my life running from.. driven by feelings of dissatisfaction.. incompleteness .. lacking. Yet, when I do stop running, sit right on that spot, and give in. The basic wholeness I've been chasing is there all along.


    Gassho, kojip
    Thanks. Well spoken. That's how I feel sometimes.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  15. #15
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Thanks. Well spoken. That's how I feel sometimes.
    I concur, that is almost exactly how I felt.
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  16. #16
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Hi catfish..

    IMHO we continue to pick entertainment and distraction over the Zafu until it no longer works as a compensation for feeling dissatisfied and unwhole.
    Gassho!

    Chet

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