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Thread: When do you sit?

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    When do you sit?

    When do you all sit? Early morning, high noon, late night? and do you find it better, say in the early morning that high noon?

    I ask because i was under the impression that early morning was best.
    I am sure there is a personal preference as well as real life time constraints to be considered in some cases. Truth be told, im a terrible morning person (very groggy and clumbsy and bit bear-ish)... I get up very early because i must. I travel a bit to work (25km) and i don't even take time for coffee until i reach work (part of my quit smoking regiment of changing other habits) Any who... im up @ 5:50 Am and on the road by 6:30 or 6:45am (depends on the little one there) (if im not out the door by this time ill turn into pumpkin... or worse.. be late for work ) I currently sit @ lunchtime here @ work for 20mins and for half an hour or more @ home from 10pm or 11pm (i cannot get to bed any earlier then 10pm thru the week due to family matters).
    I want to know if its worth reseting my mental alarm clock for even earlier :B

    Gassho
    Dirk

  2. #2
    Hi

    When I was working I'd sit before work (6am) and then about 7pm on an evening. But at the moment I'm not working and I tend to sit 10.30am, 2.30pm and 7pm for 20 minutes a time.

    gassho, Kev

  3. #3
    I do zazen twice a day. 11:30 12:00 & an other half an hour something like 17:00 17:30.

    I try to be very continuos (i'm not sure this is the right term) instead of practicing 3 hour a day and nothing for the next two.

  4. #4
    Hi Dirk,
    I wasn't a morning person until I had kids. I sit for 25 min in the morning before work and 2530 min in the evening after the kids are asleep. I will occasionally have to grab a sitting at work during the middle of the day, but that is rare.
    It takes me a while to wake up, so I generally eat breakfast and shower before the morning sitting. Also, in the past when I sat immediately after waking I found that I was really groggy for a few hours. So, I do better if I get up and moving for a half an hour or so before sitting.
    I will say that the morning sitting and the evening sitting work well together. The morning helps set the tone for the day and the evening helps me settle a bit before sleep. So I'm fairly set on making two times a day now.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  5. #5
    I sit quite randomly whenever I can find the time & place. I am currently studying and living in a dorm style arrangement so there's not too much personal space and I like some privacy and quiet when sitting. Occasionally I try to wake up early enough to sit before breakfast but I find it difficult to maintain such a sleeping pattern (and I absolutely hate getting up tired). But I do make it a point of sitting daily.

    Fortunately this lasts only a year. Before coming here I used to sit every morning after waking up (depending on the day that might've been anything between 7 and 9 am - flexible hours at work...) and usually before going to bed.

    A question for you guys who sit at work... what kind of jobs do you have and where exactly do you sit there? Do you have your own office with door or what? I used to have a desk job (programmer), but our office didn't exactly have a suitable place and I would've felt quite awkward sitting behind my desk - especially because we had an "open" office (no cubicles and only few dividing walls in the whole space).

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    cool so i gotta get that breakfast into me too... havent done that since i dont know when.. cig and coffee since i was 15 :x.

    Bill - We have just the one as i might have said before but shes like us... generally she sleeps until 8:30 or 9 with the odd occasions where she sends me off to work (too much juice before bed tends to lead to early mornings. Hmmmm i think i may have found the solution to getting up that extra bit earlier ...

    mika -I work for a University in the print shop im the "digital colour print specialist" lol...jack of all trades... anywho i sit right on the floor in my office... its roomy and i can close the door. The only catch is its a large window in the door and two large windows on either side that can be seen from the reception area so i still get the odd interruption by clients or co-workers... i simply said that during my lunch if i was on the floor and the door was closed kindly do not disturb unless it was a real emergency.
    You'd be surprised how many "emergencies" there are in one hour :B

    Gassho
    Dirk

  7. #7
    I already posted when I usually sit. I sit in the morning everyday about 6:30-7:00. That's after I take a shower. It gives a better start to the day I find. Occasionaly I'll sit in the afternoon or evening before supper. In the morning I sit for 30 minutes most of the time, unless I get up late. The other times vary 15-30 minutes. I find there is a lot more going on in the sitting in the afternoon and evening usually. The morning seems more simpler.

    Gassho

  8. #8
    Well, I sit in the morning approx. 5AM for 40 min and then again at night approx. 8PM, again for 40 min. There is a ritual at night that I do as well which is to do an evening vespers chant. The final line is a slow 3x repetition of "makura om" which is translated as I know it to "peace upon the pillow." [Jundo... is that a fair translation?]

    I am very blessed in that I work in hospice 1/2 my time and so I often find myself with spontaneous meditations at deathbeds. My other job is working in the home of elderly folk and I get opportunities there sometimes when they sleep.

    Gassho~

    *Lynn

  9. #9
    Hi,

    I would also like to encourage everybody to try Jundo's Patented "Insta-Sittings" throughout each day. You don't even have to "sit" for these "sittings", but can sit while standing, lying down, jumping on the bed or hanging by one's feet. "Insta-Sittings" can be of any length, starting from but a moment until infinite time (which may be the same!). We "Insta-Sit" at times in our day when just a bit of "Zen Mind" will change our perspective on all things, when a touch of balance will bring life into balance ...

    Just standing in a creeping postal line, in the dentist's chair, when the car won't start on a cold morning, when driving and stuck in traffic, when the computer crashes, wherever and whenever ... just do what you do in Zazen, with the Lotus Position fully optional (it tends to get in the way while driving or having a root canal, although it might work in the postal line if you keep pushing along.).

    This is actually not such a radical departure from "traditional" practice. Life in a Zen monastery, for example, is filled with countless opportunities to bring the "Way of Non-Seeking" tasted on the cushion into daily activities ... what's the difference between the "Dokusan" line and the postal line? Even monks need the dentist. If dropping the incense during the big ceremony at the temple, or dropping the water glass at dinner, just pick it up! Each place is a place for Practice. In fact, if what we do on the cushion stays on the cushion, what's the point??

    So, please try Jundo's Patented "Insta-Sittings" throughout your day. In fact, for a limited time only, three (3) "Insta-Sittings" can subsitute for one (1) traditional sitting (if sitting at least one traditional sitting each day).

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Lynn, "Makura Om" (Shushinge) is not that common in the West, but your translation is right. My wife and I are hospice volunteers.

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Thankyou for the input

    "Insta-Sittings"

    Ill take it!

    if what we do on the cushion stays on the cushion, what's the point??
    i try to keep what im non doing on the cushion with me through out the day. I was inquiring about "when" since ive read Am was the "best". im sure it is for some, for others its midnight... i listen to your pre-sit talk when i arrive @ work and do the sitting @ lunch.

    I tired first thing in the moring today. it was short, 15 mins or so and it scared my wife the cats went nuts on me and my allergies kicked in (yeah i have horrid cat allergies and 4 cats :roll: im a bit of a sucker for punishment). All said and done it was actually great but I think I will continue on continuing on with out the bright and early sit for now. perhaps ill try it again sometime. Tonight i will be laying down for my evening sit as i just came down with big heaping helping of the flu. sitting up is painful right now and cold and hot and sweaty First thing i thought of was how am i going to get supper ready for Sienna while im folded in half... So i went with it for a bit then let it be what it was and stopped taking stock of my symptoms. I straightned up and did a oryoki kinda thing with supper. and voila! a beautiful meal of noodles and sauce!(i may get an ear full for the post noodly sause mess aftermath) lol okay time to hit the couch. i just called my boss and took my first sick day in 3 years - all things are impermant even good track records :B. okay ive got a a fever snd i dont thing any of that made any sense. night night all.

    Gassho
    Dirk

  11. #11
    Take Care Krid.

    Gassho

  12. #12
    Get well soon . . . the flu always knocks me for a loop.
    I like the mindful eating thing, I'm trying it more often now too.

    Gesundheit,
    Bill

  13. #13
    Yeh all the best with the flu

    I take Jundo's points about midfullness off the cushion on board but as an extension to the original thread does it matter how long you sit for at one time?

    I ask this as I remember reading years ago in a book singing the praises of TM that they reckoned it took your body some thing like 25minutes minimum for it to slow down and physiological/neurological benefits of TM to take place.

    I realise that this is not the point/aim of zazen but I do wonder if there is a general minimum? I guess the creator of "Insta-Sittings" would say no?

    And what about a maximum? You do hear of some feats of what I could only call endurance!

    Gas...shooo Kev (I have an allergy too :lol: )

  14. #14
    Hi LD,

    Well, I agree that 25 to 35 minutes is the best combination of practical (for busy people) and getting the body settled. 40 minutes is good too. One should do a sitting of 25 to 35 minutes at least (again, talking about busy people) once a day.

    Beyond my Jundo's Patented "Insta-Sittings" which really need only last a few breaths, I think (for busy people) that one or two additional sittings during the day of only 5 or 10 minutes is fine ... teaches you how to be centered quickly.

    Monks in monasteries tend to sit in groups of 2 or 3 sittings (broken by Kinhin) of 40 minutes or longer even on 'light' days (meaning non-Sesshn days). Again, I do not think that necessary for busy people (unless you have a VERY understanding spouse or boss). Furthermore, I think other skills ... finding the center quickly and in any situation in the battlefield of the 'real' 'Monastery of Life' ... can come from shorter sittings. So, I recommend at least one sitting at home, facing the wall (floor if you must), but other sittings wherever you can.

    I also like longer sittings. In fact, for Rokatsu (Buddha's Enlightenment Day), I am thinking to do one, intense, Jundo Patented, 'Zen-athon' ... maybe 4 hours of 55 minute sits, back to back, broken only with 5 minute Kinhin (optional).

    Of course, long or short, 'intense' or gentle, we are seeking nothing, attempting nothing, changing nothing.

    Gassho, J

    PS - Dirk, 'Be One with you cough'.

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    actually it was my stomach... and luckily enough i managed to 'stay one' with it feeling a bit better today. showed up @ work to make an important meeting...heh.. it was yesterday ops:

    on the upside i had a client in need of a job by end of day... and now they will get it

    Gassho
    Dirk

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    I also like longer sittings. In fact, for Rokatsu (Buddha's Enlightenment Day), I am thinking to do one, intense, Jundo Patented, 'Zen-athon' ... maybe 4 hours of 55 minute sits, back to back, broken only with 5 minute Kinhin (optional).
    At the end of the summer I took a trip to Windhorse Zen Community in western North Carolina. They are a group of folks who migrated south from the Rochester group (Kapleau's folks I believe). They would sit for 4045 minutes with a pause halfway through to simply move your legs, shift your weight, stretch, etc. The 'break' was only about 30 seconds and there was no talking or significant moving. I know their tradition is a bit of Rinzai and a bit of Soto combined, but I was curious as to whether or not this mini-leg-rest is common in Soto practice.
    Any ideas?

    Bill

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by DontKnow
    I was curious as to whether or not this mini-leg-rest is common in Soto practice.
    Any ideas?

    Bill
    I do not know it. Anyone else?

    Gassho, Jundo

  18. #18
    On the subject of "Insta-Sittings", airplanes are great for me. The roar of the airplane makes it impossible for me to understand anyone unless they are speaking right into my ear (hard of hearing) so I forgo the complimentary smoked almonds and bottled water and "sit". I'm comfortable, I don't personally have the falling asleep problem and I can trust that my body is safe or if not then it would be a reeealy good time to practise. Sitting like that for an hr. (o.k. maybe that isn't an "Insta.") is something I wish I could do every day. It turns what some might see as an ordeal into a genuine treat. We are very lucky to have this.

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