Since Stephanie asked about my practice I've decided to write a topic about what I've been doing lately that has helped my practice and life in general.
First off (before I start) I'd like to state that I'm not perfect and have my moments, but this might help someone.
My ability to construct imaginary situations in head and latch on to them has been a big one. When I would walk by someone these thoughts would pop in my head. I would start chattering to myself about people. Then I would start chattering to myself about not chattering about people. I would talk to myself about how good my practice is. I would talk to myself constantly. My failure to have any break from focusing on my thoughts and dillusions has caused severe pain. In there is a large amount of selfishness and ego. I have in the past done some things that I don't think anyone would be proud of.
What has helped my practice.
Firstly, faith, but I think you know this one. I can't tell you how important this one is. You have to stick it out.
Next, I'd like to talk about these thoughts. One technique that has helped me, is having something that I come back to when I start to chatter in my head. It could be anything, I heard that a koan might be used, but I just pictured a house by a lake. Everytime I would find myself running on I would bring my thoughts back to the picture of the house and think the word "house" , which broke up my present line of thought. Always bringing my attention to the wall infront of me. This gave me insight into how my thoughts are and how they effect the rest of my experience. Of course doing this couldn't relieve me of all my tension and so on, so I do Yoga. It has given me an amount of relaxation. Also in doing Yoga notice how my body is. Where it is tense. The tension in my eyes and head especially. So, after practicing Yoga for 30 minutes in the morning, I lay down for 10-15 minutes in the corpse pose and concentrate on relaxing. After I do this I sit. I sit for 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes in the evening usually. Sometimes in the evening, but that's not everyday. I do Yoga in the morning and in the afternoon at about 3:00.
Another thing that has helped is smiling. Really. Not a big shit eating grin :mrgreen: but just smile at it all.
Be willing to admit to yourself that you make mistakes, and forgive yourself for them.
I am an English teacher, which means everyday I have to deal with many people, although I have been somewhat anti-social for some years.
A lot of problem with dealing with people has been fear. Fear of what? It's so silly. Perhaps they might see that I'm not a good person. Also at times I thought everyone just didn't understand me. I would think that they are wrong. It's not me who is the problem, it is them. My tendancy to become defensive and think that no one understands me or they just don't get it
Trying to be nice or maybe trying to be helpful or useful helps. The main thing is that you start to work with these things in your life that seem to be the problem, but really they are not.
People said all kinds of things that didn't help. Like "be in the moment" Well, how am I supposed to do that? That's like telling a person with no experience with computers to write a software program.
This is what has helped me lately. I still have a lot of work to do, but I can tell you for sure that it has helped.
I might have left some things out, but I have to go sit now.
Peace and Gassho