Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

  1. #1
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    897

    Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    It's as if there's something in the mind that just doesn't want us to sit, that doesn't want our brains to calm down. Why is this?

    Kirk

  2. #2

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    It's as if there's something in the mind that just doesn't want us to sit, that doesn't want our brains to calm down. Why is this?

    Kirk
    Well, there can be several reasons why we resist sitting ...

    Often, we simply do not know how to do what we resist ... by dropping resistance. We prefer to do what is fun or otherwise pleases us. Zazen (in one of its many aspects) is practice in dropping resistance, and in not needing to run toward what attracts us. In this way, it is very util in training us how not to resist that in life that is unpleasant, or be attached excessively to that in life that is pleasing.

    Related to this, we simply do not know how to sit truly still. We need to fill our day to day lives with diversions, time killers, entertainments and accomplishments. There is so much we could be "doing" with that time, getting done. In contrast, Zazen is just being present, putting down any thought of time to kill, something to accomplish. It is (in one of its many aspects) practice in tasting life without having our heads elsewhere, without worrying about the passing of time, without need to accomplish.

    Another reason is that some of us don't know how (or like) to put down our reliance on thinking, even for awhile. It is as hard as a drug addict putting down the pipe, or a fat man putting down the chocolate cake. We are "in our heads" morning to night, thinking this and thinking that. We are as afraid of stopping as a baby is afraid of losing its pacifier. Same for some of us in learning to put down our emotions.

    Ultimately, the "self" clings for dear life to itself ... it needs our thoughts and emotions because it is made of thoughts and emotions, as much as a building is made of bricks. The self does not want to lose itself. It tastes 'no self' and 'emptiness' and is as afraid to jump in as if jumping off a 100 foot pole into the unknown.**

    **Master Sekiso said, "You are at the top of the 100 foot high pole. How will you make a step further?" Another Zen Master of Ancient Times said, "One who sits on top of the 100 foot pole has not quite attained true enlightenment. Make another step forward from the top of the pole and throw one's own body into the 100,000 universes." Momonkan CASE 46.
    Oh, and let's not forget that Zazen is often boring.. No doubt about that! :roll:

  3. #3
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    897

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Another reason is that some of us don't know how (or like) to put down the reliance of thinking for awhile. It is as hard as a drug addict putting down the pipe, or a fat man putting down the chocolate cake. We are "in our heads" morning to night, thinking this and thinking that. We are as afraid of stopping as a baby is afraid of losing its pacifier. Same for some of us in learning to put down our emotions.

    Ultimately, the "self" clings for dear life to itself ... it needs our thoughts and emotions because it is made of thoughts and emotions, as much as a building is made of bricks. The self does not want to lose itself. It tastes 'no self' and 'emptiness' and is as afraid to jump in as if jumping off a 100 foot pole into the unknown.**
    While the first two points you made are important - business and resistance - I think, at least in my case, these two are primordial. It's not that I don't know how to let go of thinking - in fact, I probably find it easier to practice InstaZen (tm), which I do several times a day, than to do a formal sitting.

    But I think it's something about the self that makes it hardest. Deep down, it may be that we have too much fear of losing the self to do something that may ultimately destroy the self. I wish it were easier - I don't struggle with this, but I find myself putting off sitting until it's too late, or not sitting in the morning because I have something important to do. I keep telling myself that I'll sit tomorrow, and too many tomorrows have gone by.

    Kirk

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    677

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    Kirk, I've been in your boat several times. Now I try to make the time to sit. I catch the fact that if I keep doing what I'm doing then I'll miss out on my sitting and metta practice.

    Here in the past few weeks I might get some mental hyperactivity. I just tell myself it's okay and sit anyways.

    For me it establishes some discipline in the practice. But is also a reminder to just let it go. If my ADD brain is off the hook then it's off the hook. I'll sit and just enjoy the few , tiny moments of the blue sky in the clouds as Jundo referred to it before.

    I have seen it said before that the continued practice psychologically sets up a space where we begin to get into the pattern of " time for stillness".

    Dave

  5. #5

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    Hello to all those posting here!
    When I first started to sit on a regular daily basis--not just the once a week at the zendo and once in a while at home pattern I started out with--I ended up with a spontaneous 'mantra' if you will.
    This was my internal voice saying 'STAY,' 'stay,' 'staaaaay,' 'staaaaaaaaaaaaaay.'
    My mind like a puppy wanted to jump up and find things to do. I just repeated the command to stay, and then the praise 'good!'
    It seemed helpful.
    It didn't last very long.
    There were some wild times when I thought I would fly apart while sitting.
    I didn't.
    It seemed no matter what the amount of time I set aside for sitting--10 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes....the last 5 were the 'best.'
    How did my body 'know' when the last five minutes were going to come?

    I do know this practice isn't for everyone.
    If it is for you, you will find a way through no matter what no matter what, and there is nothing for you to do, and nothing you can do about it. (Even though you explore various things to do and implement doing them from time to time).

    The discomforts of sitting--discomforts of the body and discomforts of the mind--are regularly spoken of, but another aspect of sitting to be aware of is 'rapture of sitting,' Maybe this is a little like 'rapture of the depths' experienced by skin divers in the ocean, where the need for oxygen is totally forgotten.
    Sometimes sitting will feel so incredibly, deliciously, marvelous (hard to imagine until you've experienced it!!), that you just want to keep on that cushion forever. When the time you have allotted to sit is over (10 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes--whatever time you have set aside as the length of time you sit), then YOU GASSHO AND GET UP FROM THE CUSHION.
    In other words
    sitting is NOT based on how you feel about sitting or how you feel while you are sitting.
    you sit because it is something you do--whether you 'feel' like it or not. and you do it for the time you have allocated to do it--no more and no less--
    You do yourself a big BIG favor to look upon it this way from the outset.

    keishin


    (ps sorry to not be around of late, I do make brief infrequent visits, but haven't had anything to say. I have several things going now which take my attention and time, and, working on a computer all day days go by and I haven't cracked my lap top open at all when I am at home...please know I haven't 'left,' and I extend good wishes to all leafers engaged in this practice)

  6. #6

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    When the time you have allotted to sit is over (10 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes--whatever time you have set aside as the length of time you sit), then YOU GASSHO AND GET UP FROM THE CUSHION.
    In other words
    sitting is NOT based on how you feel about sitting or how you feel while you are sitting.
    you sit because it is something you do--whether you 'feel' like it or not. and you do it for the time you have allocated to do it--no more and no less--
    You do yourself a big BIG favor to look upon it this way from the outset.
    Very well said, Keishin.

    Peace,
    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?




  8. #8

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?
    There are no sometimes. There are only "this" times.

    Forget about the last time, and sit.

    Anyway I put it won't help you to sit. It's not the sitting that's important, but the moment.

    Jundo:
    Related to this, we simply do not know how to sit truly still. We need to fill our day to day lives with diversions, time killers, entertainments and accomplishments. There is so much we could be "doing" with that time, getting done. In contrast, Zazen is just being present, putting down any thought of time to kill, something to accomplish. It is (in one of its many aspects) practice is tasting life without having our heads elsewhere, without worrying about the passing of time, without need to accomplish.
    Relax, open, feel the breath, pay attention, balance the posture

    Don't get frustrated or despair. Understand, that they are just a habits of Bodymind.


    W

  9. #9

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    When the time you have allotted to sit is over (10 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes--whatever time you have set aside as the length of time you sit), then YOU GASSHO AND GET UP FROM THE CUSHION.
    In other words
    sitting is NOT based on how you feel about sitting or how you feel while you are sitting.
    you sit because it is something you do--whether you 'feel' like it or not. and you do it for the time you have allocated to do it--no more and no less--
    You do yourself a big BIG favor to look upon it this way from the outset.
    Excellent guidance from the voice of experience. Thank you, Keishin.

    You are always around even when not around here. Gassho, Jundo

  10. #10

    Re: Why is it so hard to sit sometimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Forget about the last time, and sit.
    That's something I found to be important. Like each sitting is truly independent (no past sitting, no future sitting) though all of them connect somehow.

Similar Threads

  1. The Hard Way
    By JohnsonCM in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-09-2011, 04:02 AM
  2. Hard times...mentally
    By Adam in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 38
    Last Post: 12-28-2009, 06:25 PM
  3. Hard question from my friend
    By Shui_Di in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 05-16-2008, 03:49 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •