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Thread: I need to sit more!

  1. #1
    disastermouse
    Guest

    I need to sit more!

    Much, much more!

    Yeah, it's a story, but the actual act creates breaks in my stories. And then I'm at home because I'm not looking for one.

    Per instruction, I've been sitting only 5 - 10 minutes a day, but trying (and failing) to sit everyday. I think that maybe I need to shoot for 20 minutes a day. Why is this now so hard when before it was so easy? True - then I had given away my video games, I did not have the internet, and I had sworn off television....

    Advice?

    Chet

  2. #2

    Re: I need to sit more!

    Screw it, man. Peaks and valleys. You don't NEED to do anything.

    Don't let any imagined obligations create more displeasure for you.

    Aren't you trying to put yourself through some things like giving up caffeine? Don't be hard on yourself and overload on a bunch of "shoulds" and "needs." The fact that you're put out enough with yourself to create this thread suggests the possibility that you're being very hard on yourself for falling short of whatever it is you think you need to be doing.

    Ease up on yourself.

  3. #3

    Re: I need to sit more!

    Hi Chet

    Just me rambling about ... SHOCK... me

    First i Agree with Brock...dont sweat it too much.

    I found after that 90 day sit stint i was I was actually more reluctant to sit... lazy a bit perhaps? Anywho I was kinda on a dharma/zazen burnout. probably a sign i need to just sit and relax about the reading, studying etc.

    what ended up happening was like a 5 day stretch with like one or 2 lunch time sits. I still have my distractions (i play quakelive 1 night a week (friday most often) ), tv and now this high speed internet @ home too. Those didnt drag me off though...just kind of a balance thing i think.

    I go for 20 or more most times and i usually sit every day with a few exceptions. I just try not to let the exceptions become a routine or get me down. Im a night owl too so i often sit at night and i think i may change that as interruptions at 10 or 11 pm are more likely then at say 4:30am ( i get up at 5 as it is now so...ill have to get a up a bit earlier - yeah some resistance there for sure!).

    Sorry not much help. Just a "this is what i do". Now woould be an awesome time to go sit eh

    Gassho Shohei

  4. #4

    Re: I need to sit more!

    Yeah. Sit more.

    I play Video games and I'm still sitting.

    If you don't take the initial jump, then it's not gonna happen. It's kind of like a habit. Do you brush your teeth? Same thing. Don't make it a big deal.

    You don't have to do anything, "but" if you want to sit more, then do it. Just sit. Put down the distractions for a minute, or whatever you normally do at that time and sit. You don't "have to" sit at a specific time everyday. When you remember, do it.

    Gassho

    Will

  5. #5

    Re: I need to sit more!

    I'll give you run down of my schedule. It might help.

    Note: I've been staying up late playing video games sometimes recently.

    Morning: Wake up, take a shower, check the net, maybe have some orange juice or whatever (while checking the net). When that's done, I sit. Then breakfast. (no specific times for any of these).

    It always works out that way. When I have classes, pretty much the same thing except I need to make sure that I get some Zazen in before going to class.

    Afternoon: Do whatever ie. laundry, or surf the net, go shopping, lunch, clean, etc., sometimes I fit in some Zazen (more often lately)

    Evening: Supper, whatever, net, study, read, movie, game, Zazen there too.

    Going along with Padre, try to make your sittings at least 15-20 minutes. Don't worry about the time. Use the Treeleaf gong.

    Gassho

    W

  6. #6
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: I need to sit more!

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Going along with Padre, try to make your sittings at least 15-20 minutes. Don't worry about the time. Use the Treeleaf gong.

    Gassho

    W
    The 5-10mins is per Jundo in order to try to build the daily habit...or at least, I suspect that's why. I did sit today (5 mins) before work.

    I can't figure out why this is so difficult now. I had a rock-solid 20mins/day practice for four years...of course, that was before I had the internet, and I'd given away my videogame systems and refused to own a TV.

    Currently, I'm trying to group a bunch of disciplines - my budget and time management system (budget's going well, time management is falling down), exercise via a 'lean eating' online coaching program (VERY time and energy intensive, but working!), and trying to start a honest-to-Sidd daily zazen routine.

    Chet

  7. #7

    Re: I need to sit more!

    The 5-10mins is per Jundo in order to try to build the daily habit...or at least, I suspect that's why. I did sit today (5 mins) before work.
    Yes then, listen to Jundo and build it up from there.

    Currently, I'm trying to group a bunch of disciplines - my budget and time management system (budget's going well, time management is falling down), exercise via a 'lean eating' online coaching program (VERY time and energy intensive, but working!), and trying to start a honest-to-Sidd daily zazen routine.
    Sounds good. Keep it up. You just have to get in the habit of it.

    Gassho

  8. #8

    Re: I need to sit more!

    The important thing for me was to find a time of the day, where I could fit in Zazen on a regular basis. I tried sitting just after I got home from work, or just before going to bed. But finally I decided to sit right after getting up in the morning. So my basic routine is getting up, some stretching, than sit for 20 minutes, shower ...

    It is super important for me to include the sitting in some sort of a routine. Usually my life and my job are not that structured, but there are certain acitivities (like sitting and workout) that just work better for me when I have some plan for them.

    Anyway, you managed to sit for four years, so you know how it works best for you. Maybe it's really just a little pause you need.

  9. #9
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: I need to sit more!

    Quote Originally Posted by StephanCOH
    The important thing for me was to find a time of the day, where I could fit in Zazen on a regular basis. I tried sitting just after I got home from work, or just before going to bed. But finally I decided to sit right after getting up in the morning. So my basic routine is getting up, some stretching, than sit for 20 minutes, shower ...

    It is super important for me to include the sitting in some sort of a routine. Usually my life and my job are not that structured, but there are certain acitivities (like sitting and workout) that just work better for me when I have some plan for them.

    Anyway, you managed to sit for four years, so you know how it works best for you. Maybe it's really just a little pause you need.
    It's been about a 10 year 'pause'.

    Chet

  10. #10

    Re: I need to sit more!

    I just posted something on another thread that is close to this.

    The point of this practice is to keep on ... step by step, drop by drop. Yesterday, I had to pull and cut vines in our farm field. The process was very much like Kinhin, taking no more than a half step with each breath. Soon, I had covered a half acre!

    I do not say that we NEED to do this, to make it an obligation. However, nor do I say that we should NOT make this an obligation. The truth is both and neither .... That is Wu-Wei.

    http://www.taopage.org/nondoing.html
    (in much more details):
    http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/loy3.htm

    We all take a break. In the 25 years I have been sitting, I would often take breaks ... a day, a week ... sometimes several months. It is even good to do so (a bit like taking a break from one's spouse in a marriage ... hopefully, one realizes then what one has all along, and comes back stronger).

    But, the most important thing is to come back ... keep on going ... step by step. It is not unlike any practice ... dancing, running ... where we must keep at it day by day. All the vines will get pulled.

    Here is what I wrote on the other thread today ...

    viewtopic.php?p=24581#p24581

    Well, I often compare this practice to a mountain hike ... a lifetime hike ...

    I have found that, through many years of practice, it is a never ending exploration ... always something new is revealed over time, always another corner or vantage point disclosed. Never ending, something like a long love affair in that way. Always a new surprise, an insight, a discovery awaits ... (and a lot of bumpy times to be surmounted too!)

    My friend Nonin likes to say, "A moment of Zazen is a moment of Buddha. But 25 years of Zazen is 25 years of Buddha".

    It is also Buddha 25 years more mature.

    Of course, any "hike" inevitably will seem like a "lost trudge" sometimes, as if the path is lost. It will not always pass lovely or breathtaking scenery, and sometimes may seem way off course.

    We all go through times when it seems "nothing in happening" and we are "getting nowhere" in this practice (and I do not mean in the good Zenny way of "no where to get to" ... I mean that it feels we are at a 'dead end'). Then, suddenly, like drops of rain wearing away a mountain, one realizes that this practice has seeped into one's bones ... slowly, slowly.

    There is a certain enthusiasm, trust and energy we must bring into our sitting to make sure that we stay vibrant, and do not turn into just lumps on a log (over the long term, I mean. We all have lumps-on-log days). We may even go through weeks --and months-- when it seems that the practice has lost its way, and we think "there seems to be no point" (and I do not mean a good Zenny way of "there is no point" ... but more "this is pointless"). Fear not! That is the time for trust in the practice.

    Stick with it and the tallest mountain will be walked ... step by step, worn away ... drop by drop

    Gassho, Jundo

  11. #11
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: I need to sit more!

    I was thinking of something you often say, Jundo. "Acceptance without acceptance." To me, that means acceptance without passivity or tacit 'approval'. It means having a sense of imagination and creativity regarding one's life that neither aggressively opposes reality nor passively accepts it without contributing to it. It means that instead of saying, "That's it, the world/this situation/my life sucks and it will always suck", one recognizes the reality of the situation and rather than simply opposing it, one seeks to engage creatively with it as it is - but also adding one's own contribution. Of course, that also means that sometimes the 'correct' course IS passive acceptance, and occasionally the correct course may also be direct confrontation - but without resentment in the former and without aggression in the later.

    Please correct me if I am confused here.

    Chet

  12. #12

    Re: I need to sit more!

    from Shobogenzo Zuimonki 1-16

    Someone asked, “Rather than meaninglessly receive the offerings of human or heavenly beings while breaking the precepts, or wastefully spend the legacy of the Tathagata without arousing bodhi-mind, wouldn’t it be better to live as a layman, engaging in ordinary jobs, keeping oneself alive to continue the practice of the Way?”

    Dogen replied, “Who said to break the precepts or be without bodhi-mind? You have to force yourself to arouse bodhi-mind and practice the buddha-dharma. Moreover, it is said that the legacy of the Tathagata is equally given without concern as to whether one maintains the precepts or breaks them; regardless of whether one is a beginner or an advanced practitioner. Nowhere is it written that you have to return to the mundane life or stop practicing, because you have broken the precepts or lack bodhi-mind. Who has such bodhi-mind from the beginning? Arousing what is difficult to arouse, practicing what is difficult to practice…in this way, you will naturally progress in the buddha-dharma. Each one of us has buddha-nature. Do not meaninglessly deprecate yourself.
    gassho
    tobiishi

  13. #13

    Re: I need to sit more!

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I was thinking of something you often say, Jundo. "Acceptance without acceptance." To me, that means acceptance without passivity or tacit 'approval'. It means having a sense of imagination and creativity regarding one's life that neither aggressively opposes reality nor passively accepts it without contributing to it. It means that instead of saying, "That's it, the world/this situation/my life sucks and it will always suck", one recognizes the reality of the situation and rather than simply opposing it, one seeks to engage creatively with it as it is - but also adding one's own contribution. Of course, that also means that sometimes the 'correct' course IS passive acceptance, and occasionally the correct course may also be direct confrontation - but without resentment in the former and without aggression in the later.

    Please correct me if I am confused here.

    Chet
    Acceptance without acceptance ... simply means (1) acceptance, nonresistance, dropping aversion & choosing, stillness on "channel 1", (2) having goals, resisting, choosing, striving and acting on "channel 2" (3) with both channels 'not two', simultaneously. Embracing and even loving the weeds of life, yet picking them. Both attitudes held at once.

    Sometimes, we are passive ... sometimes we are aggressive, depending on what the situation calls for. That is right. Sometimes we accept life passively, especially when there is nothing that can be done. In other cases, we respond aggressively, especially when something can be done. (Lord, grant me the wisdom to know what can be changed, the wisdom to accept what cannot, and to know the difference) But in either case, be still.

    When still, be still. When moving forward, be still.

    Got how that works?

    Here is a short-and-sweet description of that Wu-wei, a Taoist concept that came to be cherished by the Zen schools as well. Though this is "going with the grain" of life, what is vital to remember is that the primary determination of whether one is "with the grain" or feeling that one is "going against the grain" is not so much a factor of the circumstances outside you ... but the attitude within (for "in" and "out" are not two!)

    Gee, I really feel like I am talking like Yoda or Master Caine today! 8)

    What is Nondoing (wu-wei)?

    Wu-wei - usually translated as nonaction, inaction or nondoing - is one of the most important Taoist concepts. When linked to the Tao, nondoing points to the actionless of Heaven, like in the following abstract from Tao-te ching:

    The Tao in its regular course does nothing (for the sake of doing it), and so there is nothing which it does not do. (Legge, chap. 37)

    Linked with the human behavior, nondoing refers to not forcing the things on their way, on the action without effort or going with the grain.


    Aikido is a living illustration of the Taoist nondoing concept. The practitioner is moving along with his opponent instead of resisting his attacks.

    In the terms of Alan Watts nondoing is "what we mean by going with the grain, rolling with the punch, swimming with the current, trimming sails to the wind, taking the tide at its flood, and stooping to conquer." (Tao: The Watercourse Way, Pantheon Books, 1973.)

  14. #14
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: I need to sit more!

    And yet with Aikido, one is also creatively engaging the situation. One does not simply allow oneself to be hit (passive acceptance) nor does one aggressively engage or directly confront.

    It seems as though, in Aikido, one acts, sometimes very 'forcefully' - but only to engage the situation creatively - not to oppose anything. And yet, the attacker is still often dissuaded from continuing the attack. In essence, the Aikido practitioner does not harm the attacker - he merely illustrates the lack of wisdom and balance already inherent in the attacker's attitude and actions.

    In a way, the 'obstacles' of our lives are really just the vehicles by which we may illustrate emptiness - that is, the form is the VEHICLE of emptiness, the expression of emptiness. Emptiness is the essence of form.

    IMHO.

    Chet

  15. #15

    Re: I need to sit more!

    disastermouse,

    One thing that's worked for me whenever I don't feel like sitting - i sit through the feeling of not wanting to sit. It usually goes away. Of course, I might not be jumping with joy at the thought of sitting, but the feeling of not wanting to sit is probably just the feeling we need to sit through.

    best,
    zeta

  16. #16
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: I need to sit more!

    Chet, this may be completely off the wall, but maybe you can roll with it. Instead of listening to what WE tell you regarding how to be more consistent in your practice, listen to yourself. Specifically, here's the off the wall part, what would yourself of 10 years ago, that person that was sitting regularly, say to you now about how to sit regularly? In other words, have a conversation with your "self" of 10 years ago and listen to him/you. Let him/you advise you. Who knows how to talk to and motivate you better than you? Seriously, the point is it has to come from inside you, and this is just a possible means of finding that right place inside you to do this.

  17. #17

    Re: I need to sit more!

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Chet, this may be completely off the wall, but maybe you can roll with it. Instead of listening to what WE tell you regarding how to be more consistent in your practice, listen to yourself. Specifically, here's the off the wall part, what would yourself of 10 years ago, that person that was sitting regularly, say to you now about how to sit regularly? In other words, have a conversation with your "self" of 10 years ago and listen to him/you. Let him/you advise you. Who knows how to talk to and motivate you better than you? Seriously, the point is it has to come from inside you, and this is just a possible means of finding that right place inside you to do this.
    I like this, Alan!

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    It's kind of like a habit. Do you brush your teeth? Same thing. Don't make it a big deal.
    I agree with Will here. Avoid, if possible, making it an issue . . . just simply start sitting again, you've done it before.

    For my music students who are experiencing trouble establishing a practice routine (18-22 year-old college kids with LOTS of things to distract them), I will often meet with them in a lesson and spend some time letting them utilize their planner to schedule practice times for the week. For these students we don't jump straight to the 3 hours they need to spend practicing every day. That would lead to failure and disappointment. We start with more reasonable chunks of time so that they may become confident that an everyday practice habit is attainable. In your case, you have already proven to yourself you can keep a practice routine going for four years, so a week at a time shouldn't be a scary proposition.

    Also, is there someone you can sit with? Like exercise, committing to sitting with someone else may motivate you long enough to reestablish the habit.

    {shrug} That's about all I can think of at the time.

    It'll happen . . . don't push too hard.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: I need to sit more!

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I was thinking of something you often say, Jundo. "Acceptance without acceptance." To me, that means acceptance without passivity or tacit 'approval'. It means having a sense of imagination and creativity regarding one's life that neither aggressively opposes reality nor passively accepts it without contributing to it. It means that instead of saying, "That's it, the world/this situation/my life sucks and it will always suck", one recognizes the reality of the situation and rather than simply opposing it, one seeks to engage creatively with it as it is - but also adding one's own contribution. Of course, that also means that sometimes the 'correct' course IS passive acceptance, and occasionally the correct course may also be direct confrontation - but without resentment in the former and without aggression in the later.

    Please correct me if I am confused here.

    Chet
    Not trying to "stink" of Zen here Chet, but honestly what allowed me to sit for long periods was to stop analyzing it so much. I just did it. That's easier said than done however and even now I'm having some "trouble" sitting. But it's only the act of taking it down to the simplest level that ever allowed me to see what I was doing to myself. I was getting in my own way...so I did my best to get out of my own way.

    That probably isn't at all helpful. Just keep trying.

  19. #19

    Re: I need to sit more!

    Hi CHet,

    I am also having a very hard time sitting, feeling overwhelmed by everything. I might be cracking up, but that's ok, these things happen. But I sit some late each night (I go to sleep early and wake about 2 to 4 am for a bit, that is when I sit.) Sitting in acceptance of my (local) reality is very hard at this time and my sitting is quite ragged, but then I am quite ragged at this time. But ragged is ok too.

    What helps me is remembering that each moment is a little decision, moment after moment after moment. And you have expressed your disatisfaction at not sitting each day, maybe try to remember how more peaceful (less conflicted) you feel when you do what you believe you should do. Anyway, this happens for me.

    Also, I listen to Jundo's lovely little talks, such a gentle reminder of simple basic things. Perhaps there are little writings (a sentence, a paragraph) that you find encouraging, to read before you sit.

    as always, sanctimoniously yours (little private joke)
    rowan

    On a more external note, I find that if I haven't taken my vitamins, I am much more jittery and unable to focus to do anything.

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