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Thread: Hello

  1. #1

    Hello

    Hi everyone. Just joined the forum. I am looking for a place online where I can share experiences trying to apply Buddhist teachings to everyday life. I haven't been able to find a local Sangha with a schedule that works for me so now I'm looking online.

    I first got into Buddhism back in college when my friends were getting into Christianity. I picked up a book or magazine at a bookstore and the ideas really resonated with ones I had had myself. I did a bit of reading but didn't really practice formally (or informally) until I lived in the St. Louis, MO, USA area. I attended the Missouri Zen Center a number of times and really enjoyed it. I think that was a very peaceful time in my life. I miss it very much. I liked it because we would sit for about 45 minutes on a weeknight and then the Roshi would give an informal talk while we had some tea and snacks. Part of the problem finding a place now is that I am married and have some other commitments and the only place I found that is on my daily path is one that has long periods of sitting and walking meditation and is pretty formal too. I can't really spend 3-4 hours on a given night at the Zendo.

    Anyway, I am now trying to get myself to sit at home. I have a room downstairs with a zafu that works pretty well, save the occasional cat meowing at the door or neighbor making noise. The problem is that I can't get myself to sit regularly, even though I know it would really help me out with some of the anger and anxiety I struggle with. Is anyone available to come over to my house a few nights a week and force me to meditate at gunpoint? = There are just so many distractions around the house: wife, internet, TV, books. It's just hard to force myself to go downstairs and do what I know I need to do.

    ~Justin

  2. #2

    Re: Hello

    Hiya Justin,
    I have some of the same problems. I only have about 3-4 hours a day with my wife, so it's difficult to devote any of that time to doing something alone. What I do is short periods twice a day. I get about 20 minutes earlier than I have to in the morning so I can do a 15 minute meditation before leaving for work. Then I do another 15 minutes before bed, and that doesn't bug my wife too much. As far as the discipline required to do it, it's something from nothing, just like everything else. All you have to do is get to the cushion. The rest of it will just happen.
    Good luck!
    Maurie

  3. #3

    Re: Hello

    I agree with Maurie about just getting to the cushion and letting it happen.

    And welcome! I'm new to the Sangha and new to practice as well. I've only been practicing since about November.

    Something that helps is that my wife usually "hangs out" in the room where I practice Zazen, either reading or on her ipod, etc.

    Another thing that helps the commitment thing is this gatha called "Evening Gatha". It comes from Finding the Still Point by John Daido Loori. I'm not sure if this is a general gatha, but this is where I first read it, and it's inspirational.

    "Let me respectfully remind you,
    Life and death are of supreme importance.
    Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
    Each of us should strive to awaken.
    Awaken!
    Take heed, do not squander your life."

    And if that's too heavy, just think about brushing your teeth or taking a shower. That's how I see zazen... just part of my routine to maintain my life.

  4. #4

    Re: Hello

    Try to remember that nothing is a distraction, even the distractions. Part of Zen practice is not discriminating between good and bad, conducive to meditation or distracting, etc. Just to experience things-as-it-is (as Susuki Roshi says). I believe on the Shambala Sun Space blog, Jundo even has a video of how we should practice zazen once in a while in a busy place. Once you can settle into yourself, and realize the things-as-it-is mind, quiet room, noisy neighbors, meowing cat, gentle breeze, bird on a branch singing, blaring radio, all becomes exactly what it is. Sit when you can, but try to sit daily. Noises, like thoughts will come up from time to time. Let them be what they are, don't block them out but don't grasp at them either, and let them continue on their way.

  5. #5

    Re: Hello

    Hi Justin,

    Welcome!

    I think it safe to say all of us at one point or another, go through periods where we lack enthusiasm to practice zazen. The Practice keeps me balanced, that's why I personally do it. If I miss my morning sit, I can immediately tell throughout the day by a lack of "calmness". That's why I sit, morning and night, for balance.

    You may be putting too much pressure on yourself to sit that you're finding excuses e.g., books, tv, internet. When you know you have a free block, why not walk down stairs, settle on your zafu, and settle in?

    Good luck!

  6. #6

    Re: Hello

    Hey Justin!

    Welcome, I understand the difficulties with consistency but sometimes it's just enough to sit down, even for a breath, then get up and continue about your day. Many many shiny things out in the world. Internet, books, people, sunshine (sit outside ) but all become a part of practice eventually (not that I'm even close :shock: ).

    But as long as the effort is made to at least plop down on the zafu, commitment becomes easier. A moment turns into a minute, a minute into 5, 5 into 10, and so on. Eventually you may find yourself waking up at 4:30 in the morning to sit just because (not me yet, 8 am does just fine for this guy :P )

    Gassho
    Taylor

  7. #7

    Re: Hello

    Hi.

    Welcom.
    May you find what you seek here.
    And if there is anything don't hesitate to ask.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  8. #8

    Re: Hello

    Quote Originally Posted by serenitynow
    There are just so many distractions around the house: wife, internet, TV, books. It's just hard to force myself to go downstairs and do what I know I need to do.

    ~Justin
    One of the things that brought me to Zen in the first place was a realization that I didn't really care about any of that stuff (well, at least the internet, TV, and most books. I'll leave my wife out of the list ops: ). The story of Sidhartha resonated - material things were not bringing pleasure. One thing you might ask yourself - do you really want to watch that TV show? Are you really interested in what you were going to look at on the internet? Or is it just a way to kill time? If you ask yourself that question, you might find youself more often on the zafu and less often in front of the tv.

    Just a thought. It has worked for me (so far - but I have been at it less than a year).

    Good luck. Welcome to the Sangha. There are some brilliant writers here that help me a lot.

    Craig

  9. #9

    Re: Hello

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Try to remember that nothing is a distraction, even the distractions. Part of Zen practice is not discriminating between good and bad, conducive to meditation or distracting, etc. Just to experience things-as-it-is (as Susuki Roshi says). I believe on the Shambala Sun Space blog, Jundo even has a video of how we should practice zazen once in a while in a busy place. Once you can settle into yourself, and realize the things-as-it-is mind, quiet room, noisy neighbors, meowing cat, gentle breeze, bird on a branch singing, blaring radio, all becomes exactly what it is. Sit when you can, but try to sit daily. Noises, like thoughts will come up from time to time. Let them be what they are, don't block them out but don't grasp at them either, and let them continue on their way.
    Hi Justin,

    Welcome again.

    Chris (JohnsonCM) expressed it very nicely here.

    We had a thread just this week about all these "distractions". Or, are they each "Buddhas and Teachers"?

    viewtopic.php?p=36563#p36563

  10. #10

    Re: Hello

    Thanks everyone for the warm welcomes. I sat yesterday for 30 minutes, was interrupted by the wife once but not a bad sit all-in-all.

    It's interesting about annoying noises...whether during sitting or not. Somehow the human-generated noises are much more disturbing than natural noises. There is always the thought in the back (or front) of my mind, "why are they making so much noise? They SHOULDN'T be making so much noise. I have a right to peace and quiet in my house. How dare they."

  11. #11
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: Hello

    Hello all,

    Hi Justin and welcome to Treeleaf! Finding the time to sit will be a struggle at times with all of the committments we have in this world. There is some really good advice here though.

    If you can, maybe try getting up a little earlier in the morning to have that quiet space you need. I do this often, as it is summer, I have two boys and I'm a stay at home mom. My 'me' time is very limited. But sometimes, I find that sitting near and with all the 'noise' around me; that I can find more peace in acknowledging it and simply letting it pass. Most of the time I sit in our living room while my kids are playing the Wii very near me. I hear them, but I don't focus on the sounds. I've even encouraged my husband to sit with me for a little while, he usually lasts around 10 minutes and then gets up and quietly leaves me to sit the rest. He's not interested in the intellectual side of zen, but he said he does feel better after sitting with me. Maybe your wife would be open to sitting for a little while at least.

    The more you sit, the less distractions you'll find will bother you. As others have stated, consistency is the key!

    It's great to have you here and we'll do what we can to help.

    take care and happy sitting,
    Kelly-Jinmei

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