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Thread: No bad sittings?

  1. #1
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    No bad sittings?

    I would like some feedback on "bad" sittings. I've read and reread (and probably missed something) in Jundo's great "cloud" posts, about some days being clear blue skies and some days have clouds. Like The Carpenter's sang, "Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down..".

    Anywho... There are times when I sit and it is productive for lack of a better word. And then there are days when I sit and 10 minutes in I say "nuts to this, my mind is going a mile a minute". It's like my work. I work as an English tutor and some days I can sense my student is just "not there" and if he or she isn't "registering" the class I say hey lets call it a day, and tomorrow we try again. I can tell that anything I try to teach that day just won't set in, so it's best to wait for a better time.

    Should this approach be used with meditation? When you can see that "you are just not there" with the sitting but with all the mindless crap that fills the brain, should you wait for a better moment? Or damn the torpedos full speed ahead and grind out the sitting?
    Gassho

  2. #2

    Re: No bad sittings?

    See if these threads answer your questions ...

    SPECIAL REPOST: "Right" Zazen and "Wrong" Zazen

    viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2783

    and perhaps

    viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2967

    Ours is a very wonderfully strange way of practice (and life) ... like learning to walk a tightrope, balanced and calm, through the tempestuous winds of life ...



    ... and though we should do what we can to not fall down into the extremes right and left (ours is the Middle Way) ...

    ... sometimes staying on, sometimes falling ... but (and this is the wonderful strangeness) experiencing that there is no place to fall, no place to get to across the wire ... always right here this step and this.

    There are no "bad" sittings ... even the really bad sittings which we prefer not to have.

    Gassho, J

    Quote Originally Posted by bayamo
    I would like some feedback on "bad" sittings. I've read and reread (and probably missed something) in Jundo's great "cloud" posts, about some days being clear blue skies and some days have clouds. Like The Carpenter's sang, "Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down..".

    Anywho... There are times when I sit and it is productive for lack of a better word. And then there are days when I sit and 10 minutes in I say "nuts to this, my mind is going a mile a minute". It's like my work. I work as an English tutor and some days I can sense my student is just "not there" and if he or she isn't "registering" the class I say hey lets call it a day, and tomorrow we try again. I can tell that anything I try to teach that day just won't set in, so it's best to wait for a better time.

    Should this approach be used with meditation? When you can see that "you are just not there" with the sitting but with all the mindless crap that fills the brain, should you wait for a better moment? Or damn the torpedos full speed ahead and grind out the sitting?
    Gassho

  3. #3
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: No bad sittings?

    Daniel,

    I go through the same thing, where I really feel bothered because I have so many thoughts and barely manage to drop more than a few of them. It was worse in the past...lately I've been better about it, more accepting as if I were just a disinterested observer of my own zazen. I'm not sure what changed me, but the end result is that I'm a bit more consistent with sitting, maybe because I'm not discouraging myself with judgments. (I also allow myself the occasional itching and scratching; I'm sure I will be better able to ignore it with practice.)

    Jundo's posted links are a big help in detaching from judgment of your zazen.

    gassho
    Julia

  4. #4
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: No bad sittings?

    Thanks! Gassho! :mrgreen:

  5. #5

    Re: No bad sittings?

    My experience has been that the more regularly I sit, even through the seemingly worthless days, the fewer of those bad, mentally restless, days I seem to have. Just a few days without sitting, or with cutting back on the zazen, and the more bad days I have. Or seem to have.

  6. #6

    Re: No bad sittings?

    Hello friends,

    While I am neither priest nor teacher, here is what I would say (and do, to myself):

    Good and bad,
    Pleasure and pain,
    Holy and defiled,
    Productive and worthless;

    Dualism!

    Break through it! The world is as-it-is, not good or bad or anything else!

    Much Metta,

    Perry

  7. #7

    Re: No bad sittings?

    Was it Dogen who said something like "sitting is enlightenment"? I understand that to mean some days our minds are not still, some days they are. Just like life - this is all we have. THIS is it. There is nothing more. So rather than be concerned if one is progressing or not, just sit. If shit runs through your mind ceaselessly, then that's that what it does. Don't be concerned with good, bad, right, wrong, up, down, etc. Just sit. As a very wise pig once said "T-T-T-That's all, folks".

  8. #8
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: No bad sittings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sloppy_Zen
    Was it Dogen who said something like "sitting is enlightenment"? I understand that to mean some days our minds are not still, some days they are. Just like life - this is all we have. THIS is it. There is nothing more. So rather than be concerned if one is progressing or not, just sit. If shit runs through your mind ceaselessly, then that's that what it does. Don't be concerned with good, bad, right, wrong, up, down, etc. Just sit. As a very wise pig once said "T-T-T-That's all, folks".
    gassho, i mean, just, gassho..

  9. #9

    Re: No bad sittings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Ours is a very wonderfully strange way of practice (and life) ... like learning to walk a tightrope, balanced and calm, through the tempestuous winds of life ...
    So many sincere words above from folks who seem to be getting the art of tightrope walking. Thank you.

    One other similarity between our Practice and tightrope walking is the non-effort. TRY HARD to stay balanced on the thin rope, push, strain, think about what one is doing too much, tighten up ... and off one will likely fall. We do not work and strain at trying to stay on the tightrope.

    But relax, stop trying, let go, just step out, flow with the natural balance ... and better chance one will stay on and float across.

    Also, Buddha, the universe is our net! (Indra's Net?? ) Fall fall fall, 10,000 times ... and there was really no place ever to fall. Even the best tightrope walking will sometimes fall in a strong wind. The Buddha's net was always there from the start. Fall and just get back on the rope ... the Zafu, 10,000 times and 10,000 times again. Even knowing how to fall in the net is "good tightrope walking".

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

  10. #10

    Re: No bad sittings?

    Quote Originally Posted by bayamo
    I would like some feedback on "bad" sittings. I've read and reread (and probably missed something) in Jundo's great "cloud" posts, about some days being clear blue skies and some days have clouds. Like The Carpenter's sang, "Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down..".

    Anywho... There are times when I sit and it is productive for lack of a better word. And then there are days when I sit and 10 minutes in I say "nuts to this, my mind is going a mile a minute". It's like my work. I work as an English tutor and some days I can sense my student is just "not there" and if he or she isn't "registering" the class I say hey lets call it a day, and tomorrow we try again. I can tell that anything I try to teach that day just won't set in, so it's best to wait for a better time.

    Should this approach be used with meditation? When you can see that "you are just not there" with the sitting but with all the mindless crap that fills the brain, should you wait for a better moment? Or damn the torpedos full speed ahead and grind out the sitting?
    Gassho
    This topic really hits home as of late. I've been having a lot of "bad" sittings. Well they are "bad" to me because I don't want to be there. Why? because I'm having a stressful time at certain things, and when things don't go "my" way I want to do something else. Play a video game, grab a beer, eat some food. ... do something anything other than being right here, right now. But it's the same as if I had strep throat and I resisted the medicine to get better.

    Sitting with the boredom, with the fear with the whatever is going on, is what it's all about! THAT'S PART OF IT! If you don't sit with that, you're missing a big part of the practice. And by you I mean myself as well.

    That's a big reason I love this Ango (but I really hate it too! hahah). But in a sense, I've learned not to always trust a part of myself. There is a habitual part of myself that wants to escape. But this practice is very awesome. It reveals that to me. Hey guess what? I'm not going to run or seek escape, or seek caffeine or alcohol or whine and complain. Those are all feeding the delusion.

    I recently stopped sitting for a week, but then I actually felt it.. what I was missing. I really felt what it was like not to practice. Very interesting what this has added... well added is incorrect. What I have realized with this practice. My practice is my practice.. Your practice is your practice. Yet it's all practice.

    But make this practice yours! Really make it yours.. do it.

    When you have a bad day at work, you can't just quit. You're having a crap day, you still have to brush your teeth.

    That's what this is. It's ordinary, everyday life, but it's also very sacred.

    I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while, which is why I have all this pent up energy. lol

    It's easy to practice when things are going well. It's easy to workout and eat right in the beginning. There are a lot of beginners, but rarely any finishers.

    There is no end to this, but the point is follow through. I think if you sit when you don't want to, you will really start to appreciate how special this practice is.

    Also, we are a Sangha and we support each other, and that's very helpful as well.

    I'm very thankful for this practice and this Sangha. And it's the difficulties that reveal the importance of both in my life.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: No bad sittings?

    In my case, it is not that I would rather be off doing something else, it is just that I can't "think non-thinking", it's a bunch of zillion things running around in my head, some big, some small. But I guess if that was is going on in my head right there and then, then that is what it is.

  12. #12

    Re: No bad sittings?

    Quote Originally Posted by bayamo
    In my case, it is not that I would rather be off doing something else, it is just that I can't "think non-thinking", it's a bunch of zillion things running around in my head, some big, some small. But I guess if that was is going on in my head right there and then, then that is what it is.
    BOOM!

    Did thunder follow your lightning?

    Don't worry so much about "thinking non-thinking" or else you'll be thinking about thinking non-thinking. When you have a busy day, let it be a busy day. A calm day should be allowed to be a calm day. Just this should really just be this. Way to go Just burn into your eyeballs.

    Taylor

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