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Thread: Sitting with the hindrances

  1. #1

    Sitting with the hindrances

    Hello Everyone,

    I just wanted to get some of your advice on how you deal with the hindrances of restlessness and sleepiness/sloth during shikantaza. I have been sitting regularly and usually at night after the kids have gone to bed. Unsurprisingly there is a lot of sleepiness there and I find it necessary to play with the breath and otherwise resist the experience in order to keep from falling flat on my face. When I am doing my formal metta bhavana practice in the AM this seems called for but I feel that struggling in this way somehow doesn't fit with shikantaza.

    The other hindrance I experience most often when just-sitting is that of restlessness ad anxiety. Sharp stabs of panic pierce my gut as my mind races through "Am I doing this right? Why am I doing this? Maybe I should do it this way...." Opening and softening has so far been the best way for me to keep myself from being carried away by the emotions and fears here but I would appreciate any of your thoughts on the matter.

    Thank you again for the beautiful community you have created. Metta.

    Gassho,

    Mike

  2. #2

    Re: Sitting with the hindrances

    Mike,
    I would suggest that you don't force shikantaza. If your mind is truly restless I'd start counting breaths. It distracts your mind from its restlessness and calms it down. If that doesn't work - do a bit of kinhin. I do my zazen in the morning after 10 minutes of some simple yoga after that there's no sleepiness left.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Marek's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
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    Cracow, Poland
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    177

    Re: Sitting with the hindrances

    Hi Mike!

    I think this thread should be helpful for you:
    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4559

    I agree with Andy. Don' t try to force yourself. Shikantaza is not a race nor a military camp.

    Take care

    _/_

  4. #4

    Re: Sitting with the hindrances

    Quote Originally Posted by andyZ
    Mike,
    I would suggest that you don't force shikantaza. If your mind is truly restless I'd start counting breaths. It distracts your mind from its restlessness and calms it down. If that doesn't work - do a bit of kinhin. I do my zazen in the morning after 10 minutes of some simple yoga after that there's no sleepiness left.
    Thanks Andy. If it is something that completely knocks me off my feet I will definitely return to the breath. Mettaya.

    Gassho,

    Mike

  5. #5

    Re: Sitting with the hindrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Marek
    Hi Mike!

    I think this thread should be helpful for you:
    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4559

    I agree with Andy. Don' t try to force yourself. Shikantaza is not a race nor a military camp.

    Take care

    _/_
    Thanks Marek! Great thread and I will try to be gentle with myself. Be well!

    _()_Gassho,

    Mike

  6. #6

    Sitting with the hindrances

    Completely normal!

    Just watch that theatre of the mind! Don't try to change it into your idea of what is should be. Sleep happens. Anxiety happens. The hindrances are in your mind. There's no need to do something about them. Just sit and let everything be. Give the trying a rest. Relax and enjoy the show! Or if you don't enjoy it, don't enjoy it... Just sitting is so simple. Yet, we make it so difficult!

    Gassho,
    /Pontus

  7. #7

    Re: Sitting with the hindrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Completely normal!

    Just watch that theatre of the mind! Don't try to change it into your idea of what is should be. Sleep happens. Anxiety happens. The hindrances are in your mind. There's no need to do something about them. Just sit and let everything be. Give the trying a rest. Relax and enjoy the show! Or if you don't enjoy it, don't enjoy it... Just sitting is so simple. Yet, we make it so difficult!

    Gassho,
    /Pontus
    Gassho_()_

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southeastern Wisconsin
    Posts
    570

    Re: Sitting with the hindrances

    If you are sleepy, just be sleepy. Let go of your resistance to sleepiness and just be with what it feels like to be sleepy while sitting. I sit early in the morning or late in the pm so I understand where you are coming from.

    If you are restless, just be restless. Let go of your thoughts and judgements on how you are sitting and allow things to be just as they are. You will most likely be letting go of these thoughts/judgements over and over again, but that's OK. Some days when you sit Zazen, you will be filled with anxiety and fear. Other days your mind will be clear like a calm lake or a bright blue sky.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

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