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Thread: The hour of sitting

  1. #1

    The hour of sitting

    Lately i had this wondering. what times do people sit? and how the chosen time effects their zazen.
    I sit daily. but i usually sit quite late, around 23:00-24:00 (i dont go sleep early most days). usually a little before bed and after my wife went to sleep and i've finished with everything i wanted to do (including a lot of pointless things that i probably could postpone to a different time in order to sit earlier). i have noticed an interesting thing. the later the hour i sit and the more tired i am the harder it is to sit, physically and mentally. since i start working at 7 in the morning (the shifts start at 7 in the hospitals in israel) i wake up at around 5:40 or so. i dont get much sleep, around 5-6 hours of sleep on most days. when i sit late i tend to be sleepy and at times it seems harder to find comfortable position that i can keep for long (i usually sit 30 minutes). sometimes my mind wont quiet down and sometimes the other way around i tend to turn off in a way. i am still aware but it is like everything goes on and thoughts sometimes arise but i am not there, as if sleeping but not sleeping (its hard to explain exactly).
    but when i sit earlier i notice that sitting becomes more natural and easier for me (sometimes there are no absolutes in this practice).
    does anyone else notice something like that? and what hours of the day do you all sit usually?
    and of course a question for Jundo and Taigu are there any times recommended for sitting and anything like that?
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  2. #2
    Hi Daniel,

    Well, mornings upon waking and just before bed are most common for folks, though some may sit during lunch break from work and the like (or all of the above! ). Different folks are different, but I think it more likely to be tired, and have trouble keeping the eyes open, at the end of the day. I leave this to everyone's own inclinations.

    And of course, we also "sit" Zazen all through the day ... walking, standing, running or reclining ... in all life situations and moments ... with our PATENTED “INSTA-ZAZEN”

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-%28Part-XX%29

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    My point of view is certainly not better that Jundo's, but I would say that I think everyone has to discover their own rhythm, which is unique, and work with it.

    Past a certain time, I am too sleepy to sit properly, and my discipline is weak enough that I will skip sitting if I lose track of time or am too busy. But I am working/non-working on that.

    (Send me some metta for that...because I am neglecting to take care of myself, which means I am less capable of saving all other sentient beings!

    Gassho
    Julia
    "The Girl Dragon Demon", the random Buddhist name generator calls me....you have been warned.

    Feed your good wolf.

  4. #4
    I think it's important (at least for me) to try to develop a schedule for regular sitting and keep to it. In that way zazen becomes part of my life just as having breakfast and taking a shower. It's important, however, not to see it as yet another chore that has to be done.
    Gassho,
    Andy

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    For me, sitting early fits wonderfully. Everyday at 6 AM. In the morning I feel fresh and there's something about sitting with dawn that makes it very special.

    I only sit on the evening for Zazenkai, every Friday evening for me. But this is because it's an important event. Most of the time I'm too tired to sit at nights.

    But yes, I think we all have to find the right time.
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  6. #6
    During the day , when I get swept up in things, reaching and running.. I'll sit, just for a few minutes, even if it is on a sidewalk bench, or in a noisy cafe.. just to stop running from my own bones.

    gassho, kojip

  7. #7
    I like to sit early in the morning. I feed the dogs and let them out, and they go back to sleep. The garbage trucks, lawn mowers, telephones, airplanes haven't started yet; it's peaceful, quiet, and there's something indefinable which I derive from zazen which infuses the rest of my day. As my wife's usually still asleep, I use an incense stick as a timer, without even an inkin bell to disturb the silence.
    I also sit at our zendo in the evenings a couple of times a week. Sometimes the exertions of the day make me sleepy, often they've aggravated my arthritis and old injuries enough to make sitting uncomfortable; sometimes painfully so. Sleepiness and pain notwithstanding, it's still good to sit a while.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  8. #8
    Early in the morning and about an hour after evening meal usually about 7pm. Insta zazen is always available as jundo said.
    _/_
    Rich

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Early in the morning and about an hour after evening meal usually about 7pm. Insta zazen is always available as jundo said.
    Same here Rich, I sit at 5am when I wake and then an hour or so after supper. I find before bedtime hard as I am too tired. But like Jundo and others have said, anytime, anyplace is a good time to sit.



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    I sit whenever I can find time inbetween naps, baseball, soccer, and just time spent with my boys (and my wife when we can find precious quiet moments to ourselves). It isn't easy and I miss some days, but you learn to adapt!

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Last edited by Dosho; 06-22-2012 at 04:46 PM. Reason: When I say naps, I mean kid naps...I don't get those. :)
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
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  11. #11
    I sit in the morning, usually at about 7 or 7:30 if I teach that day, and then in the evening about an hour before dinner. Like others, for me, the evening sit can digress quickly into the evening nap. I've found that if I can sneak in a quick ten minutes or so of just closing my eyes, even in a chair, before the evening sit, and then get the body up and going some, I'm not nearly as tired during the sitting.

    Gassho,
    alan

  12. #12
    I've been sitting after work lately around 6 or 7pm set. Normally I do prefer mornings.

  13. #13
    I usually sit from 4:30am until 5:15am and then at night around 8 or 9pm after the kids are asleep. I've also been trying to fit in a midday sit as I find I completely loose my moorings by noon. Mettaya.

    Gassho,

    Mike
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183

  14. #14
    Usually between 8-9pm. I used to sit mornings and prefer it, but lately I can't seem to stop hitting snooze
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  15. #15
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    I used to always sit in the morning right after getting up. But in an (non)effort to incorporate sitting throughout the day I now sit in the mornings on weekdays and some time, any time, during the day on weekends. The problem with that is I can sometimes get all caught up in stuff and forget. But that's why I try to do it this way, so I learn NOT to forget. So sometimes I end up sitting right before bed, or (gasp) not at all, though rarely for the latter.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    Usually between 8-9pm. I used to sit mornings and prefer it, but lately I can't seem to stop hitting snooze
    I have a tendency to hit that snooze button too! I wish that button was never invented

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  17. #17
    sometimes when im too tired. i start sitting and i feel too tired and finish the sitting earlier than i intented.
    if i usually sit 30 minutes i might end the sitting at 20 or 15. sometimes 10 when im very tired or in a hurry.

    Gassho, Dojin.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  18. #18
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    For me it is a daily sitting in the morning, 30 minutes, just after waking up... sometimes from 6:30 to 7:00 GMT -6, sometimes 7:00 to 7:30 GMT -6 ...I feel that is the best time to sit for me... almost daily I sit another half hour in the evening, but with no fixed time, it depends on how much free time I have between work, school and other activities, but frankly, sometimes I feel a little tired or sleepy, so it becomes a sitting nap I have not fallen to the ground yet, but instead had some "heavy metal headbanging" moments
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  19. #19
    Senior Member rculver's Avatar
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    I usually sit 9pm my time. My kids are in bed and I'm not too sleepy yet. I've been trying to transition to 6:30am but have been having a really hard time doing so. I have to get up, have a shower and drink a little tea if I want to sit in the morning. If I drink too little tea, I fall asleep - if I drink too much, I spend the time planning my day. I prefer the evenings but that makes it tough to spend time with my wife. I generally do a little of both.

    Ron


    Shugen
    Shugen

  20. #20
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Usually in the evenings, however, I am trying to get in the habit of zazen right after I wake up. I work shift work, so my morning, could be at 530am or 3pm...

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  21. #21
    disastermouse
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    I always sit later at night because...well....I don't get up until I abso-smurfly must. I just don't.

    Chet

  22. #22
    I would love to sit first thing in the morning, but I'm up at 5am for work already! So, during the week I sit a soon as I get home in the afternoon (around 5) & at the weekend I sit around 6am. I'm too sleepy to sit before bed!
    Last edited by adrianbkelly; 06-25-2012 at 05:03 PM.

  23. #23
    I just tried sitting this morning for the first time in awhile. I find that my mind is so caught in thoughts of the day ahead that it's much more challenging. At the end of the day I am tired so I think it's easier to sit with a calmer mind. So I think I will keep trying the mornings for awhile
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  24. #24
    Sometimes early morning, sometimes right before bed. I have to get up at 5:00 for work, so early is very early. The challenge with morning sitting, for me, is the tendency to attach to thoughts and plans for the day. This isn't as big a problem at night, but my evening sittings have an odd, slightly-intoxicated feeling to them. (No other way to describe it.) I am still very new, however--no telling if this is a solid pattern or something that will shift or fall away in the future.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by JustBen View Post
    Sometimes early morning, sometimes right before bed. I have to get up at 5:00 for work, so early is very early. The challenge with morning sitting, for me, is the tendency to attach to thoughts and plans for the day. This isn't as big a problem at night, but my evening sittings have an odd, slightly-intoxicated feeling to them. (No other way to describe it.) I am still very new, however--no telling if this is a solid pattern or something that will shift or fall away in the future.
    Just keep on sitting...
    "this too shall pass"

    Gassho, Dojin.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

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