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Thread: So what I've been doing

  1. #1

    So what I've been doing

    Since Stephanie asked about my practice I've decided to write a topic about what I've been doing lately that has helped my practice and life in general.

    First off (before I start) I'd like to state that I'm not perfect and have my moments, but this might help someone.

    My ability to construct imaginary situations in head and latch on to them has been a big one. When I would walk by someone these thoughts would pop in my head. I would start chattering to myself about people. Then I would start chattering to myself about not chattering about people. I would talk to myself about how good my practice is. I would talk to myself constantly. My failure to have any break from focusing on my thoughts and dillusions has caused severe pain. In there is a large amount of selfishness and ego. I have in the past done some things that I don't think anyone would be proud of.

    What has helped my practice.

    Firstly, faith, but I think you know this one. I can't tell you how important this one is. You have to stick it out.

    Next, I'd like to talk about these thoughts. One technique that has helped me, is having something that I come back to when I start to chatter in my head. It could be anything, I heard that a koan might be used, but I just pictured a house by a lake. Everytime I would find myself running on I would bring my thoughts back to the picture of the house and think the word "house" , which broke up my present line of thought. Always bringing my attention to the wall infront of me. This gave me insight into how my thoughts are and how they effect the rest of my experience. Of course doing this couldn't relieve me of all my tension and so on, so I do Yoga. It has given me an amount of relaxation. Also in doing Yoga notice how my body is. Where it is tense. The tension in my eyes and head especially. So, after practicing Yoga for 30 minutes in the morning, I lay down for 10-15 minutes in the corpse pose and concentrate on relaxing. After I do this I sit. I sit for 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes in the evening usually. Sometimes in the evening, but that's not everyday. I do Yoga in the morning and in the afternoon at about 3:00.

    Another thing that has helped is smiling. Really. Not a big shit eating grin :mrgreen: but just smile at it all.

    Be willing to admit to yourself that you make mistakes, and forgive yourself for them.

    I am an English teacher, which means everyday I have to deal with many people, although I have been somewhat anti-social for some years.
    A lot of problem with dealing with people has been fear. Fear of what? It's so silly. Perhaps they might see that I'm not a good person. Also at times I thought everyone just didn't understand me. I would think that they are wrong. It's not me who is the problem, it is them. My tendancy to become defensive and think that no one understands me or they just don't get it

    Trying to be nice or maybe trying to be helpful or useful helps. The main thing is that you start to work with these things in your life that seem to be the problem, but really they are not.

    People said all kinds of things that didn't help. Like "be in the moment" Well, how am I supposed to do that? That's like telling a person with no experience with computers to write a software program.

    This is what has helped me lately. I still have a lot of work to do, but I can tell you for sure that it has helped.

    I might have left some things out, but I have to go sit now.

    Peace and Gassho


  2. #2

    Re: So what been doing

    Also, I don't eat meat. I don't really know if that helps. I also try to eat just 3 meals a day and stay away from snacking. That doesn't always happen though. The thing is to notice your craving I guess. Don't feel guilty. If anything, try to enjoy it.


  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Redding California USA

    Re: So what I've been doing

    My big thing was "What if..." usually followed by the absolute worst case scenario. I would create these great big dramas in my head and before I knew it, I would be up all night worrying about something that I created out of nothing. "What if the car breaks down? What if I lose my job?" and on and on. Sitting has helped me to realize that they are just thoughts, they are only "real" if I make them "real". I still play the "what if" game, but most of the time I can take a step back and just smile to myself.

    So, for the last few months, I sit every night after we put our sons to bed. My wife is very supportive even though it's hard to explain why I do it. (If I quote any of Jundo's zen sayings I usually get "THE LOOK".) She just knows that it has helped. For years I just read the books and sat about once a month and of course became frustrated. So now, I just sit every night and expect nothing to happen and it usually does.

    That is "what I've been doing".


  4. #4

    Re: So what I've been doing

    I also forgot to add that I bow "usually" before I enter a room. I also bow when I light the incense for sitting. I give thanks for the meal that I am about to eat. These things help with ego I think and show some humility.


  5. #5

    Re: So what I've been doing

    Will, I

    It sounds like a wonderful, balanced practice. I can truly feel it in your words ... and see it in that smile.

    Also, the "corpse pose" sounds excellent (and is perhaps one of the few yoga positions I can easily manage without major incident)!

    Ron, I was/am also a big "what if ... " guy and worrier ... a regular Woody Alan ... and, yes, our Practice is tremendously effective for that. Otherwise, I couldn't be living in an old wooden house in an earthquake zone, or a 48 year old adopting a 1 year old baby. :wink:

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6

    Re: So what I've been doing

    crocodile pose :wink:

    This asana stimulates the stomach and intestines; it improves digestion.
    It relieves the respiratory problems (like asthma).
    It proves effective for people suffering from spinal disorders.


  7. #7

    Re: So what I've been doing

    I think I've just discovered my calling for beach Yoga

  8. #8

  9. #9

    Re: So what I've been doing

    Thanks for this, will.

    Sounds like your beast has similar traits to mine.

    I've found that confronting all the scariest stuff head-on is the best way for me to work through it. But it can be tough because it requires a lot of inner strength and iron willpower and often when that stuff comes to the forefront is not when one is at one's strongest or most willful. It's also hard, when, as Jundo suggested, one doesn't know exactly what is the "Beast" and what is something else.

  10. #10

    Re: So what I've been doing

    one doesn't know exactly what is the "Beast" and what is something else.
    Absolutely. It takes time. You just have to keep going back to it and keep trying to make your life better. we all go through terrible times and good times. I used to think all the time, and sometimes it still pops up, why is everybody's practice better than mine etc. How can these people enjoy themselves. They look so happy laughing and hugging, why can't I have that? What is that? etc. You just have to stick it out, and try to be consistent. You've have read a lot. Just take what those books say and use it. If I wasn't studying or practicing Zen I probably would have never even tried to look at my thoughts and stuff. I probably would have kept going around in circles causing trouble for myself and others. I still cause trouble, but it's not so bad now. That's all I can really say Steph. Stick it out, and be somewhat consistent. You seem like your almost there. You have kind of a good idea of what's going on, you just have to look at it now from a different perspective. One moment your going to try something or notices something and you'll say "oh so that's what's going on."

    often when that stuff comes to the forefront is not when one is at one's strongest or most willful
    Yep. So if all you want to do is sleep, then sleep, but when you wake up sit. I??????FAITH????YOUR?????????TO??????????????IS?A BARRIER TO YOUR ENJOYMENT?Now it is up to you to be consistent and have faith in yourself.

    Gassho Will

  11. #11

    Re: So what I've been doing

    Will, you and Stephanie have the knack for being bold and generous in sharing large slices of your lives. it makes for an honest and humbling read. Gassho, Kent

  12. #12

    Re: So what I've been doing

    Hey Will, I've been getting back into yoga also. Tai Chi and Qigong also help to settle me down before zazen. I've been bad lately. I haven't been sitting everyday. What's up with that? ops:

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