Thread: Returning to Meditation

  1. #1
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    Returning to Meditation

    Regular meditation used to be a part of my life. I learned a form of Samatha Buddhist meditation from weekly group meetings of a local branch of the Samatha Trust (https://samatha.org/samatha-trust). This is a Buddhist foundation set up in the late 1950s by a Thai Theravada monk in the UK.

    I attended the group meditation each week, and meditated at home most days of the week too. But after some time, several years in fact, I reached a point where I felt I was making no progress and my belief in the purpose of meditation fell away. I simply stopped, and I didn't miss it.

    Teachers had told me not to have expectations. They stressed there's no point in trying hard to 'do it right'. And I think it was my passive acceptance of that advice that kept me going all that time, 5-7 years, I don't remember exactly.

    Now, after a break of 5 or more years, I'm going to start regular daily meditation at home. I'm not looking for group practice: that wouldn't be very likely in 2020 for obvious reasons. I just want to be able to settle myself into a state of calm abiding for about a half-hour each day.

    I have to re-discover a comfortable way of sitting. My weight to be evenly distributed on the ground without straining any limb, straight back, sitting upright. I will select a cushion to sit on. I won't sit in a chair, it's too easy to fall asleep.

    How can I make meditation a naturally-occurring event in my day? First thing in the morning I'm full of plans for the day and keen to get started. In the evening I'm either focused on finishing what I've started, or I'm dog-tired and I just want to rest.

    I'll do my half-hour practice at 2pm each day. Sometimes I'll not be home at that hour and on those days I'll simply skip the meditation. I won't try to cram it into a different time slot on the same day.

    It will take me a little while to drop into this new routine, I'm sure. I will post again on this thread in a few days time when I get some idea how it's going. I'm full of hope but I don't expect everything to work out perfectly.

    If you have any comment to make, about me or about you and your practice, now or in the future, just go ahead and post into this topic.

  2. #2
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Hi Woodscooter!

    I think is great to practice meditation again. In my case I don't have a established schedule to sit. I sit when the moment is proper to do nothing; in that way meditation works marvellous. It is simple sitting and do nothing, of course in the case of Zazen. I don't know about Samatha or Vipassana.


  3. #3
    Forums Member KathyLauren's Avatar
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    Good for you for getting back to it!

    I find that making meditation a part of my daily routine is a good way to remember to keep doing it. So my morning routine is: get dressed; let the dog out; clean the cats' litter boxes; wash my face; meditate; then have breakfast.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

  4. #4
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    Thanks for your encouragement.

    I've found it difficult to get back into a meditative state in my first few sessions. Like beginning again from the very start, not like getting back on a bicycle after a long time.

    I've spent ages trying to get into a good position without instant leg-ache. I've discovered itches on my face, on my neck, as soon as one is dealt with, another one pops up.

    And the distractions of thought. I'm reminded that 'monkey mind' is a good way to describe it.

    Here is a quote on Vipassana meditation from a book I've been recently reading: "For years I lived under the impression that I was master of my life, and the chief of my own personal brand. But a few hours of meditation were enough to show me that I hardly had any control of myself. I was not the chief - I was barely the gatekeeper. I was asked to stand at the gateway of my body -the nostrils- and just observe whatever comes in or goes out. Yet after a few moments I lost my focus and abandoned my post. It was an eye-opening experience."

    And another effect I have rediscovered is time dilation. I sit watching the breath, struggling with itches, leg ache and 'monkey mind'. I do this for half an hour. Then I open my eyes and I find that only ten minutes has passed.

    Never mind, I'm beginning to find the next twenty minutes passes rather better, with me reaching a settled state, still aware of the breath, with many less distractions. I will see how it goes in the coming week.

  5. #5
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    It's getting easier, although 'easier' is probably not the right word.

    I am getting used to the process once again, and my mind is more readily moving to a quieter place.

    I'm not yet touching the timeless state of mind which I often used to achieve in group meditation, but never managed in solo meditation. But I'm keen to continue and see what comes of it.

  6. #6
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    Hi woodscooter. Yes, the time thing used to get to me sometimes, but especially when I started group meditations at the Buddhist Centre many years ago. There used to be a bell, well a hit of a singing bowl, at ten minute intervals. Never known ten minutes to be so long, especially the last one. This went on until I got into the groove as it were, but it took a long time. Maybe even a couple of years.

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