Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Learning From the Monastics

This morning, I watched with intense curiosity, the energy of resistance taking hold of mind. The day had started well.  I was going to sit first thing. Downstairs, I went, still in my robe. Cup of tea, lovingly prepared by Prad, tempted me into lingering at the kitchen table. From tea cup to computer, were only a few feet, easily crossed. Meditation could wait a little while longer, . . . I was just going to check my emails, and respond to comments on my blog, and tweet a bit, and read a few more pages from the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha

Three hours later, at the computer still, I realized I had only a small window left before swim practice. And I wondered what had happened to earlier resolution. Forces greater than rational mind, had conspired.  Quickly, I rushed to my chair, and sat. Halfway through meditation, I noticed boredom threatening to take over, with concomitant thoughts of quitting, and finding more pleasurable state elsewhere. Ah-ah, craving at work . . . noted. Soon losing its grip, and giving way to concentration, easy, sweet, and joy from deep tranquillity. The fight was not over, however, as I noticed sleepiness, creeping in. Maintaining right effort is no easy task, from finding the time to sit, to staying on the chair . . . 

The monastics have it down with their strict adherence to a preset daily schedule. As a lay person, I can learn from them and create a structure,  to better support my young practice. Starting tomorrow, I will adhere to the following early morning routine:

Get up
Brush teeth
Get dressed
Stretching exercises 
45' sitting meditation
Tea & breakfast

From the bedroom, straight to meditation room. I am bypassing the kitchen and the office altogether.  It's that simple!

Do you have a daily routine for meditation?


  1. Your blog has a very nice quality to it and your sharing the details of your practice is educative and inspiring.

    Its so nice yet so rare when a morning routine goes according to plan... I get sidetracked at the computer too. Too much time there and then kids and getting ready for school drama is an unavoidable distraction.

    Will be interested to hear and learn from your experience of sticking to a strict routine.

  2. Yes, definitely. I sit first thing in the morning when I wake up. I actually wake up early to do this. There are a couple of reasons why I do this:

    1. 'Things' come up in the day. If I make the intention to sit first thing in the morning, I won't be tempted by these 'things.'
    2. In general, I'm a morning person. I like the quiet and tranquility of the morning. It's easier for me to get up early as opposed to staying up later or doing it right before bed.

    I think having a schedule definitely helps!

  3. Hello! I don't ever have a set meditation time --- though I try to meditate in the morning and in the evening when my small children are sleeping. That doesn't always work out and lately I seem to be meditating when and where I can. In a lot of parking lots before going into work or before appointments or in my own driveway before entering a loud household. BUT, when I have all day to meditate, I find that I put it off and put it off and put it off -- sometimes putting it off all together. The resistance is strong when I have 40 minutes to meditate. And yet I'll lament the fact I only have 10 minutes in a parking lot, but gladly take that. Strange...
    Loved your thoughtful post.

  4. Thanks to you all for joining in addressing resistance bandwagon! Nate, we need to emulate you . . . First step, as I realized, is to recognize resistance as powerful force to be contended with. No need to go into self-blame with that one, of course! Only to take appropriate measures as all the wise ones have done for centuries.