Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Taking the Time For Practice

A grueling work schedule has made it harder to practice, lately. I have found, if I don't sit in the morning, that's it, I will not practice that day, at least not formally. Carving the time in the morning has become essential. Last night, I set my alarm thirty minutes early so I would get a chance to sit before the day takes over. 

Remembering the benefits from practice and what happens when  I don't, has been a key motivator.

Do you TAKE the time to practice? 


  1. I've found a little time between the bus my wife and daughter take and the bus that I take to work.. and I squeeze in a sit with my PrannaTimer each day.

    What a blessing it has been.

  2. I am retired from work--in my 60s---and find practice fairly easy but i go through phases of doing it and longish periods when I dont. I find it better sometimes just to try and take one day at a time in a measured kind of way. This may be partly to do with my age but also I find ( have always found ) that too intense practice can be counterproductive and tends to aggravate my mind rarher than calm it. I also am inclined to get over obsessed with myself and the way I am feeling.
    Anyway this is just me and I would never claim
    that my life is better than anyone elses. Who knows ?

  3. Thank you for sharing. You could have chosen to fill in, or kill that sliver of time. Rather, you gave yourself (and your loved ones) gift of mindfulness!

  4. Yes! I need to absolutely find time in my day for meditation. Like You I wake up atleast an hour before rest of the house for some quite time and sitting practice, it has been so invaluable for me!

  5. I've submitted! I cannot live a householder life...

    After 9 months of living at the New Orleans Zen Temple back in 08, I moved out into a huge house, all to myself. I made a little sitting room. Within two weeks I missed 6 out of 14 days, within a month I was sitting once a month. (I was just 3 miles from the temple, mind you.)

    8 months later, I started a sitting group, 1 year later my wife and I turned out house into a Zen temple that would seat 25 and invited 2 zen priests to come live with us...

    I know some people, like Kokyo of Santa Cruz Zen Center, who cat sit by themselves for ages...I am not one of them! I find it deeply inspiring to hear about, but in my experience, it just doesn't happen for me.

    Big deep bow to all house holders trying...I'd love to see a small sitting space open in every neighborhood. This might mean all the zennies, insighties, yogis, etc, putting aside their traditional preferences and JUST sitting.

  6. I'm finding that the best thing for me is to sit as soon as I get up. It's useful to remember the benefits that I had last time I did this.

  7. Michael, it is all a matter of balance isn't it, and of best fit for one's personality. Also, of attitude one brings to the practice itself. And, also, little practice, no reward, lots of practice, lots of reward . . .

    1. Margurtite you may well be right. When I was younger I spent some time in a Roman Catholic monastery but realized I was not particularly good at being a Christian monk. In more recent years Ive noticed that I am often a rubbish Buddhist. But Ajahn Sumedho amd of course some Christian people have encouraged me to think that its Ok to fail. Dont we all ?

  8. I've just retired - not yet. 60, and marked the occasion by adopting the intention to work on my practice. So far so good: one day at a time...

  9. Pigasus, you are so right. Practice as a householder is very challenging. There are so few positive reinforcers in our ordinary environment. It is actually quite the opposite.

    Then, it becomes a matter of, how am I committed to practice? How do I want to lead the rest of my life?

    You have made a radical choice. Thank you for the gift of your inspiration . . .

  10. John, yes, the primary motivator for practice is the memory of what happens when one practices, and also when one doesn't.

  11. Like you, I find that if I don't practice first thing in the morning it's unlikely that I'll find the time at all. So I've been doing the same thing--setting my clock to wake up earlier. Unfortunately, I have yet to correlate that with going to bed earlier. So far, I'm about 40/60 on getting up versus turning off the alarm and staying in bed. So it seems there's two adjustments to be made instead of just one.

  12. Clara, thank you for being so generous with sharing your practice. I am so with you in all of it. The morning struggle is so familiar. And when I ask myself the question, what makes me practice, in the end always is the memory of all the times before when I did make the effort to sit, and those when I didn't, and the difference between the two. No matter how pleasant or unpleasant, practice has always been worth the time.