The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:23 am

Today has been a day of merry-making, as it is my daughter's sixth birthday. :woohoo: I love that kid so, so much!

All the activity did have a slight cost, however, because I fell asleep on the couch again. But when I awoke, as I seem to when my day's meditation is undone, I sat for an hour. It went well, with a healthy measure of calm and relinquishment. After about 40 minutes I stretched my legs, which always go to sleep, and returned to my seat.

I spent the next 15 or so minutes with the 32 parts. Other than anapanasati, the 32 parts are my favourite focus for contemplation. Of course, when taken as focus, they in fact lead straight back to the body and mind. They are simply well suited to my strong tendency toward lust, is all.

It is possible to yammer a long time about meditation, I am beginning to realize. So, I'll say goodnight now.

Good night.

:heart: <--- This is for everyone.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:53 pm

thereductor wrote:Today has been a day of merry-making, as it is my daughter's sixth birthday. :woohoo: I love that kid so, so much!


Awwww Happy Birthday Kiddo!!!!!!

thereductor wrote:All the activity did have a slight cost, however, because I fell asleep on the couch again.


That has been happening a lot to me lately.

thereductor wrote:But when I awoke, as I seem to when my day's meditation is undone, I sat for an hour.


This has not been happening a lot, in my case, unfortunately. However, I really admire and respect your diligence, so, I get my kicks via Mudita!

thereductor wrote:It went well, with a healthy measure of calm and relinquishment. After about 40 minutes I stretched my legs, which always go to sleep, and returned to my seat.


Cool man, glad to hear it's going well! Your hard work and dedication is paying off. Hopefully, with Right Effort, it will only continue to deepen and flourish for your benefit and the benefit of all around you. You have already made me very happy simply by knowing how dedicated you are to Dhamma practice. Keep it up dude! You're an awesome bloke!

thereductor wrote:I spent the next 15 or so minutes with the 32 parts. Other than anapanasati, the 32 parts are my favourite focus for contemplation. Of course, when taken as focus, they in fact lead straight back to the body and mind. They are simply well suited to my strong tendency toward lust, is all.


Yeah, lust can be powerful sometimes.

thereductor wrote:It is possible to yammer a long time about meditation, I am beginning to realize. So, I'll say goodnight now.


Yammer away my friend!

Good night.

thereductor wrote: :heart: <--- This is for everyone.


Awww :heart:
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:45 pm

Thank you Guy, I appreciate the encouraging words.

About sleeping on the couch, there are different kinds of sleep: some where the intent is to be oblivious, another where the intent is to become wakeful. Last night I felt very tired, again, so I set a timer on my phone for twenty minutes, and laid on the couch. My intent was just to rest enough that I would be able to get up feeling a little bit refreshed. I remained vaguely aware of the room around me. Then my timer went off and I got up to do my meditation.

The meditation had a recurrent restlessness to it that I couldn't shake. The one improvement was that I didn't look at the timer as I did my walking part. It seemed mostly unimportant how much of the session had elapsed, which is an improvement and among the last hurdles for this meditation challenge.

Anyway, have a good day everyone.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:40 am

Hi Reductor,

It would seem that you are on to something with the different types of sleep. I think we can all agree that sleep which leaves you feeling more groggy after you wake up than when you fell asleep could be regarded as "bad" (or, at least, "unsatisfying") sleep. In fact, such sleep, in the long-term, if it is made a habit, leads to insomina, depression, anxiety, and all other symptoms of poor health and some people end up in a really bad state. The other kind of sleep, which leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to start the day (which is admittedly the harder of the two types of sleep to come by) we can all agree is "good" sleep.

So, having established those basic terms, how do we get more good sleep and less bad sleep? What are the causes and conditions which lead to bad sleep and what are the causes and conditions which lead to good sleep?

This is a very important point for any serious practicing Buddhist because the quality of our sleep will have a direct impact on the quality of our meditation. This is why Ajahn Brahm encourages retreatants, on 9-day retreats, to rest as much as they want/need on the first 3 days - Why? Because he recognizes that most people, because of work and family life, find "good" sleep hard to come by. So, naturally, when the body has been removed from those external distractions, it shuts down and goes towards sleep because it is in a state of deprivation already and recognizes the new external environment (the retreat centre) to be much more conducive to "good" sleep. This is important!

Having a good sleep is (a preliminary part of) The Middle Way, never make the mistake of believing that it is self-indulgent!!!

We do, indeed, have a hierarchy of needs. In order to meditate effectively and reap good results, we must address our lower needs first - One of the most important (and most neglected, in our modern world) is good sleep - I feel that we need to get back to basics - Moderation in sleep means getting enough of the "good" sleep and avoiding the "bad" sleep in-so-far as that is in your control (i.e. don't have a big meal before you go to bed or you will feel tired in the morning and if you meditate first thing in the morning then it becomes obvious why the Buddha recommended moderation in eating and eating at the right time, etc.).

I know that I need to spend more time focusing on getting basic things like my sleeping and my eating habits sorted before I can even attempt to meditate properly (i.e. Gradual Path of Training).

Thanks for the reminder!

Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Yana » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:36 pm

hi everyone...

am so annoyed!...for 4 days in a row have been meditating twice a day...i know it seems like nothing to most people here BUT omg..That took Every ounce of effort!From the time i last posted i have failed to meditate twice a day always ending up meditating once a day..then Finally i adapted to twice a day..failed a few more days..skipped days...then the Only time i managed 4 days in a row...i managed to screw that up too..Today I Failed not Once but Twice grr!!!sigh...i blame bad time management skills.Was suppose to wake up and mediate decided to slack off a bit then had to go for a picnic all day.

Good job yana ..good job...now i have to go back all the way to 5 minutes.!!grr..

Hope everyone else's doing fine. :group:
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:34 am

No, I haven't fallen off the cart!

I just haven't had time to write a decent post.

Last night was a most vexing night indeed. I couldn't string together enough mindfulness to count the breath to ten. Just total muddle mind.

Tonight wasn't so bad, but still there was a lot of preoccupation with various concerns from the day to day of my life. I tried counting each part of breathing, then only the outs while feeling the ins. I tried mindfulness of the posture, mindfulness of calm, and bent my attention toward a perception of light (the lamp light shining through my eyelids). I'm sure I tried other things in an effort to keep my mind from becoming consumed with its preoccupations.

Oh well. The trouble is that my daily life has issues which cannot be resolved unless I first give up craving. And therein lies the rub: how does one give up craving unless the mind is brought to a basic level of clarity first? And how to attain that clarity when these cravings persists? Eieieie! :lol:

Or perhaps: :tantrum:

Now, about sleep. It would be easier to get if there weren't so many light bulbs and beeping thingies in the world. I kid you not. The ability to turn of a frickin light so that I can read a book, or fool around on the internet, is a huge part of the problem. Doubly so for those that work away the day time hours while retaining the desire to spend time in leisure pursuits? Do them in the evening and at night, of course. Just tonight I could hear my neighbour in the adjoining apartment turn on a movie at midnight. Then banging around very loudly in the kitchen. Did he just return home then? Was this his time to unwind? Yet I know I am still awake, as are a few of my neighbours down the hall (who sometime have kids yelling and crying at 1 am). Can't any of us prioritize sleep?

Although sleep is a very, very basic need, a essential need, its lack is easily justified because sleep is a state of doing nothing, and so seems expendable. Yet, doing nothing is just what we really need.

:shrug:

Here I am, talking of sleep at 1:24am! Kind of a buffoon I am. Haha. Sigh. Just a hamster on a wheel, I think.

I really like that bit about Ajahn Brahm and the freedom to sleep at the beginning of retreat. I can imagine how good the sleep would be then, when there are no distractions from it. I can almost feel the relief!

:heart:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:38 am

Yana wrote:hi everyone...

am so annoyed!...for 4 days in a row have been meditating twice a day...i know it seems like nothing to most people here BUT omg..That took Every ounce of effort!From the time i last posted i have failed to meditate twice a day always ending up meditating once a day..then Finally i adapted to twice a day..failed a few more days..skipped days...then the Only time i managed 4 days in a row...i managed to screw that up too..Today I Failed not Once but Twice grr!!!sigh...i blame bad time management skills.Was suppose to wake up and mediate decided to slack off a bit then had to go for a picnic all day.

Good job yana ..good job...now i have to go back all the way to 5 minutes.!!grr..

Hope everyone else's doing fine. :group:


Five dependable minutes is nothing to sneeze at. No joke.

1...

2...

3...

4...

5...

...done regularly will become easy. Then it can be increased just a bit. Then another bit. Then another. In time its more than you would have expected, and it looking back it will seem to have been easy enough.

So, if you can only manage those five minutes in a day, don't sweat it. If you manage more, don't sweat that either.

:hug:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:12 am

Yana,
We fall down then get up again, fall and get back up and continue.
Just keep at it, and you'll be fine.
with metta

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:19 am

Hi thereductor,
Be easy on yourself. I know from my own experience that one of the worst things about lack of sleep is the anxiety of not getting sleep. The internal beating oneself up over it. In the short-term, invest in some ear plugs. In the medium term - and if its a possibility - move to somewhere a bit more peaceful.
All the best,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:56 am

Ben wrote:Hi thereductor,
Be easy on yourself. I know from my own experience that one of the worst things about lack of sleep is the anxiety of not getting sleep. The internal beating oneself up over it. In the short-term, invest in some ear plugs. In the medium term - and if its a possibility - move to somewhere a bit more peaceful.
All the best,

Ben


I would like to move, Ben, but noise is a minor factor in regard to that. In fact, the last apartment was much, much worse for noise. It had been touted as a nice new building, and that it was supposed to be especially quiet due to its construction. What a crock that turned out to be!

Haha. Anyway, my neighbours are not a bad bunch, and they aren't too noisy. The distractions lay within.

Speaking of distractions, this is the second night in a row that I've shorted the hour. Last night I managed 44 minutes, tonight was 48. I've been unable to keep them from completely consuming my attention once the half hour mark has been passed.

So tonight I got up and walked, but found myself completely scattered. I checked the timer, hoping that the session was almost over, but found that only 33 minutes had passed. After walking a bit I sat again, but only slipped into a stupor due to low energy.

Tsk.

Don't think I'm taking this too badly, however. Certainly it is disheartening that my meditation is not just what I'd like, but that isn't what is really eating me. It's the wider context of this problem that's causing my trouble, and that's what I'd like to set right. I'm just not sure how to do that short of uprooting an underlying tendency or two. :rofl:

Good night.

Oh, there was one perk of a short session yesterday: I was in bed and sleeping by 12am. I awoke at 9 this morning feeling stiff from sleeping to long! That's a right uncommon feeling lately.

Now good night.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:19 am

Whew! This was the 31st day since I began this challenge, which was supposed to be only 30 days in length. I missed a one due to fear, so added a day.

In total I logged 27 hours and 10 minutes of meditation during this time. This is not the 30 hours I was aiming for, but I've really been struggling with some personal issues this last week, which has made it hard. Luckily I did have a pretty easy time in the first 3 weeks or so.

From here I think I'll reduce the session to 40 minutes, and try to get it in between 11pm and 12am. I'll allow an additional twenty minutes for light dhamma reading, which I hope will help.

The real place I need to focus is in the day to day issues of my life; obviously I need to exercise more restraint in the way I conduct my mind.

I'd tell more, but I'm far to private a person for that. So the curious among you shall just have to speculate. :lol:

Take care, and good night.

:heart:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:50 am

Congratulations on your awesome effort, thereductor.
Its not an easy task to cultivate virtue, samadhi and panna when the whole world is moving in the other direction.
Its quite an achievement. I encourage you to continue with your challenge and to maintain your meditative practice for another thirty days.
May the Dhamma be your anchora salutis (anchor of salvation) in this time of personal difficulty.
with metta,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:11 pm

Ben wrote:Congratulations on your awesome effort, thereductor.
Its not an easy task to cultivate virtue, samadhi and panna when the whole world is moving in the other direction.
Its quite an achievement. I encourage you to continue with your challenge and to maintain your meditative practice for another thirty days.
May the Dhamma be your anchora salutis (anchor of salvation) in this time of personal difficulty.
with metta,

Ben


Hello Ben. I hope that you're doing well.

I did miss the first night after completing this challenge, but resumed the night after that -- which was last night.

I'm going to do my utmost to maintain meditation session each night.

Take care. :heart:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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The 30-Day Meditation Challenge

Postby Alobha » Mon May 07, 2012 6:58 pm

Hello everybody,

As Ajahn Chah once said: "You're blind and deaf without meditation. Dhamma isn't easily seen. You must meditate to see what you've never seen. Were you born a teacher? No. You must study first. A lemon is sour only when you have tasted it."

For the next 30 days, i will have 2 formal meditation sessions every day and i invite you to join the challenge. :buddha1:

I hereby hope not only that my public proclamation will motivate me to hang on, but i also wish others to join. I hope for your support and look forward for the opportunity, to support everyone who wants to do establish a steady practice, too. While practice is much more than sitting meditation, formal sittings serve as a good basis for pursuing the noble eightfold path.

With Metta,
Alobha
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby black hole » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:04 am

Hello to everyone!
I am new and just introudced myself on the forum.
I have been practicing meditation every day, at least one hour and between two and three or four hours during the week end for years. I am not a Thervada practitioner (sorry :shrug: ) : I am a Niyingmapa but I like your forum. What I practice is like samatha (Shine) and Vipassana (Lakhtong)in addition to meditation-visualization specific to Tibetan Buddhism.
I'm so used to meditation that I can not even consider that I can stop one day. It's an hindrance it will be hard to get rid!
Then, think of me so I still have the strength and courage to get up early to meditate and make room in my life to fill it with emptiness!
Everything is naturally perfect just as it is
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby d.sullivan » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:40 pm

For various reasons (school being a big one), my practice has waned lately. It has bothered me a great deal, but I was so stressed with school I could never bring myself to meditate when there was homework to be done. I need to learn to re-organize my priorities, because in the long run I actually care about my practice more, but this is not always reflected in my actions.

In any case, it is the summer now and I want to get my practice back in order. I did this challenge a couple times in the past, and it worked very well. Since my experience has born this to be very skillful means, I'm back.

This week I wish to practice for half and hour each day. I would prefer this occur in the morning, but it is my first week back and I am going to be flexible. Next week perhaps I will require greater discipline.

Thank you, everyone here, for providing this space of encouragement. You are all my benefactors :thanks:
Every blade in the field,
Every leaf in the forest,
Lays down its life in its season,
As beautifully as it was taken up.

Thoreau.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:42 am

d.sullivan wrote:For various reasons (school being a big one), my practice has waned lately. It has bothered me a great deal, but I was so stressed with school I could never bring myself to meditate when there was homework to be done. I need to learn to re-organize my priorities, because in the long run I actually care about my practice more, but this is not always reflected in my actions.

In any case, it is the summer now and I want to get my practice back in order. I did this challenge a couple times in the past, and it worked very well. Since my experience has born this to be very skillful means, I'm back.

This week I wish to practice for half and hour each day. I would prefer this occur in the morning, but it is my first week back and I am going to be flexible. Next week perhaps I will require greater discipline.

Thank you, everyone here, for providing this space of encouragement. You are all my benefactors :thanks:


Wishing you all the very best!
:namaste:
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby d.sullivan » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:33 am

Ben wrote:
Wishing you all the very best!
:namaste:


Thank you, Ben!

My first week was pretty successful. I shamefully admit to missing one day this week. I beat myself up pretty bad about it, but oh well. I think challenging myself to half an hour a day was a tiny bit much, and it made me less likely to hit the bench if I didn't feel I had a whole half hour free. All in all, I am actually pretty happy with my progress. I was surprised at how easily I have been able to concentrate considering how long it has been since I meditated regularly. That was a very pleasant surprise!

I am going to challenge myself to another week of sitting once a day, but I won't be as much of a stickler about the minimum time I need to sit. As long as I actually get to the cushion and stay there for at least 20 minutes or so, I will be happy. I'll check back at the end of the week to let you all know how it went.

:namaste:
Every blade in the field,
Every leaf in the forest,
Lays down its life in its season,
As beautifully as it was taken up.

Thoreau.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Libertus77 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:21 am

Hello All,

I wanted to post here as I still persevere through the challenge of setting the foundation of my practice. My present goal is to sit for at least 30 minutes per day. I have accomplished this some after several days at 15 minutes then worked up to 30. I still let life and tiredness keep my away from the cushion when I know that I need to be there. I think I will aim to wake up before I need to and sit while everyone else is still asleep. This seems to be the most ideal time for me given the busyness and fullness of my evenings around the house.

With no teacher or local meditation classes, I am trying to gather my resources as much as possible, and I am thrilled to have found this forum.

Be well!

~Chris
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Feathers » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:58 am

Hi!
I'm just starting out, and so far have been very undisciplined. Today is the first day of my new routine:

Every morning:
walking meditation four lengths of my room (mostly just to wake up). This is about 20 paces in total!
5 mins calm awareness (the very first stage described by Ajahn Brahm in Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond
Metta: all four phrases for me, then a circuit of the first phrase for people I'm meeting today
+ more metta as needed/as it develops
Another two lengths of the room (mostly to get some feeling back in my legs)

The metta sounds selfish, but it's recommended in the guide I'm following to start exclusively with yourself at first (interestingly Ajahn Brahm recommends the opposite as he says most of us find doing metta for ourselves the most difficult).

This is a pathetically small amount, but if I stick to it for a week it will be more discipline and consistency than I've ever managed before. I'm trying to be realistic.

Good luck to everyone in their practice :smile:
Last edited by Feathers on Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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