meditation late at night

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

Post by vacvvm » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:25 pm

Hi!
I've been meditating typically 1hr in the morning and 1hr at night. I find my morning meditation to be much stronger, more focused, deeper, sometimes I extend it to 1.5 or 2hrs
lately I've been very busy and sometime don't get home until very late. When I do my night meditation it's a battle against sleep, I never fall asleep, but its really not nearly as focused as in the morning and doesn't feel as beneficial, except maybe to strengthen discipline and practice stirring up energy.
My question is, thinking just about efficacy of moving onward toward freedom, which of these do you think best:

A) let myself sit more in the AM, less before bed, I still get my 2hrs daily
B) do my evening at some other time, maybe at sunset, then back to work
C) just keep plowing through, do the full hour before bed, think of guys like Webu Sayadaw and get strong
D) something else?

thanks!

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:41 pm

I choose C only because I have had the best results over the years with this approach. Whatever you choose, anumodana to you for your noble effort!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
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Alobha
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by Alobha » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:48 pm

I think that's the best way to go:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwyOomHluqQ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I wouldn't recommend Option C with this in mind.

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ryanM
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by ryanM » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:49 pm

Of course, Webu Sayadaw is a special case in that his practice was very mature. I've heard people advise not to meditate before going to bed because it could leave one prone to sloth and torpor. However, if you don't seem to have that problem, then I'd say carry on. Just don't stress yourself too much! Webu Sayadaw had the circumstances to practice the way he did.

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Mkoll
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by Mkoll » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:19 pm

You could try B. Perhaps instead of meditating an hour before bed, you do it two hours before and then the final hour before bed you could read Buddhist literature or otherwise wind down. That may help with the tiredness and still allow you to complete your business before winding down time.
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Whatever you choose, anumodana to you for your noble effort!
Indeed! :clap:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Ben
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by Ben » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:57 pm

Make time for your daily practice. And keep going.
With metta,
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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SDC
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by SDC » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:59 pm

Strangely enough, I've had, by far, my most fruitful endeavors lying on my side prior to falling asleep and usually for no more than 20 minutes.

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vacvvm
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by vacvvm » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:12 am

Thanks for your replies everybody!
Alobha, the Ajahn Brahm video was wonderful, he directly addresses this question (at around 29mins for anyone wondering) but he actually says to go with C! his attitude is that it doesnt really matter what your mind is like, just what you do with it, so go ahead and be sleepy, open your heart to your sleepy mind, that builds good karma in meditation. That said, another takeaway could be that it totally doesn't matter when I do it, just that I keep on doing it (as Ben said :) )
so probably I'll keep on with C, since I've got the habit already. maybe a little mix with A if that feels right

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Re: meditation late at night

Post by samseva » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:18 pm

Meditating a lot when sleepy can be counterproductive in the long run. Sure, it is best to plough through when the occasional sleepiness arises, but if you are planning to do this on a regular basis, you will possibly develop aversion and it will have more negative effects than positive ones.

You could try to develop the mind to concentrate even though you are sleepy. Eventually, this could strengthen it, but if you do this for a long time and you are still sleepy while meditating, I would look at other solutions—such as getting more sleep.

Walking meditation is oftentimes advised when hindered with sleepiness.

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vacvvm
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by vacvvm » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:46 pm

samseva wrote:Walking meditation is oftentimes advised when hindered with sleepiness.
I was thinking about this, especially since I know its recommended to meditate in all postures and I really only ever do seated. I've never done walking meditation for very long, would you do a whole hour or break it up with other postures?

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Mkoll
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by Mkoll » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:09 pm

vacvvm wrote:
samseva wrote:Walking meditation is oftentimes advised when hindered with sleepiness.
I was thinking about this, especially since I know its recommended to meditate in all postures and I really only ever do seated. I've never done walking meditation for very long, would you do a whole hour or break it up with other postures?
You could start off with breaking up your hour with standing if you get tired and work your way up to a whole hour. Or just start with a whole hour if you can do it—shouldn't be a problem unless you have some kind of physical limitation. Here's a snippet from Ajahn Chah.
Ajahn Chah wrote: When you're practising walking meditation (cankama), have a walking path, say from one tree to another, about 50 feet in length. Walking cankama is the same as sitting meditation. Focus your awareness: ''Now, I am going to put forth effort. With strong recollection and self-awareness I am going to pacify my mind.'' The object of concentration depends on the person. Find what suits you. Some people spread mettā to all sentient beings and then leading with their right foot, walk at a normal pace, using the mantra 'Buddho' in conjunction with the walking. Continually being aware of that object. If the mind becomes agitated then stop, calm the mind and then resume walking. Constantly self-aware. Aware at the beginning of the path, aware at every stage of the path, the beginning, the middle and the end. Make this knowing continuous.

This is a method, focussing on walking cankama. Walking cankama means walking to and fro. It's not easy. Some people see us walking up and down and think we're crazy. They don't realize that walking cankama gives rise to great wisdom. Walk to and fro. If you're tired then stand and still your mind. Focus on making the breathing comfortable. When it is reasonably comfortable then switch the attention to walking again,

The postures change by themselves. Standing, walking, sitting, lying down. They change. We can't just sit all the time, stand all the time or lie down all the time. We have to spend our time with these different postures, make all four postures beneficial. This is the action. We just keep doing it. It's not easy.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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vacvvm
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by vacvvm » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:20 pm

Thanks Mkoll!

Pinetree
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by Pinetree » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:03 am

his attitude is that it doesnt really matter what your mind is like, just what you do with it, so go ahead and be sleepy, open your heart to your sleepy mind, that builds good karma in meditation.
Yes, this is what he says.
Alobha, the Ajahn Brahm video was wonderful, he directly addresses this question (at around 29mins for anyone wondering) but he actually says to go with C!
No, he doesn't say "go with C" .

In other lectures, he says that's it is important to take care of the body, so if the body is tired and needs sleep, you should sleep, not battle with it. Also, he says that you should ask your mind, if it wants to meditate or do something else.

I don't know what activity you are busy with, but if you see that it is getting you tired, my suggestion is to find few moments during the day and meditate if only for few minutes to help the mind to rest.

At night, you could try to reduce the duration of the meditation to less than 30 minutes, before sleep.
I've never done walking meditation for very long, would you do a whole hour or break it up with other postures?
I've tried this recently and seems to be quite effective: alternate sitting and walking meditation.

I'm using a meditation timer and alternating durations of 5-10 minutes: walking-sitting-walking-sitting.

What's interesting is that if you are mindful at all times (including walking, stopping, turning, getting up and sitting back down), it develops a sort of "flow" and it actually grows into a single meditation and the transition between walking and sitting doesn't break the meditation.

The duration does matter, try to find your own rythm. For sleepiness issues, you will probably find out how many minutes it takes for the sleepiness to progress, and use that as your duration.

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Sekha
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Re: meditation late at night

Post by Sekha » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:50 am

vacvvm wrote:When I do my night meditation it's a battle against sleep, I never fall asleep, but its really not nearly as focused as in the morning and doesn't feel as beneficial, except maybe to strengthen discipline and practice stirring up energy.
I would say it is indeed beneficial, even if you may not feel the effect very clearly. It is my experience that mental defilements come stronger at night than in the morning. Hence the meditation may feel less satisfying but actually be more efficient. Basically, if you practice correctly, the harder you strive, the faster your remove the defilements, as long as they don't end up overpowering you, in which case you have to slow down. Minding this caveat, I would also recommend C and if you keep going straight without giving up or indulging in counter productive activities, you will find it becomes easier over time until you feel also satisfied with your evening meditation. It's a very long process, and all the fruits do not come instantly, so in the mean time we just have to be patient and keep striving.
All the best for your practice ! :bow:
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