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Waxing and waning practice-right now it's in the toilet

karastikarasti BreathingMinnesota Moderator

I have been in and out during the summer, reading some but not posting. Our house shows a lack of attention to housework as well, lol. My meditation practice right now is non-existant. It happens almost every summer, probably because we have so little truly nice weather here that I feel I must take full advantage of the sunshine and non-boot wearing weather.

Sometimes, I feel anxiety that my practice isn't scheduled, that I am not doing seated meditation as much. But it seems to happen yearly and I come back in the fall and do great all the rest of the year. Does anyone else get this waxing and waning and not stress about it? Sometimes I worry that I'm going backwards, but my practice really is always with me. It's just not scheduled into time on my cushion as much because it is instead incorporated into my running, hiking, gardening, lawn mowing, and so on.

This summer has flown by. In 9 days, my oldest son leaves for college. He will only be 300 miles away but it will be such a change. I have been spending lots of time with him and talking about upcoming changes and challenges in his life. Now that the time is so close, I am starting to miss the grounding nature of my meditation practice. Sometimes life seems to move so fast I can't catch my breath and that is how right now is. This is my son's last weekend home, he will spend it camping with my dad and his little brother, which is awesome. Then he will be leaving, and as I told a friend earlier today, it is a constant battle between excitement at him starting a new section of his life, and a perpetual lump in my throat. My son has AS, and while I am incredibly proud of him going off to college, it invokes a special kind of stress and worry as well. I know all will be fine, and these are times I rely on my practice to carry me through, of course, I haven't been practicing much. :eh:

When your practice wanes, do you embrace it and just go with whatever each day brings? or do you find a devotion and motivation to carry you through to sit (or whatever) whether you feel like it or not? My renewed love of running (which I was told I shouldn't do and my bad knee feels better than ever since I started running in June) has been excellent for my thought process and relaxation. It is a moving mediation for me, so to speak. But I feel something is lacking again so clearly it is time to start sitting again.

Anyhow, just rambling and checking in. Interested in your thoughts. 91 on Saturday here. That is downright ridiculous for heat in northern MN. It could break a record. I'm mellllltttiing! :sweat:

Earthninja

Comments

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I forgot what's with your knee...if it feels good when you run, then it sure sounds like it's improving due to the exercise, but just like anything: don't overdo it. It's been very hot here, but that's to be expected. When you said this, "but my practice really is always with me. It's just not scheduled into time on my cushion as much because it is instead incorporated into my running, hiking, gardening, lawn mowing, and so on," I felt like that is the proof that you're doing just fine. (You should see MY practice!) :3

  • “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”

    Bodhi Rumi

    Personally I am quite disciplined. I meditate daily.

    VictoriousSilenthillpersonVastmind
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    I find that even if I'm really busy, it's worth the time to get some cushion time in. But it can be really tough if you're a householder with children. Even without kids and a relatively undemanding calendar, I miss days here and there (like yesterday.) I don't beat myself up about it, I just sit down the next day and do my thing. Don't put yourself through a guilt trip; you're just making yourself suffer unnecessarily and possibly creating an aversion to meditation.

    Perhaps your current practice isn't suited to you..? I found that trying a different type of meditation made it much easier to keep a consistent practice. Perhaps something more advanced, more basic, or possibly a completely different direction.

    lobsterkarasti
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2015

    Well said @nakazcid <3 We can change to mindfulness or just not practice during the summer. Don't beat yourself up. Being a lay person is a learning experience too.

    My teacher who was a Pratyekabuddha was merely enlightened and mindful at all times.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratyekabuddha

    He never taught me any 'insightful' wise words, meditation etc.
    Never.
    Transmission does not happen in that way. If you are learning expressible 'secrets' you are being charmed by charlatans. Just so you know. The real work. All of it is an internal, eternal attitude.

    Do not look for the rose, find the rise in your self ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower_Sermon

    ... and now back to the conventional practice makes perfect dharma ... :p

    karastiSilenthill
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Unless you're a monk or nun, I would hazard a guess that all of us practise in 'fits and starts'... being Mindful AND dedicated 24/7 is a task that personally, I cannot sustain, even with the best will in the world. I still find myself occasionally thinking wrong thoughts, saying wrong words and doing wrong things.
    My entire life is a series of "hang on"s... I'm constantly having to rein myself in check, and re-formatting the experience I'm processing...
    I'm wading through a particularly deep lagoon of excrement at the moment and holding my head above the water is a challenge in Mindfulness itself.
    I'm questioning every single micro baby-step I'm taking and let me tell you, it ain't easy.
    But it can be done....

    Because even if we're not as mindful as we perhaps could be, it still IS at the 'back of our Mind' that there is a right way, and a wrong way, to go....

    lobsterkarastiVastmind
  • @karasti said: Sometimes, I feel anxiety that my practice isn't scheduled, that I am not doing seated meditation as much. But it seems to happen yearly and I come back in the fall and do great all the rest of the year. Does anyone else get this waxing and waning and not stress about it?

    I've been doing this shit for 35 years now, and yes, it's familiar story. Sometimes it feels like life is getting in the way of practice, but of course life is the practice.
    What helps me is knowing that I am part of a local sangha and a worldwide sangha, we all have the same shit to deal with really.

    karastiVastmind
  • howhow Veteran

    @Karasti

    My solution for me is to remind myself that only this one fleeting moment can ever be practiced within.
    It takes all my practice expectations, plans or judgements and reduces them down to "what practice does this one moment call for?."

    One moment I can handle.

    karastiVastmindDaozen
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @silver I had surgery a few years ago after dislocating my kneecap while bowling. I was told no high impact activities, but over the years the lack of activity has been worse than anything else. I do yoga as well, I don't know if that has healed my knee enough to be able to run on it again. It's been fine, not a single tweak, pain or swelling since I started running 10 weeks ago. I'm very cautious with it, sometimes more cautious than I really want to be, lol.

    Thanks, everyone. I create problems for myself. I go through a day and then think "I didn't meditate again." And it causes me anxiety to realize that, but of course I don't take that moment to meditate even for a few minutes. I get into the "I'll start again tomorrow" except tomorrow seems to last 4 months, LOL. Summer really is a time of chaos for me in more ways than one. I think other things would go better if I stuck to my practice (which seems to be the case the rest of the year) but the more I get away from it, the more crazy my life gets. I miss it's grounding properties. But yes, all of life is practice for sure, and I certainly don't expect to be perfect.

    I have a hard time bringing together all the things I know I need along with all the needs of our family, extended family and even pets. The amount of time I'd need in a day to meditate, study, do yoga, cook meals that are good for me, run/exercise...is more hours in the day than I have free especially in the summer. So some things end up on the waaaay back burner until there is less to manage when the kids are all in school.

    silver
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited August 2015

    @karasti .... I'm sorry.... why does it have to be an 'either/or' situation?
    Your daily routines (regular OR haphazard) could be the very practice you think you're skipping.
    Family, extended family, pets, cooking, running, yoga, washing up, cleaning the windows... are all opportunities for mindfulness.

    Just as winter is different to summer, so winter practice will be different to Summer practice. But it could all still be practice.

    "Now, I have to do ~such and such~ ....How mindfully can I actually do this?"

    Practice isn't seasonal. It's quotidian.
    But the good thing is, that - ANYTHING can be 'practice'.

    silvernakazcidkarastiVastmind
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @lobster said:
    “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”

    Bodhi Rumi

    Personally I am quite disciplined. I meditate daily.

    You mean that when the mind is disciplined there is no I/need to meditate daily?

    Ha ha ha. Very clever.

    @karasti said:
    When your practice wanes, do you embrace it and just go with whatever each day brings? or do you find a devotion and motivation to carry you through to sit (or whatever) whether you feel like it or not?

    Question:

    What does your son need? Do that.

    ;) .

    /Victor

    silverkarasti
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    My son just left to start his second year of college. I'm thrilled for him -- he's a high achiever -- but it's tough. Now I've left Colorado to start a new job in Indiana. I have a small apartment with a sleeping bag, a microwave, and a guitar. I'm throwing myself into this very intense new job. Interestingly, my meditation time and quality have increased!

    I think it comes and goes and you shouldn't worry about it. At some level, you're doing what you're supposed to do in the grand scheme. You'll be back. And you'll look at your time away as fulfilling in its own unique and important way.

    karastiVastmind
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    it doesn't have to be either or,I'm just a very routined person. My day revolves around my routine and I don't do well flying by the seat of my pants. If I'm going to meditate, I have to meditate daily, at pretty much the same time. I logically understand that all of life is practice, but when I am removed from "official" practice something is missing in my personal life. It's always there, in the back of my mind. But somewhere, so is algebra, and the more I don't do algebra, the more it's not part of my life, lol.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    I go through the same seasonal ebb and flow as well. After having gone through it several times I have confidence that the intensity will pick back up again in the winter and have learned not to worry about or beat myself up about getting lax during the busier warm months.

    It seems to me like letting go of the resistance and negative feelings about not practicing as much frees me up some to practice more when I do find the time or inspiration, there's not that "I'm not good enough so why bother feeling" that can wipe out positive motivation.

    The weather here in MN has been great this summer hasn't it?

    VastmindVictorious
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    I have no formal practice as such. I've tried to a few times but life just gets in the way.

    I don't give it any thought now, my Buddhism is there with me all the time and I am mindful in my daily life as much as reasonably possible. It's not something that switches off and I have to remember to switch it back on again. I expect it's the same for you.

    If sitting practice feels like something you need to do and that something is wrong if you don't find the time for it, what is it telling you that you need to do more of it? Ego? Like a thought that arises in meditation... acknowledge your concern about practice... then let it go.

    Buddhadragon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @person our summer has been fabulous! 90s is getting a bit warm for me, but I wish for it when it's February, so I don't complain. Really an all around nice summer, for once. Yes, I get the "why bother" worries sometimes too, though not as much as I used.

    I think I need to let go of my need for lists, lol. I have constant mental to-do lists and trying to juggle them all is just too much. One moment at a time.

  • @Lee82 said:
    I have no formal practice as such. I've tried to a few times but life just gets in the way.

    Indeed.

    The benefits of regular formal daily practice eventually become apparant. The life that gets away is over soon enough. Your advice can be examined in the manner presented. :)

    Buddhadragonyagr
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @karasti said:
    When your practice wanes, do you embrace it and just go with whatever each day brings? or do you find a devotion and motivation to carry you through to sit (or whatever) whether you feel like it or not? My renewed love of running (which I was told I shouldn't do and my bad knee feels better than ever since I started running in June) has been excellent for my thought process and relaxation. It is a moving mediation for me, so to speak. But I feel something is lacking again so clearly it is time to start sitting again.

    Personally, I have had a rather bittersweet summer in respect to my practice.

    On the one hand, my practice is my life. I don't separate one from the other.

    As you say, @karasti, I embrace what each day brings: I dwell in pure mindfulness, in the present moment, I meditate, I don't plan ahead... and the whole spring/summer has gone by with my newfound passion for walking meditation.
    Engaging with the elements, in a very Tibetan shamanic fashion.
    Being a city slicker, this sort of walking meditation has been a huge turning-point for me.

    But I have also been careless.
    I have let one of the precepts slip. I got sidetracked.
    I find myself in a samsaric situation beyond my control.
    Walking meditation has heightened my senses and I simply miscalculated consequences to certain actions.

    Sorry for not making sense, but I don't feel like going into details.
    Just to say that my practice is helping me fare through this strangely convulsive time.

    My practice is there when I need it the most.
    Not in the usual way, nor under its usual guise.
    But it is there.

  • robotrobot Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    But it is there.

    Damn those gardeners!

    Buddhadragon
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @karasti;

    I think we all go through this whether things are going in our favor or not.

    You likely can't see it but you are one of the most insightful posters here and have given me pause for thought more than once.

    silverlobsteryagrWalker
  • yagryagr Veteran

    Some days all my practice consists of is trying my best to be kind to all (including myself). Some days my best sucks, but it is my best. My results wax and wane, but not my practice.

    federica
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    My practise is very disjointed and "broken" atm. And if/when I stress out about it, all I do is get sick and feel even worse.

    So I am taking it one day at a time, I'd rather have one consistent day of practise than none at all. To help I play Buddhist chants on Spotify while I work. It's not much but it's helping me stay a bit more focused.

    _ /\ _

    Vastmind
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