Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Public Meditation

Occasionally I come across public meditators.

  • Meditating with Wombles on Wimbledon Common
  • Saluting the Sun on Tooting Common
  • Performing Tai Chi practically everywhere
  • Sitting contemplatively, like this Zennith

Based on this guys mudra, posture and extreme sangha-hair-styling, he has been instructed in the Zen tradition. This was quite a busy area along the London banks of the Thames. I think his eyes were closed but the shades made this uncertain. Just caught him by telephoto before he checked his watch and finished off. Another Buddhist returning more centred. Iz plan.

Rather than mindfulness which is not so formal, do you or have you meditated in public? Any tips?

I have but tend more to the Taoist/dzogchen method, which is even less conspicuous: eyes open, head moves around to contemplate the external sense gate ... People do associate a ground seated lotus or Burmese posture with meditation. So this guy was practically unnoticeable, just formal chillin' by the river ...

BoruBunksherberto
«1

Comments

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    Cool.
    No, I don't have these opportunities, or temptations.
    It felt weird the first time I meditated in a formal group.

  • 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

    You don't have any opportunity, at all, during the day, to merely 'shut down the babble and be Present'...? At all?

    Or you just don't remember to, or think about doing it?
    (this isn't an attack or challenge, I'm just questioning....)

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    I could of course create opportunities.
    And maybe this guy did. Maybe he planned to travel to the river, sit on the bench, meditate in that setting, then return. But I prefer to conjure that he was already in that location and took extemporaneous advantage of an available bench, available mood, and available time.

  • 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

    Oh, right. I was under the impression that you were responding to my post. Apologies, my bad.

    I also very rarely have the occasion to do as he seems to be doing, but from my own personal PoV, I don't wait until an opportunity comes to me. I seek the opportunity, and I personally, can find it several times a day.

    Peaceful ambience not a prerequisite....

    Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 2016

    I am making a very subtle distinction between 'mindfulness' and meditation. In some ways mindfulness is a 'formal attentiveness', a choice from mundane to perhaps initially just a shadow of Buddha Mind ...

    I understand the strangeness of formal group practice. Even solo practice in a chair can seem strange. In essence it is not.

    I have heard some meditation teachers say you should not meditate whilst sitting on public transport or in 'the midst of life'. As someone who meditates in the hell realms for light relief, I find such advice dubious.

    Another great pose is the Buddha reclining meditation posture. Back is bent in that one, what will the dharma police say ... :p

    I think shades are a tip, the guy in the pic was using glasses with photochromic lenses. I was once chillin'/meditating with eyes closed on a bench. A drunk thought I was an easy target, until my eyes opened much to his consternation ... Be vigilant, there are unhelpful forces out there ... So you have to be/feel safe.

    KeromeRuddyDuck9
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    For some reason that gave me an image of the corpulent Buddha in the mudflap girl pose. Probably time to set down the iPhone now.

    federica
  • BoruBoru Explorer
    edited June 2016

    Yesterday I went to a local pharmacy to pick something up and forgot that it closes for lunch. Re-opening was 20 minutes away and I forgot to bring my kindle with me which I sometimes do. So I sat in my car and meditated. Eyes open in case anyone passing thought/knew I was a bit mad. Instead of time that could potentially be wasted, I took the opportunity to seek inner peace o:)

    Bunkslobsteryagr
  • @lobster said: So this guy was practically unnoticeable, just formal chillin' by the river ...

    I'm convinced this is why fishing is such a popular hobby, it's an excuse to get some quality quiet time.

    lobsterRuddyDuck9herberto
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ^^^ Well said @SpinyNorman, exactly so. I am as a lobster, distressed by the idea of sport fishing. Catch and eat or don't use a hook as my Buddhist Karate teacher practiced ...

    Good tip. Use a prop. Fishing rod, book, sunscreen etc.

    RuddyDuck9herberto
  • I take large binoculars and pose as a naturalist. I mostly look out to sea for seals and porpoises and mermaids and such, people sometimes think I'm a birdwatcher and ask me if I've seen a lesser-spotted something or other, I just say "no" because I have no idea what they are referring to. I must learn more birds! :p

    lobsterRuddyDuck9Swaroopherberto
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Good tips, note to self, do more public meditating!

    I am usually doing something when I am out and about - cycling or walking for the exercise, trip to a museum, out shopping. So I'm usually moving with purpose, and my home is the place where I meditate, often when I come back.

  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    I'm always too scared and self conscious to do med. in public. So I usually end up hiding in the bathroom. :blush:

  • 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

    @RuddyDuck9 you can always pretend to be reading a book... focus on one word, and repeat it to yourself, mentally....

    RuddyDuck9herberto
  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    How to escape the tyranny of the mobile phone?

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

    Use your cell for emergencies and to-do/shop lists.
    People make great servants to their mobile phones if they let them.

    Swaroop
  • 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

    @Swaroop said:
    How to escape the tyranny of the mobile phone?

    Try the 'off' switch....

    silverSwarooplobsteryagr
  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Swaroop said:
    How to escape the tyranny of the mobile phone?

    Try the 'off' switch....

    There are plenty of people in my circle who would raise an alarm if they find my phone switched off.

  • @Swaroop said:> How to escape the tyranny of the mobile phone?

    Put it in a bucket of water. :p

    silverfedericaSwaroop
  • 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

    @Swaroop said:

    @federica said:

    @Swaroop said:
    How to escape the tyranny of the mobile phone?

    Try the 'off' switch....

    There are plenty of people in my circle who would raise an alarm if they find my phone switched off.

    That's what we all think....!

    Idea:
    If you first of all inform people that your 'phone will be switched off for a period of time between ~this~ and ~that~ o'clock, then there won't be any need for panic.

    Swaroop
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    The mind is observed all the time...force of habit...even when "I" might think it is not :)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 2016

    @Steve_B said:
    I could of course create opportunities.

    Indeed. You could. <3

    And maybe this guy did. Maybe he planned to travel to the river, sit on the bench, meditate in that setting, then return. But I prefer to conjure that he was already in that location and took extemporaneous advantage of an available bench, available mood, and available time.

    My feeling is the sit was a planned break. Unfortunately I was busy, otherwise I might have asked.
    Yes advantage can be taken as @federica mentions, of a return to mindfulness. However I am referring here to public meditation, not mindfulness. In part to stress a useful practice opportunity and difference.

    Incidentally we are not seeking 'inner peace' in meditation [sorry for the spoiler alert] that is just an oft reported side effect ...

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @Kerome walking is a great opportunity to meditate. Even running is, especially trail running which require a lot of single pointed focus otherwise the focus will be your face on a rock, lol. Instead of being in a hurry and walking with "purpose" slow down and do walking meditation, even just for a short while of your walk. It's good stuff. (there are lots of youtube videos if you need pointers).

    I am grateful to be able to take these moments often. I like when others take those obvious moments of serenity. Silence is a gift, it shouldn't be broken unless it's important.

  • IchLiebteIchLiebte US Veteran

    Once I was on campus and it was 100F out and my anxiety was skyrocketing. People were everywhere. I was overwhelmed. So. I sat down on the sidewalk (not in anyone's way), got into lotus on top of my bag in the middle of the day, stared, and breathed. I also held a small rock to help keep me grounded. It's actually one of my best memories... Yeah, you can just chill like that guy, but I feel better in lotus. Just do what's comfortable.

  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Swaroop said:

    @federica said:

    @Swaroop said:
    How to escape the tyranny of the mobile phone?

    Try the 'off' switch....

    There are plenty of people in my circle who would raise an alarm if they find my phone switched off.

    That's what we all think....!

    Idea:
    If you first of all inform people that your 'phone will be switched off for a period of time between ~this~ and ~that~ o'clock, then there won't be any need for panic.

    That I do. I'm talking about the spur of the moment unscheduled meditation like the guy @lobster clicked.

  • 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

    Oh goodness me, you mean to say that there would be serious panic all round, and the world would grind to a halt for those around you - if you were off limits for just 5 minutes - ?!

    Swaroop
  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    @federica point taken. I should remember to take myself less seriously. Thanks

  • Trent26Trent26 USA New

    Its not that easy for everyone.

  • ShimShim Veteran

    I do sit in public (not in lotus or cross-legged or anything though) and I did even when I strongly identified as NON-buddhist (a huge emphasis on the non-part).
    Some friends make some remarks about it but nothing serious, maybe they just assume I'm taking a power nap or maybe they think it's obvious that I meditate (somehow people seem to assume that).
    Sports people do that for focus, productive people do that for produce more, it is (usually) nothing special anymore to sit with eyes closed for a while in our busy world. It does take some guts at the first time though... (But don't believe me, I'm a laughing stock anyway!)

    RuddyDuck9
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I am sure I recognize that sangha ^^. Are they tantrists? o:)

    RuddyDuck9ShoshinSwaroop
  • I tried to see if I could meditate while looking casual. It was too difficult to do, and the distractions at the shopping center was overpowering, but actually still possible to do. I wouldn't recommend it and prefer regular seated meditation. The only good thing about the experience that I remember is that I was able to capture thoughts and notice the breath.

    RuddyDuck9
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 2016

    ^^. At a shopping mall (to use the americanism)? That is hardcore. I would tend towards 'mindfulness' in such a situation. Not recommended by me either. If we are a mega-yogi-zennith-type, the lines between mindfulness and meditation are interchangeable. For us lay types special-offer-distracted by our own mind in a settled environment ... choose outer peace if possible ...
    I mean these guys are missing out on 1000 points ... have they no eye for a bargain? ... I blame the teachers ... zen shopping? ... mmm ... might be plan ... The coffee cup might be a traditional updated fund raising prop ... mmm ... o:)

    RuddyDuck9
  • 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

    I'd sit and join them in a nanosecond...Close eyes, four...open them, five....

    herberto
  • @lobster said:> I mean these guys are missing out on 1000 points ... have they no eye for a bargain? ... I blame the teachers ... zen shopping? ... mmm ... might be plan ... The coffee cup might be a traditional updated fund raising prop ... mmm ... o:)

    They need Big Issue and dog-on-a-string, :p

    Travellerlobster
  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    Nearly right @SpinyNorman its a three legged dog on a string called spliff or giro.

    DairyLama
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Rather than mindfulness which is not so formal, do you or have you meditated in public?

    If I have to take my car over to the city on the early car ferry , I sit in quarter lotus position in my car and meditate for most of the 50 minute trip over... I carry a cushion in the car...I've been doing this for years...However I only go over on the car ferry once every couple of months....

    Plus during the summer, on the odd occasion I might meditate on the beach in between swims and reading...but then I'm weird like that...

    Umm so I guess I do meditate in public on the odd occasion ...

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    I got some very cool instruction in walking meditation, once; after explaining it, the instructor took the group outside to walk around the college campus where our event was held, following after him in a line. It was done in such a way that if you were walking down the street on your own, no one would know you were doing anything unusual.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    It was done in such a way that if you were walking down the street on your own, no one would know you were doing anything unusual.

    Should I not be wearing my unusual T-shirt? o:)

    Meditation for show, progress or being? M m m ... can't decide ... ;)

    herberto
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    I am still too self conscious to meditate in public. Sort of reminds me of that part of the bible that tells us not to pray on the streetcorners and whatnot. Not that the Christian Bible applies to me in and of itself, but I agree with not making a circus act out of things. I've always preferred to be as subtle as possible. I know you can meditate without being obvious, but it's always obvious to me. (Here's where my anxiety kicks in.) Ex: why is that person sleeping? is she okay? is she dead? should I say something? Is anyone watching this? what if someone steals her bag while she is not looking?

    lobsterherberto
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I know you can meditate without being obvious, but it's always obvious to me.

    Tee hee! Not laughing at the social anxiety but ...

    You iz practicing to be ninja Buddha? ;)

    I sometimes go down the street radiating metta, equinimity, extreme Buddha mindfulness and general purpose goodwill and wonderfulness. Do you think anyone but me notices or benefits that much?

    When I become a mahasiddha it will probably be much the same ... O.o

    RuddyDuck9Swaroopherberto
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    Funnily enough, I was at a group meditation yesterday and (okay it was inside, so not public, but this corresponds to my problems meditating in public) there were only maybe 9 of us (auspicious personal lucky number!! :chuffed: ) but they were all new folks to me, so it was just like being in public, except we were all strangers together I suppose. Anyhow, every time someone coughed, or hit a singing bowl, or spoke I nearly had a kitten. Totally jarred me out of my zone. :tongue: It's funny now, but at the time I was thinking shaddup, I'm meditating, here! :awesome: The cool thing was that once he let us all drift together in silent med, without input or other noise, I really got deep into my zone. It was pretty neato. I dunno if I was feeding off everyone else's metta, but it was great. And then when our hour was over and he hit the singing bowl again I had another kitten. :surprised:

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 2016

    If you thinks about it, public meditation is like exposing one 'self' in public.... :)

    Steve_B
  • Be very careful...there are laws regarding exposing one's self in public.
    Seriously, though, in the current political circus I find myself doing a lot of meditation in public places..... :3

    ShoshinSwaroop
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    The cool thing was that once he let us all drift together in silent med, without input or other noise, I really got deep into my zone. It was pretty neato. I dunno if I was feeding off everyone else's metta, but it was great.

    :)
    Drift, zone, great ... three words I took from your experience. Hopefully what I am about to say will be useful ... :)

    Most of us including me, often during 'formal meditation', go into a mild trance, altered state of awareness etc. In other words we have a preferred 'calm', silent, non agitated state of being. A 'having a kitten free' mind state ... There is a less suffering component present ... so useful to us. Is it temporary and of course conditional? For me it often can be ...

    What is the dukkha of before, after and during meditation, if not potential mindfulness? The coughs, bells and daily life part of awareness and mindful 'kitten having' attention - is that meditation too? For me it can be ...

    @federica describes this 'attending the moment' during public being. It is an entering and ideally a non leaving ...

    @federica said:
    I meditate all the time, and nobody realises it. The 'bursts' are short, and I guess I must just look 'contemplative', maybe. I don't close my eyes, I tend to practise 'seeing without commentary' type meditation....

    Is that more mindful? Is that more attentive? Is that useful? Just increased mindfulness spurred on by formal being/sitting?

    RuddyDuck9Swaroop
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    So many layers of meditation to be had.... it's like the table at my local shopping mall where the Mennonite ladies sell their home-made baked goods.... I want them all!! But I must be patient and have only one at a time. :pleased:

    lobster
  • I like to sit on rocks and watch the waves breaking. I take binoculars as a prop so passers-by will assume I am a bird-watcher. Though actually when you sit quietly by the sea for a while, the wildlife tends to find you anyway. Well, apart from seagulls, because I don't take a bag of chips with me!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @namarupa said:
    I tried to see if I could meditate while looking casual. It was too difficult to do, and the distractions at the shopping center was overpowering, but actually still possible to do. I wouldn't recommend it and prefer regular seated meditation.

    Understood. It requires a bit of baking. :)

    A Tantrist might visualise themselves, their guru, or a Yidam meditating. That stops the need to adopt the full lotus inside or outside McDonalds. A more breath centred, vipassana or practice like @federica describes, does not entail 'looking like a meditator', moderator, mind monitor or ultra-spiritual dharmaist ... No need to adopt the pose ...

    @federica said:
    I meditate all the time, and nobody realises it. The 'bursts' are short, and I guess I must just look 'contemplative', maybe. I don't close my eyes, I tend to practise 'seeing without commentary' type meditation....

    The important aspects are awareness, attention and mindfulness (refer to cushion time for tips). Outer repose not so necessary ...

    RuddyDuck9
  • @lobster said:> The important aspects are awareness, attention and mindfulness

    Sorry, what were you saying? :p

    But seriously, I think the challenge is staying with that awareness, or at least returning to it on a regular basis.

    lobsterSwaroop
  • ZaniaZania Explorer
    edited August 2016

    I dont like to meditate in cross legged pose in public. I prefer to go in stealth mode i.e. I will do it on a bench or maybe lying down with sunglasses and a hat so people aren't aware what Im doing and just think Im grabbing some sun or resting. Not sure why I do this. I think maybe I feel a bit self conscious.

    RuddyDuck9
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.