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How long

I find when I meditate that at 30 minutes I feel good. My mind feels spacious and calm. At 45 I am starting to feel more restless and wanting to finish. At 1 hour I start to feel really crap, legs numb and over it. Maybe I should stop at 40 maximum. I know it's much about facing the difficult feelings and learning to sit with them but sometimes it's too overwhelming. Makes me feel sick and tired.

Comments

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    There's much merit in the idea of leaving feeling good. It will make you more likely to want to return and regularly returning is most important, ease with longer sitting can be allowed to come naturally.

    Spekter
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @Zania said:
    I find when I meditate that at 30 minutes I feel good. My mind feels spacious and calm. At 45 I am starting to feel more restless and wanting to finish. At 1 hour I start to feel really crap, legs numb and over it. Maybe I should stop at 40 maximum. I know it's much about facing the difficult feelings and learning to sit with them but sometimes it's too overwhelming. Makes me feel sick and tired.

    40 minutes is fine. Another option is sit-walk-sit, ie two shorter periods of sitting meditation with a short period of walking meditation in between.

    person
  • @Zania said:
    Makes me feel sick and tired.

    Yuk!
    Not even healthy.
    40 mins is optimum for me. It is also apparently the time we can focus, before we need a break.

    I am doing an hour at the moment in one sit. Really because the timer is set for that and the discipline is good. Interestingly I find the agitation, unrest and desire to finish very instructive.

    @person said:
    There's much merit in the idea of leaving feeling good. It will make you more likely to want to return and regularly returning is most important, ease with longer sitting can be allowed to come naturally.

    Agreed. No pain, no gain is only useful so far. You have to learn to be responsive or instructed. For example our pet resident soon to be monk, @Jayantha I am sure can offer ideas and appropriate teachings for Theravadins by private post ... That is his job. Check first of course.

  • If you insist on stretching your time spent in meditation until you're irritated, or cramped and trying to sit through pain, your mind/body will come to dread meditation instead of anticipating it. Some people do think of meditation practice as like any exercise program, "no pain no gain" and the object is to run longer or lift heavier weights. Using this metaphor, unless you're pushing your limits, you're not getting anywhere.

    But you also have to remember that most people who get a gym membership stop coming after a few months, and it's even worse for people who get a home exercise bike or machine. The basements and thrift stores are full of exercise equipment gathering dust. Because exercise seen as painful work can't beat the mind's tendency to avoid boring, painful chores.

    You might be different. A few people can't wait to hit that treadmill at home after they get off work. But if you're doing home meditation, there's nothing wrong with keeping it enjoyable. You mind will naturally extend that window as it becomes comfortable doing nothing. That's my particular advice to people starting home mediation. Better 15 good minutes a day, than a half hour done once in a while.

    personlobsterShoshin
  • @Cinorjer said:
    If you insist on stretching your time spent in meditation until you're irritated, or cramped and trying to sit through pain, your mind/body will come to dread meditation instead of anticipating it. Some people do think of meditation practice as like any exercise program, "no pain no gain" and the object is to run longer or lift heavier weights. Using this metaphor, unless you're pushing your limits, you're not getting anywhere.

    But you also have to remember that most people who get a gym membership stop coming after a few months, and it's even worse for people who get a home exercise bike or machine. The basements and thrift stores are full of exercise equipment gathering dust. Because exercise seen as painful work can't beat the mind's tendency to avoid boring, painful chores.

    You might be different. A few people can't wait to hit that treadmill at home after they get off work. But if you're doing home meditation, there's nothing wrong with keeping it enjoyable. You mind will naturally extend that window as it becomes comfortable doing nothing. That's my particular advice to people starting home mediation. Better 15 good minutes a day, than a half hour done once in a while.

    Would you call approx 5 years twice daily "starting" though? Maybe in the grand scheme of things it is only the beginning. If I am to meditate for another 30-40 years, which is how much longer I hope to live, then it may be

  • Recently we had someone advocating a daily practice of one minute meditation. Frankly I still think that is ridiculous. However I regularly do one minutes worth on top of a regular practice. Five minutes daily is in my opinion a practice. You have sufficient time to settle, explore, calm etc.

    I try to loosen all progress and regularly add or subtract (modify). I go through heaven, hell, emotions, boredom, nirvana, samsara, disturbance, drifting, ficus focus and cod possession, tantric style ...

    Mind - what a ride ...

    namarupa
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @Zania if you have been having negative feelings about it for a long time, changing your practice and getting different results may well feel like "starting" all over again. Just because we do something the same for a long time doesn't mean it's still the best way, or that we're getting the best results that way. After learning how to fold clothes from my mom 30+ years ago, I changed how I did it recently. Amazing. Instead of being frustrated by the same little things (fitted sheets? Are you kidding me? Ball them up and throw them in the closet!) I now have a better process that means not only do I not despise folding laundry anymore, but I almost enjoy it.

  • @Zania said:

    @Cinorjer said:
    If you insist on stretching your time spent in meditation until you're irritated, or cramped and trying to sit through pain, your mind/body will come to dread meditation instead of anticipating it. Some people do think of meditation practice as like any exercise program, "no pain no gain" and the object is to run longer or lift heavier weights. Using this metaphor, unless you're pushing your limits, you're not getting anywhere.

    But you also have to remember that most people who get a gym membership stop coming after a few months, and it's even worse for people who get a home exercise bike or machine. The basements and thrift stores are full of exercise equipment gathering dust. Because exercise seen as painful work can't beat the mind's tendency to avoid boring, painful chores.

    You might be different. A few people can't wait to hit that treadmill at home after they get off work. But if you're doing home meditation, there's nothing wrong with keeping it enjoyable. You mind will naturally extend that window as it becomes comfortable doing nothing. That's my particular advice to people starting home mediation. Better 15 good minutes a day, than a half hour done once in a while.

    Would you call approx 5 years twice daily "starting" though? Maybe in the grand scheme of things it is only the beginning. If I am to meditate for another 30-40 years, which is how much longer I hope to live, then it may be

    That's an admirable meditation practice. Why would you want to mess with something that is working so well for you? Do you think 30 or 40 minute meditation sessions are lightweight? I assure you, they are not.

    Do you do anything else in your Buddhist practice? Some Metta training, perhaps? How would you say, overall, your practice is going?

  • 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 September 2016

    @Zania, To find out how much of a habit/chore your Meditation has become (as opposed to something you look forward to with pleasure) - stop doing it. Completely.

    Then examine the feeling that arises.
    Is it guilt? A sense of obligation? A notion that you 'should' be doing it?

    And how do those emotions arise? Do they make you feel uncomfortable? Uneasy? Guilty? A feeling of hollowness in the pit of your stomach?

    Try it.
    Determine to NOT sit and meditate, for a week. Abstain altogether.
    Leave it be.
    Avoid it and omit it.

    Then, after a week, re-evaluate what you would be happy, serene, and comfortable returning to.
    Because habits can become addictions.

    And if you feel that after so long, you are not achieving what you assumed, hoped or thought you would - then you are not meditating.You are feeding a habit of intention.
    And no more.

    BunksDavid
  • @lobster said:> Recently we had someone advocating a daily practice of one minute meditation. Frankly I still think that is ridiculous.

    Sheer luxury! We had to meditate 26 hours a day standing on our heads in a crocodile infested swamp. :p

    Bunks
  • 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 had crocodiles?? Luxury!

    lobster
  • What a ride ...

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

    @Zania

    Have you thought about changing your position ? Remember 'Lotus' 'Half lotus' 'Quarter lotus' 'Burmese Style' 'Knelling/Seiza' 'Straight back chair sitting' or 'Lying down'...

    For quite a few years I sat either quarter lotus or Burmese style, then a few months back @how (whom I haven't seem around for a while-I hope all is well @how :) ) mentioned the seiza/kneeling position and gave some good tips for how to kneel ... since then I seiza during the week days and quarter lotus or Burmese style on the weekends ...

    A change is as good as a holiday ,,,,so they say :)

    And in regard to how long one should sit....how long is a piece of string ??? When you have found the answer to this ...then that's how long one should sit for...( you may find YAMV :) ).

  • How long?

    A way to look at it is that once you know how it doesn't really matter how long. Like swimming for example, it doesn't matter how long you can stay afloat. As long as you know how, you can make use of it. So what is most important is can we be seated long enough for actual meditation to begin, or are we still struggling with posture, focus, etc.

    Shoshin
  • @Zania said:
    I find when I meditate that at 30 minutes I feel good. My mind feels spacious and calm. At 45 I am starting to feel more restless and wanting to finish. At 1 hour I start to feel really crap, legs numb and over it. Maybe I should stop at 40 maximum. I know it's much about facing the difficult feelings and learning to sit with them but sometimes it's too overwhelming. Makes me feel sick and tired.

    <3

    Due to circumstances I can not presently do two half hour sits per day. Things may change.

    Maybe stop and finish off with a healthy twenty minutes of walking meditation as suggested.

    I have never found meditation difficult. Rather I do meditation to create difficulties. In other words meditation is a way to unfold/reveal and ultimately overcome obstacles/impediments. However such an approach may not be suitable for every temprament.

    My sense is that bottling up or stubborn suffering imposition can be the mistaken belief that the spiritual path must be constrictive rather than disciplined in a helpful way ...

  • @namarupa said: Like swimming for example, it doesn't matter how long you can stay afloat.

    It does if you're out of your depth. ;)

    namarupa
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