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Subtle meditation changes

I have always changed my sitting meditation according to circumstances:

For example brewing a green tea to sip periodically for a while ...

Other examples:

  • not using a cushion at the moment
  • changing my breath to gentle nasal only breathing
  • facing another direction when sitting
  • eyes closed at moment, usually changes if natural light is around

Once a practice is established, subtle changes, for example hands on knees can have vast 'benefits'. As I follow a 'just sit' model, perhaps these subtleties are too drastic?

Comments

  • 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
    • When am I NOT Meditating? *
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 19

    I would suggest most of the time @federica you are not engaged in sitting meditation. I guess you know mindfulness is not the same as formal sitting ...

    In a similar way walking meditation is not the same as going for a walk.

    However as you are always meditating, perhaps you have insights or techniques that are useful to us more traditional 'just sit' types? I for one need all the inspiration I can find ... B)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @lobster said:
    I have always changed my sitting meditation according to circumstances:

    For example brewing a green tea to sip periodically for a while ...

    Other examples:

    • not using a cushion at the moment
    • changing my breath to gentle nasal only breathing
    • facing another direction when sitting
    • eyes closed at moment, usually changes if natural light is around

    Once a practice is established, subtle changes, for example hands on knees can have vast 'benefits'. As I follow a 'just sit' model, perhaps these subtleties are too drastic?

    I find it's good to vary the method and experiment, there is always more to discover and it's easy to get "into a rut" if you stick rigidly to one technique. Eyes open or closed is well worth playing around with in my experience, it can change the feel of the practice quite a bit.

    lobster
  • The eyes thing:

    When I first started a regular practice with others, the eyes focused on a spot on the floor did not suit, unless on my own. I regularly kept my eyes straight ahead without a particular focus as is done in some dzogchen. Last year I did about two weeks of gently staring upward for one reason and another ... very different. Eyes closed I have to be very wary of ... being more than able to fall asleep sitting up.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @lobster said:
    The eyes thing:

    When I first started a regular practice with others, the eyes focused on a spot on the floor did not suit, unless on my own. I regularly kept my eyes straight ahead without a particular focus as is done in some dzogchen. Last year I did about two weeks of gently staring upward for one reason and another ... very different. Eyes closed I have to be very wary of ... being more than able to fall asleep sitting up.

    Yes, I meditated with eyes wide open for some years in a Dzogchen school, it felt odd meditating with eyes closed again after that experience. Pros and cons really, it's worth experimenting with though.
    With eyes open there is the option of using a visual object, maybe a candle flame, maybe a kasina like a coloured disc, or maybe just a blank wall.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Hand mudra's is another thing I have found to have a significant influence on my meditation. Worth a try if you are looking at ways of varying your practice.

    dhammachick
  • Thanks guys. <3

    Yes mudra can be a consideration for me too. Fortunately the hands up on knees type mudra is not something I have need for presently. My teacher used this quite naturally during every day mindfulness. It is common in yogic meditation but I prefer hands down on knees or if using a cushion a more traditional lap based mudra.

    Occasionally will use more involved mudra during chanting, perhaps using single finger movement sequences to synchronise or prayer type mudras, tantric mudra etc.

    I have put the insight timer back on my system but find the process too convoluted. So may not be re using this time.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I have changed to diaphragm breathing (awareness in the hara) am breathing in and out through the nose. Previously had been breathing out through the mouth. My cushions (actually two old memory foam pillows with a sandwich of garden kneeler) is back. Been doing a lot of guided meditations/hypnosis inductions from youtube to complement my seated efforts. Not as much mantra - maybe once a week it arises for a while.

    Full-time mindfulness is kicking in again. Onward ...

    How are others finding their practice time developing?

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    My general mindfulness has been improving but I've neglected to take some time for meditation. Thanks for the reminder!

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Yes, I meditated with eyes wide open for some years in a Dzogchen school, it felt odd meditating with eyes closed again after that experience. Pros and cons really, it's worth experimenting with though.
    With eyes open there is the option of using a visual object, maybe a candle flame, maybe a kasina like a coloured disc, or maybe just a blank wall.

    I spent a year meditating with a Dzogchen sangha and meditating with open eyes and breathing through the mouth felt definitely strange.
    My eyes focused on a Guru Rinpoche thangka in front of my eyes, through a wafting incense burner.
    There were moments when maybe due to the tiny strain of getting used to this new style, I had the impression that Guru Rinpoche moved.

    Anyway, I have not really changed my meditation position down the years.
    Sitting cross-legged or in half-lotus, eyes closed, gyan mudra for the hands, mug of green tea within reach...
    I need to have my mug nearby, even though I never actually drink during meditation.
    But I need to drink as soon as I finish...

    lobsterHozan
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 4

    Very interesting @DhammaDragon
    I have meditated with green tea present ... and I do sip mindfully when it is there ...
    Gyan mudra, too open/yogic for me BUT it was used informally by my teacher in an even more extreme openness, as mentioned. He rarily engaged in any formal practice but rather constant mindfulness. He would sit with palms open and up whenever possible ...

    I love the vajrayana Guru Rinpoche practice. It took me ages to learn the 7 line mantra, which I love.
    Here is the last mantra I learned on my retreat featured here:

    We Iz Buddha! No more, no less ...

    DhammaDragon
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @lobster @DhammaDragon the giving up of coffee and switch to green tea has been a revelation to me. Thank you both for your input in the Coffee?? thread. I find I have just as much energy without any of the negative coffee side effects. I need to be more disciplined in my approach to meditation posture.

    DhammaDragon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Hand mudra's is another thing I have found to have a significant influence on my meditation. Worth a try if you are looking at ways of varying your practice.

    Indeed.
    For example gasho/namaste/prayer hands is rarely taught for sitting mediation but a very interesting devotional mudra that requires shoulder relaxation and brings attention to the metta/heart chakra. It is used in Tantra during any receptive phase such as receving teaching or devotionally.

    Anyone try Vajrapradama Mudra?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I have started practicing pranayama before I meditate. I quite enjoy the clearing of my head, and it helps with my allergies too. Alternate nostril breathing type (there are several types, I don't have my yoga book with the fancy names for it on hand though). I have stopped using props (and mostly all furniture except our bed and the dinner chairs, which are on tap to be gone as well before too long). I find I have an easier time with alignment while sitting on the floor but that has taken time and lots of yoga to get to. With a cushion my ankle actually get sore but not on the floor oddly. I also found I quite like meditating in yoga sphinx position. And outdoors when I am able. Particularly while sitting on large rocks.

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