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Buddhist time management

Hello, I haven’t been here for a while. Busy life and poor health have impacted on my practice and learning.

Which leads me into my heading - when I need my Buddhism the most (when I have a busy and stressful job, when I’m sick) I seem to give it the least attention. When I have health, time and space to practice freely, that’s when I read, interact, meditate.

How do you maintain YOUR practice when you’re busy, or down in the dumps, or sick ?



  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran
    edited November 11

    That’s a little difficult. When last I was under that kind of time pressure I was not yet practicing Buddhism, but I did have other life habits that I wouldn’t compromise on, like my fitness regime. Three days a week I would come into the office at 9.30 am, leave at about 6.30 pm, and then I’d head for the gym which was in the same business park and I would spend a good hour and a half exercising, strength training, and a bit of swimming and jacuzzi to unwind. Often I wouldn’t be home before 8.30 pm.

    So I think I would treat Buddhism the same way, by creating a regular space for it in my schedule.

    Then I became ill and both work and fitness suffered an extended lapse…

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    I do know that the Dalai Lama likes to get up very early and does his meditating then, when he is fresh from a nights rest. Perhaps that is something to consider.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    It is an interesting question which has perhaps as many answers as any of us have moments to practice within.
    My own practice is within Soto Zen and is meditation based. The basis for my own time management in Buddhism is pretty much about learning how to access the oasis of my formal meditation when living in the worldly experiences of demanding deliberations.

    Organizing and keeping to a schedule for when I will formally sit each day is the key to doing this. If one only meditates when one feels like it, you only soften the habituated responses to phenomena that apply to that same limited state of mentality. If instead you prioritize your life to formally meditate at a specific time each day, regardless of whether you want to or not, then you can learn how to soften the habituated responses to the phenomena that apply to the much wider range of possible mentalities that are more representative of a daily life.

    Currently, I formally sit with a few friends on zoom twice a day for 30 minutes. We pretty much just plug in, sit, smile & wave at each other and then depart but I find that this Sangha connection in these Covid days, helps to remind me that this practice is not just about me.


  • AlexAlex UK Veteran

    Thanks @Jeroen and @how most helpful. I think a disciplined routine is my best bet, which is probably contrary to my spontaneous nature, but perhaps that’s no bad thing.

    @how is your Zazen session still open for folks to join ?

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Hey Alex
    Yes. It's just a room within zoom so there is no waiting to be let in. You can just let yourself in & out when you wish, and whether your arriving or leaving is late or early, if its done quietly, is totally your business. I ring a bell to start the sitting at 7:00 AM and end them at 7:30 AM. The second sitting goes from 10:00 PM to 10:30 PM. If you have some dominant noise conditions from your side then you should mute your end of the call during the active sitting, to respect the sitting space that others are sharing in. Occasionally somebody might stay after the sitting to chat but because this is a free zoom program, this room will arbitrarily shut down at 7:45AM & 10:45PM.
    I think the UK is 8 hours behind these PST time zones.
    Message me if you want the zoom room ID

  • How do you maintain YOUR practice when you’re busy, or down in the dumps, or sick ?

    I practice practicing. Always.
    I was on one @how zoom meeting for a month or so. Excellent disciplined time focussed meet.

    At the moment (I constantly modify formal sitting) I don't use a cushion, nor did the Buddha as far as I know. I usually do this in the middle of the night. That sitting on the floor capacity comes from my daily exercise practice which includes yoga. I also find very quiet mantra chanting helpful. So this is mind, body, speech training.

    It is not just mind which needs attending to … or we might say 'All is Mind'.

  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran
    edited November 13

    I would say that it is good to accept certain "flexibility" with your meditation practice. For example, I meditate in the morning at an unspecified time, but it must be done before breakfast.

    A specific time / boundary is very important and very helpful however. When I meditated with How it boosted my practice so much that it helped me to continue developing and maintaining it on my own. Therefore, to get back in track -or to begin with from scratch- I do agree a specific time helps considerably. It also points out and guides you into considering WHY didn't you meditate as agreed. It could help you to focus on those "obstacles" or "excuses". Shoshin pointed out something very important which is to go beyond the practice in your daily life as life is not just sitting, but just sitting does calibrate and help you to pay better attention... maybe meditation is like those "CC Cleaners" we run on our PCS to smoothen their operations.

    .....but what is that that needs to be polished when there is nothing nor no one polishing? Zen stare

    Have a great day and good health @Alex !

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 14

    How do you maintain YOUR practice when you’re busy, or down in the dumps, or sick ?

    I practice not being busy. I practice in the middle of the dump (we are always surrounded by rubbish) and life is a form of sickness …

    Despite this and strangely enough I am never too busy to be alive. Existence is fun as the Buddha maybe forgot to mention in The NT1 (Nobel Prizeless Unwon Truth)

    The question is when people say practice, they don't mean 'life as practice' that @Shoshin1 mentions but a sort of stolid duty of sitting.

    Why not visualise yourself sitting whilst busy?

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