If this site provides value to you and your practice, please consider donating a small amount to help with the hosting fees.
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: Awake Network Members' Practice

Awake Network Members' Practice 31 Aug 2019 16:11 #111515

I don't know if there's already a thread on this, but I couldn't find one.

What practices are people here actually into?

I generally like a few things:
- vipassana, in either a Mahasi or Shinzen style;
- bare awareness
- standing meditation (ritsu zen/zhan zhuang) and the slow movement exercises that follow from taikiken/yi quan
- sometimes concentration on the breath when I feel like I need better concentration.

Anyone else?
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ona Kiser, Kacchapa, Philip

Awake Network Members' Practice 31 Aug 2019 22:50 #111518

I'm doing a lot of Zhan Zhuang at the moment. It doesn't really feel like a practice- it's just standing, but it helps my knee and seems to give me energy and bring bliss.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Philip, Junglist, Zachary

Awake Network Members' Practice 01 Sep 2019 06:16 #111520

SigmaTropic wrote:
I'm doing a lot of Zhan Zhuang at the moment. It doesn't really feel like a practice- it's just standing, but it helps my knee and seems to give me energy and bring bliss.
Cool, how do you think your "just standing" might compare with "just sitting" à la shikantaza and similar practices?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Awake Network Members' Practice 01 Sep 2019 10:03 #111521

Junglist wrote:
SigmaTropic wrote:
I'm doing a lot of Zhan Zhuang at the moment. It doesn't really feel like a practice- it's just standing, but it helps my knee and seems to give me energy and bring bliss.
Cool, how do you think your "just standing" might compare with "just sitting" à la shikantaza and similar practices?

More painful if you fall asleep...
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Junglist

Awake Network Members' Practice 01 Sep 2019 11:11 #111522

Since pretty much the start of the year, my practice has been noting, Shinzen-style ("see, hear, feel"). It started by my having taken Jeff Warren's "21 day challenge" on the 10% Happier app. That got me mostly regular again, and I have been doing a lot of guided meditations on 10PH and Shinzen's Brightmind app since. I still tend to use guided meditations a lot, even knowing that I should probably do more on my own. But the Brightmind guidance in general is sparse at the advanced levels, so it more just keeps me on track. I sit almost everyone morning, for 20-30 minutes.

The Brightmind guidance also has other teachers (like Vince/Emily Horn) that teach their own thing, but I have not really like that too much and have been sticking to the core curriculum. That does, however, include other things besides noting, including a "do nothing" practice that I try from time to time but am challenged by.

I also try to either drop in to Jeff Warren's Live Stream group meditation "Do Nothing Project" on Sunday nights, or (more often), catch up one morning during the week of the recorded session. The styles there are varied but are, typically, more "awareness" based.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Philip, Junglist

Awake Network Members' Practice 02 Sep 2019 07:57 #111527

I think the best summary would be "trying to live the commandments and the precepts of the Church 24/7 in thought, word, and deed, as appropriate to my state in life" and where that is not succeeding, bringing appropriate exercises to the context (prayer, mental reminders, confession). Then in addition as time permits I do various devotional activities like going to daily Mass (Sunday is a precept, daily is optional), praying the rosary, praying the Divine Office, personal prayer (verbal or non-verbal), spiritual reading/study.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Philip, Junglist

Awake Network Members' Practice 02 Sep 2019 10:50 #111530

These days it tends to be:

- samatha/vipassana as described in 'Start Where You Are', which is basically being present on the outbreath, rest on the inbreath and just label distractions
- simple samatha to build up a base of concentration and then inquiry
- taking and sending (still a beginner at this)

I think the crazy-ass noting days are over :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Junglist

Awake Network Members' Practice 12 Sep 2019 00:09 #111568

I've also been doing Zhan Zhuang standing meditation as my primary practice, and have been since the beginning of the year. I've limited it to just the first two postures, "Standing Like a Tree" and "Holding the Balloon", as well as warming up with the Eight Silk Brocades.

I've found it immensely helpful in working with the subtle energy body and various blockages. I began doing it in order to smooth out some out-of-whack energy problems that emerged after practicing in unbalanced ways on a retreat and/or were possibly from a lifetime habit of dissociating from the area of body below the neck.

I've been working out Lam Kam-Chuen's "Way of Energy" and Mark Cohen's "Inside Zhan Zhuang".

I occasionally do seated mindfulness of breath as instructed by Thanissaro Bhikku and Ajahn Lee.

I've also been following the five precepts in a straightforward sense that I've found supportive to practice.
Last Edit: 12 Sep 2019 00:20 by Zachary.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Laurel Carrington, Junglist, Frank

Awake Network Members' Practice 13 Sep 2019 07:02 #111571

Zachary wrote:
I've also been doing Zhan Zhuang standing meditation as my primary practice, and have been since the beginning of the year. I've limited it to just the first two postures, "Standing Like a Tree" and "Holding the Balloon"

That's cool, I also basically only do the holding the balloon one. I also find it really beneficial to do some other exercises afterwards to maintain and carry the "energy" into movement, like this walking one: (can't find an English video, sorry :blush: ), in which you imagine pushing a wall or walking upstream submerged in a river. I usually have my hands a bit lower than the guy in the video though.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Zachary

Awake Network Members' Practice 13 Sep 2019 12:40 #111575

That looks wonderful, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to do it at this point because my feet wouldn’t take it. Maybe if i could lose about 50 pounds . . .
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Junglist

Awake Network Members' Practice 13 Sep 2019 12:42 #111576

These days my practice has been a gentle focus on the breath as an anchor, returning to it when I feel my mind beginning to wander. I will also move my awareness out to encompass my surroundings, or focus on bodily sensations, although I tend to prefer “feeling out” and “hearing out” to feeling or hearing in. It has the right balance between effort and relaxation, which is crucial for me at present.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Junglist

Awake Network Members' Practice 13 Sep 2019 16:07 #111578

Laurel Carrington wrote:
That looks wonderful, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to do it at this point because my feet wouldn’t take it. Maybe if i could lose about 50 pounds . . .

Weight loss is part of my practice, too, I guess. Forgot to mention that... :silly:
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Awake Network Members' Practice 25 Sep 2019 06:30 #111621

The focus of my practice has changed so often over the last years that it feels like I'm not able to come up with a definition of "my practice". I suspect there is some aversion happening, to commit fully, or maybe there's fear of not doing it right, or not being able to reap the fruits, eventually.

I went on a retreat in August and was asked to prepare an evening talk on anatta. Researching for this talk was fun, because I felt the need to ramp up my practice in this area, so more 3C, more not-me-not-mine, more exploration into nondual perception. Since then I've come back to a more shamatha-oriented practice, though, although with renewed interest for understanding what's left as stress when going through the jhanas. So in a sense I'm doing shamatha with mixed-in vipassana.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ona Kiser, Kacchapa

Awake Network Members' Practice 25 Sep 2019 08:44 #111623

Frank wrote:
The focus of my practice has changed so often over the last years that it feels like I'm not able to come up with a definition of "my practice". I suspect there is some aversion happening, to commit fully, or maybe there's fear of not doing it right, or not being able to reap the fruits, eventually.

I went on a retreat in August and was asked to prepare an evening talk on anatta. Researching for this talk was fun, because I felt the need to ramp up my practice in this area, so more 3C, more not-me-not-mine, more exploration into nondual perception. Since then I've come back to a more shamatha-oriented practice, though, although with renewed interest for understanding what's left as stress when going through the jhanas. So in a sense I'm doing shamatha with mixed-in vipassana.

Great to see you here Frank!
That's very interesting, that sounds really really similar to my practice, with the changing, the uncertainty of doing it right... Although I'm sure you have more experience than me.
You having to do a talk is interesting in that for me outside influences occasionally send practice in a particular direction, like having to take careful care of people around me might encourage some more diligent metta, or feeling scatterbrained, might make me do more concentration-type practices. I've never had the chance to go on retreat, and I've often thought that if I did, I could focus on whatever practice is taught there, but obviously that's never happened. In the end I often just seem to tend towards some sort of vipassana or shikantaza, with shamatha often occurring more naturally.

I haven't really come to any unwavering solutions to this, other than simply noticing the uncertainty when it arises, and doing some form of vipassana, although the exact nature of the technique I might use can vary. I'm also not sure if this is really even a problem, and perhaps just something that happens like other phenomena things at any insight stage.

The one thing that is clear to me is that however much my practice might have wavered, I would definitely say there has been very important progress. And thanks to, among others, some of the very good people here,
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Frank

Awake Network Members' Practice 25 Sep 2019 14:23 #111630

Junglist wrote:
You having to do a talk is interesting in that for me outside influences occasionally send practice in a particular direction, like having to take careful care of people around me might encourage some more diligent metta, or feeling scatterbrained, might make me do more concentration-type practices.

Awesome. It's so helpful to have dharma friends who have a knack for a particular technique or who are skilled in handling certain challenges which come up. I don't know how many hours I scoured DhO and AN and other sites for practical advice, but hearing it directly from someone is more effective.

It would be great if you had stories to share, e.g. about how to encourage others to do metta. Metta is sorely lacking from many people's practice. I don't want to start a gender discussion, but from my experience it's often men which have a hard time with it. Having said that, what's needed is often just one or two really engaging guided meditations and even the most hardboiled man starts to like it. Everybody wants to have an open heart.

I'm currently preparing a 2 day 1+1 mini-retreat - - a dharma friend was on the same retreat where I had the anatta talk. He approached me afterwards and asked if it was possible to have a couple of hours doing samadhi together; he felt his practice was a bit lacking in terms of piti/sukha. This is really a challenging engagement because I don't identify (and neither qualify) as teacher. On the other hand, I think I have something to share in this regard and should not let him doubt my abilities to help, as doubt is an anti-pattern for samadhi. That's going to be interesting, I am looking forward to that.

Junglist wrote:
I'm also not sure if this is really even a problem, and perhaps just something that happens like other phenomena things at any insight stage.

This is a good point, I agree. It's just that I sometimes wonder if I am susceptible to a special kind of "spiritual bypassing": avoiding going the full length because then there might not be much left to do afterwards. I really love meditating, thinking about the dharma, exploring, trial-and-error... I wouldn't mind if I never get to the other shore, even more so because I know that I've never left ;)

Junglist wrote:
The one thing that is clear to me is that however much my practice might have wavered, I would definitely say there has been very important progress. And thanks to, among others, some of the very good people here,

Yes, same here. A deepening, being more familiar with what's happening. I'm grateful for all the help I got, thanks for highlighting that.
Last Edit: 25 Sep 2019 14:25 by Frank. Reason: added whitespace
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Junglist

Awake Network Members' Practice 25 Sep 2019 15:51 #111632

Frank wrote:
Junglist wrote:
You having to do a talk is interesting in that for me outside influences occasionally send practice in a particular direction, like having to take careful care of people around me might encourage some more diligent metta, or feeling scatterbrained, might make me do more concentration-type practices.

Awesome. It's so helpful to have dharma friends who have a knack for a particular technique or who are skilled in handling certain challenges which come up. I don't know how many hours I scoured DhO and AN and other sites for practical advice, but hearing it directly from someone is more effective.

It would be great if you had stories to share, e.g. about how to encourage others to do metta. Metta is sorely lacking from many people's practice. I don't want to start a gender discussion, but from my experience it's often men which have a hard time with it. Having said that, what's needed is often just one or two really engaging guided meditations and even the most hardboiled man starts to like it. Everybody wants to have an open heart.

I don't know much about other people's meditation practice, but I can imagine what you mean.
Just to clarify, I meant it encourages me to do metta, rather than encourage other people to do it, but the stories are something along the lines of:
1. I have a shit day getting irritable and pissed off with my family. I think I could have handled whatever better, and I'd better do some metta. I notice I react more kindly, even in the face of irritating or nastier behaviour. I also find that during situations of conflict more skilful (and even successful!) ideas arise about how to deal with them. I am happy that things work out well.
2. I have a shit day getting irritable and pissed off with my family. I think I could have handled whatever better, and I'd better do some metta. I wake up the next morning and find I'm actually more interested in only doing vipassana instead. Go back to story 1.
3. My daughter is going to have a birthday. I'm worried that something might happen during the day that might upset her and make her upset about her birthday, and that it'll be my bloody fault :pinch: . It's also going to be stressful for my wife and I, and it's really important that I can look after my daughter's (and her friends') happiness and that she has good memories from it. I do an hour or so of diligent metta in the morning towards the relevant people. My daughter has a good birthday. :lol: awwwww.

With regards to guided meditations, it was partly from that that I learnt it. The first was "live", as it were, about 10 years ago, but other than learning the technique I didn't notice anything very significant, but I don't believe I practised it quite enough then notice anything. One particular recorded guided meditation stands out (I can't remember whose unfortunately, sorry!), just with the "May so and so be happy and all that good stuff" phrases, in which the teacher said to look for a particular feeling developing around the heart area. I think for me was key, and I believe in the same way as many other aspects of meditation, once you know what it's like, it's much easier to just evoke, without the need for phrases.

Some more "stories": I find can do it almost any time I want, like pressing a button, even now while typing :) , I just have to remember to, which isn't always easy in the middle of an argument. I've find very recently that when I do remember, I come up against a "What? Metta now?? I'm pissed off with this person, why would I want to evoke kindness for goodness sake." and then then I notice the unskilfulness of the mind state, and then I can kind of breathe through "negative" feelings that could cause ruckus and sort of neutralise them. At an insight level, I've found it very interesting to look at where this metta comes from, how it just appears. For formal metta practice I find the phrases help to keep things focussed. I occasionally used standard ones, but often I choose whatever phrases are important to the situation.

Junglist wrote:
I'm also not sure if this is really even a problem, and perhaps just something that happens like other phenomena things at any insight stage.
Frank wrote:
This is a good point, I agree. It's just that I sometimes wonder if I am susceptible to a special kind of "spiritual bypassing": avoiding going the full length because then there might not be much left to do afterwards. I really love meditating, thinking about the dharma, exploring, trial-and-error... I wouldn't mind if I never get to the other shore, even more so because I know that I've never left ;)

My fundamental opinion is that you must go the full length, you must get to the bottom of it. Examine everything to ensure you never cheat yourself. It is about life and all things at their most essential, truest, most profound level. If you think you are bypassing, what is it that you're more interested in? Does it hit at the core of your life more than what you were diverted from? If not, what was it you were avoiding? Some kind of suffering probably... In practice I find that this kind of focus isn't always available, and so I decide to diligently do practices that develop concentration, although then I become unsure which practice is right, and maybe I should just do vipassana, but how, and am I avoiding doing a practice diligently... :unsure: :silly: :S :silly: :woohoo:
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Frank

Awake Network Members' Practice 25 Sep 2019 16:42 #111633

Junglist wrote:
One particular recorded guided meditation stands out (I can't remember whose unfortunately, sorry!), just with the "May so and so be happy and all that good stuff" phrases, in which the teacher said to look for a particular feeling developing around the heart area. I think for me was key, and I believe in the same way as many other aspects of meditation, once you know what it's like, it's much easier to just evoke, without the need for phrases.

Thanks for sharing, I can absolute relate to that. Actually, I find the "may xyz be abc" stilted and I've even opted out of doing phrases at all. I just do a particular "gesture" in the bodymind and metta starts to well up. I remember a couple of years ago I thought it was "cheating" to just conjure this particular feeling in the chest and project it towards others. In the end, though, everything and anything is a fabrication, then why not fabricate skillfully something beautiful?

In terms of guided metta meditation, a joyful experience was hearing The Garden in Your Heart by Ayya Khema, given by one of her students, on a retreat. Handing out bouquets of flowers from the ever-replenishing garden in my heart encapsulates what I mean with that "gesture" above: there is the spaciousness in the heart (garden), the projection of goodwill towards the recipient (handing over the flowers), the grace and blessing (the flower). In addition, there is a progression towards ever bigger circles, finally including every living being on the earth. Beautiful, and super effective.

I find can do it almost any time I want, like pressing a button, even now while typing :)

Yeah, isn't that amazing? I wouldn't be surprised if we basically fabricate it in the same fashion. Tricky to describe how it feels like exactly, though. Anyways, very helpful, also for the Jhanas.
Last Edit: 25 Sep 2019 16:46 by Frank. Reason: Khema, not Kehma, sorry
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Junglist
Time to create page: 0.234 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum