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 Post subject: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:49 pm 
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I don't always have the privacy for sitting (shamatha) meditation - especially prolonged sittings. This coming Thanksgiving will be a case in point. While I might could get away for 5 minutes, that privacy would definitely be interrupted.

I am wondering if there are other things which I might could do during times like these which will keep me on track until I can get back the privacy of my meditation. Maybe some of you have had similar experiences, and I would like to know how you handled them.

I have received Dzogchen transmission from Namkhai Norbu, and am trying to cultivate a devotion to Padmasambhava if this helps with any suggestions.


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:56 pm 
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How about concentrating on the four immeasurables? Either pick one or do one after the other. Mix them with as steady but very relaxed mindfulness as you can. I think this might help with social & family situations.

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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:00 pm 
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mint wrote:
I don't always have the privacy for sitting (shamatha) meditation - especially prolonged sittings. This coming Thanksgiving will be a case in point. While I might could get away for 5 minutes, that privacy would definitely be interrupted.

I am wondering if there are other things which I might could do during times like these which will keep me on track until I can get back the privacy of my meditation. Maybe some of you have had similar experiences, and I would like to know how you handled them.

I have received Dzogchen transmission from Namkhai Norbu, and am trying to cultivate a devotion to Padmasambhava if this helps with any suggestions.


Well, what I used to do is basically announce to the assembled company that I was going to place X in the house to do my meditation practice and would appreciate not being disturbed. They may, or may not go for that.

With Shamatha, it's good to practice in the presence of distractions. I was taking a Shambhala level in Boulder one weekend a few years back. It was a nice day and the windows in the trainning room were opened. For those who have never been to The House That Trungpa Built, is a hundred feet or so from the busiest pedestrian area in the county. That day, someone had a frikkin Karaoke machine with a grand total of three songs and people with varying degrees of talent came up to give it their all. Talk about distracting! But one thing about Shambhala levels is you get tons of time to practice, distractions and all. It builds character. After that weekend I was certain that if I could practice through all that frikkin noise I could practice anywhere, anytime.

There is always the option of not practicing that day. It's not like Jack-Booted Dharma Nazis are going to appear and take away your birthday if you can't manage a little Shamatha practice. In some ways it might be your best bet. Announcing to a crowd of friends and relatives that they have to STFU so you can meditate will come off as pretentious. IOW, they'll think you're a dick or at least rude, even if this happens in your own house.

That, or get in your practice before people start showing up. That's what I'll do on Thursday. I'll get up early, do my practice (takes about 90 minutes), go for a bike ride, hop in the shower and then sit down for dinner with the wife and some good friends. If I wanted to drive across town, the Denver Shambhala center has a TG morning practice time for 2 hours (0900 - 1100). So maybe there's a center near you that will have a similar program you can take part in. This is probably your best option.

OR, practice after everyone leaves.

IOW, there really isn't a problem here. You have plenty of viable options. I'm surprised you haven't thought of it yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:33 pm 
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Chaz wrote:
I'm surprised you haven't thought of it yourself.


Chaz,

Thank you for the suggestions.

While I mention this coming Thanksgiving as an example, that isn't what my experience is limited to. Sometimes I have friends who stay over at my place for various reasons which, being quite a small single "room" space, doesn't afford alot of privacy for something like meditation. This doesn't happen often - but when it does, it's frustrating. I have thought of some options based on my experience, but I really just wanted to "poll the audience" and see if there were things I hadn't thought of yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:53 pm 
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Earplugs or hearing protector, or both together, and you won't be disturbed by anything short of people jumping, fighting or lovemaking right next to you. You can also put a black cloth around your eyes for even more privacy.

Best wishes
Lars


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:52 pm 
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mint wrote:
Chaz wrote:
I'm surprised you haven't thought of it yourself.


Chaz,

Thank you for the suggestions.

While I mention this coming Thanksgiving as an example, that isn't what my experience is limited to. Sometimes I have friends who stay over at my place for various reasons which, being quite a small single "room" space, doesn't afford alot of privacy for something like meditation. This doesn't happen often - but when it does, it's frustrating. I have thought of some options based on my experience, but I really just wanted to "poll the audience" and see if there were things I hadn't thought of yet.



I got that.

Finding the right "container" for your practice can be tough.

The best solution in the long run, is set aside a small room in your home that is devoted to practice. That's what I did, and it works beautifully. I can go to the Shrine Room any time I like and practice without incoveniencing anyone (like my wife). We have a standing rule: If the door is shut, it means Do Not Disturb.

Just the same, if it's a matter of company - friends, family, etc. - I usually forego practice. My being a Buddhist is no big secret, but I'm uncomfortable ditching friends or family to go practice. I consider something like that to be rude. If I'm practicing and a friend stops by unannounced, my practice is over for the time being. I can always return and conclude/dedicate later.

I'll maintain that having distractions present in your practice container is a good thing. The doorbell to my front door is right outside the shrine room. That's an excellent test of how present you are when practicing. My shrine room is directly over our Bird Room. It has, among other birds, two Cockatoos and an Amazon Parrot. They get really loud when thy're excited or disturbed. Again, and excellent source of practice with distraction. My two Corgis are oftentimes just outside the Shrine Room window and they like to torment the neighbor's two dogs and love barking at squirrels and such. More distraction and I am thankful for it. Anyone can meditate where there is peace and quiet.

So, my advice, for what it's worth, is to forget about the distractions and how frustrated you get, sit down and practice. Don't make excuses about distractions. Take it to the cushion as they say. In Road Cycling there's a rule named simply, Rule #5. It says, very simply and directly, "Harden The F#*k Up". If your butt hurts - Rule #5. Don't like the weather? Rule #5. The climb is too long/difficult? Rule #5. Your bike sucks? Rule #5.

Need I say more? Yes, I know it's a little harsh. Rule #5. I'm reminded of sitting with our resident Lama one evening while he taught. he recounted every single impediment to practice you could think of and his response to them was always the same. It wasn't as course as Rule #5, but it was pretty much the same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:24 pm 
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Mindfulness while in action. Try not to wander after your thoughts and be present, relaxed, while you act. When you talk, be present, when you eat be present, when you laugh be present, when you think about something, know that you are thinking about something. Be present. It's a great practice. Being present is not the same as concentrating on what is happening. It's more gentle and without tension. Try to get the gist of it or you'll end up very tired. Then, when you can, sit and do whatever formal practices you do. :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:41 pm 
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If you don't have a strict practice commitment then this isn't a problem. If you do then you might have to practice in the tub, shower or just before going to sleep. You could also get up before everyone else and practice or get out of the house and practice.

You are never separate from you mind. We claim that outer objects annoy us, distract us, inflame our minds with passion or anger. The reality is that we do these things to ourselves because of our perceptions and habits.

So as much as possible see yourself as Guru Rinpoche and the surroundings as the Copper Colored Mountain and all the beings as enlightened beings. Raise Bodhicitta as much as possible and silently or mentally recite the Vajra Guru mantra to yourself.

Kirt

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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:48 am 
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I often use white noise on my iPod touch. My house can get quite noisy at times and it cancels it out.


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:21 pm 
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A lot of good suggestions were made here, but I didn't perform any practice at all from about Thursday through yesterday. I was my normal, erratic, passion-driven self. Regardless, the Dharma wasn't far from my heart and I came to an even deeper appreciation of it and my current involvement with it and cultivated a deeper desire to get more involved with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:39 pm 
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Well that is excellent to hear....One question I have..... if silent mind is endeavored....why not silent mind if one wants this for a bit..... doing things, not of course intellectual things but things like washing a dish or some such.

Not of course to not do ones sitting but don't others also do this?

Personal a bit but for others I am curious. Seems it would compliment the sitting.
Don't answer of course if it is to personal.

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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:44 pm 
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mint wrote:
A lot of good suggestions were made here, but I didn't perform any practice at all from about Thursday through yesterday. I was my normal, erratic, passion-driven self. Regardless, the Dharma wasn't far from my heart and I came to an even deeper appreciation of it and my current involvement with it and cultivated a deeper desire to get more involved with it.

This is great. Next step, be gently present when you do things (again, this is not being concentrated in what you do, just being present). If Dharma has been near your heart, you're a little step away from avoiding constant distraction. Slowly and gently, like a butterfly returning to a flower, you maintain your mindfulness through the day. :anjali:


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:58 pm 
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Dechen Norbu wrote:
mint wrote:
A lot of good suggestions were made here, but I didn't perform any practice at all from about Thursday through yesterday. I was my normal, erratic, passion-driven self. Regardless, the Dharma wasn't far from my heart and I came to an even deeper appreciation of it and my current involvement with it and cultivated a deeper desire to get more involved with it.

This is great. Next step, be gently present when you do things (again, this is not being concentrated in what you do, just being present). If Dharma has been near your heart, you're a little step away from avoiding constant distraction. Slowly and gently, like a butterfly returning to a flower, you maintain your mindfulness through the day. :anjali:


We need a 'like' button, as on Facebook. :)

One must guard against regarding 'practice' as restricted to meditation, sadhanas, matras etc

A hypothetical example, but based on a real event:

We are sitting in a meditation class. Outside there is a commotion, a man treating his girlfriend roughly.

We could be so deep in meditation that it does not register, but what if it does and is a disruption?

One teacher advises ingoring it as our practice is more important.

A second teacher advises that we must abandon our practice and intervene.

A third advises that we should interrupt our meditation, deal with the problem compassionately, and the return to meditation - and regard all the actions as 'practice'.

I think the third view is best. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:50 pm 
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Agree. :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:13 am 
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mint wrote:
I don't always have the privacy for sitting (shamatha) meditation - especially prolonged sittings. This coming Thanksgiving will be a case in point. While I might could get away for 5 minutes, that privacy would definitely be interrupted.

I am wondering if there are other things which I might could do during times like these which will keep me on track until I can get back the privacy of my meditation. Maybe some of you have had similar experiences, and I would like to know how you handled them.

I have received Dzogchen transmission from Namkhai Norbu, and am trying to cultivate a devotion to Padmasambhava if this helps with any suggestions.

As others have suggested, mindfulness is really the quintessential practice for when you do not have time for any formal meditation. In fact, in many schools mindfulness is THE practice. So... Have you had occasion to read Mindfulness in Plain English? (Free e-book/PDF or paperback)

I just discovered this gem, being new to Buddhist meditation, and it provided a lot of clarity to my shamatha and vipassana meditation practice, which combine to create mindfulness as a living practice. It is so dense with sage wisdom yet easily accessible. A truly inspiring read that caused me to take many breaks from reading to sit down and apply what I was learning... If you've read Thich Nhat Hanh's books on mindfulness and thought, "OK, all this poetic beauty is nice but I don't see that happening by going, 'breathing in' 'breathing out' in my head," then Mindfulness in Plain English is what you need to gather up all the nuts and bolts, grab a bag of tools and start work on a solid mindfulness practice.


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:26 am 
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Asabandha wrote:
mint wrote:
I don't always have the privacy for sitting (shamatha) meditation - especially prolonged sittings. This coming Thanksgiving will be a case in point. While I might could get away for 5 minutes, that privacy would definitely be interrupted.

I am wondering if there are other things which I might could do during times like these which will keep me on track until I can get back the privacy of my meditation. Maybe some of you have had similar experiences, and I would like to know how you handled them.

I have received Dzogchen transmission from Namkhai Norbu, and am trying to cultivate a devotion to Padmasambhava if this helps with any suggestions.

As others have suggested, mindfulness is really the quintessential practice for when you do not have time for any formal meditation. In fact, in many schools mindfulness is THE practice. So... Have you had occasion to read Mindfulness in Plain English? :offtopic:


Yes, I've read it. Good book, but not the best meditation advice for somebody aspiring to train in the methods of Vajrayana. I infinitely prefer Chogyam Trungpa and Pema Chodron's heartfelt advice on the subject of meditation.

Of course, this thread isn't so much about difficulties meditating as it is about difficulty meditating when one's practice space is invaded or when one is away from the practice space.


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 Post subject: Re: Privacy Please!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:16 am 
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Why don't you just leave the house and go meditate in a nearby park or something, when you have people staying over.

"Sorry people, gotta go out for some work, see you all in an hour!" and off to the park for some meditation action.
:namaste:

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