how to stay awake during meditation?

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby Frank » Fri May 25, 2012 12:18 am

asunthatneversets wrote:
Frank wrote:how the hey now do you fall asleep in lotus or half? i mean i doze, but can't actually snooze.


The more you meditate the stronger your clarity will become, the strength of your awareness will increase. If you can, try being mindful throughout the day in all activities, remain relaxed but keep a sharp attention, try not to day dream... act like you're driving a car and have to remain aware of all that's going on around you. This will cultivate your mind's clarity, in time when you go to sit your stream of awareness will be unerring and unassailable, the dullness that causes you to tire won't be an issue.


in my experience this doesn't make much difference for sitting meditation, my mindfulness can be very high and focused all day every day for a week straight and i still fall asleep on the cushion. although your words make perfect sense. perhaps i need even more mindfulness!
Last edited by Frank on Fri May 25, 2012 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby Frank » Fri May 25, 2012 12:20 am

Challenge23 wrote:
Frank wrote:tips? tricks? ideas? experience? anything helps :smile:

i do anapanasati.


Well, here is what I find works pretty well.

Short, more frequent sessions.
Proper diet(less sugar, lighter foods right before meditation).
Proper sleep schedule.
A proper exercise routine involving cardiovascular exercise ,weight training, and flexibility training.


shaolin temple monks agree! my highest success in meditation was when i was taking shaolin kung fu (which includes lots of push ups, sit ups, qigong etc.) six or seven days a week and i had a great diet during this time. this may be the one and only real lasting solution. thanks.
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby maybay » Fri May 25, 2012 5:03 am

avoid direct sunlight, wind, busyness, markets, travel, gossip, media, electronic devices and especially screens of any kind
don't sit on a nest when you meditate. You should feel like you're on terra firma.
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Remember nothing and everything
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Do nothing and everything
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby Frank » Fri May 25, 2012 6:37 am

maybay wrote:avoid direct sunlight, wind, busyness, markets, travel, gossip, media, electronic devices and especially screens of any kind
don't sit on a nest when you meditate. You should feel like you're on terra firma.


so avoid distractions, don't sit on something too soft (nest?) and sit on firm ground (terra firma?)?
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby maybay » Sat May 26, 2012 6:09 am

these things sap your energy and take the 5 elements out of balance. You should guard your energy otherwise you get tired and fall asleep. Don't sit on a nest means don't make a big deal out of meditation with paraphenalia, bedding etc. Think austere.

Ever tried meditating in a hammock? You should have the earth element under you and feel supported. Even chairs are too much for me but they work for others. Feel for yourself.
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby Tarpa » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:06 am

Visualizing a radiant white lotus of light at the heart with a radiant white drop on top can help, then shoot the drop up and out the top of your head into space, repeat as necessary. The idea is visualizing light in general will help.
Recalling the benefits of practice / meditation, the rarity and opportunity and leisure to practice, having attained this precious life etc. will help uplift the mind, joy will uplift the mind.
A walk before practice and a good cup of tea never hurts. Practicing in a brightly lit room helps, cool temperature helps.
The nonexistence of the transcendence of suffering
is what the protector of the world has taught as the transcendence
of suffering.
Knots tied on space
are untied by space itself.

May I never be seperated from perfect masters in all lives,
and delightfully experiencing the magnificent dharma,
completing all qualities of the stages of the paths
may I quickly attain the state of Vajradhara
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:03 pm

You've received some good advice already (about position, diet, activity, mindfulness, good methods and so on).
Keep in mind what Anders said though. Have you been having enough sleep? Sometimes we have such a busy life (even if on occasion only mentally) that we go around with sleep deficit and don't even notice. Then, when we relax, the first thing that happens is feeling sleepy. Perhaps you need to sleep more than usual for a month or so and get the rest your body is needing. I'm not saying this is the case, but it's common.

Best wishes and good luck for dealing with this issue. Tell us how it went. :smile:
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby seeker242 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:08 pm

When I start falling asleep, I just slap myself in the face pretty hard. Works pretty good, similar to how getting hit with a zen stick works pretty good also.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:20 pm

:lol:
It works, but I'm not sure if everyone would find that method suitable, especially if sleep comes often. Kudos for your dedication though! :anjali:
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:23 am

I also have a problem with this, especially when focusing on the breath. It's just so darn relaxing.

I've found critically examining the drowsiness helps. Treat it like any other quality of mind that may arise during meditation. How does it color the mind? Does it affect parts of the body too? In what way? Can you pinpoint where in the body or mind it is? This kind of bright, inquisitive awareness is the antidote to a drowsy foggy mind :) When you feel your concentration condense again, it can go right back to the breath.

And if your eyes get sleepy too, I find pretending my attention is a small, bright sphere at the feeling of the breath helps. Pretend you're almost physically sharpening your concentration on that point.

A ton of great advice here too :D Good luck with the sleepies. :twothumbsup:
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby underthetree » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:41 am

I meditate outside, sitting on a rock or a log, whatever the weather - all it takes is enough layers of clothing and sometimes (quite often, really) an umbrella. I virtually never have problems with drowsiness except when I meditate indoors, in which case I often begin to nod off. All the difficulties - midges, cold, torrential rain, wind, bright sunlight (rare!) - are incorporated into my practice and it all keeps me alert. I often think it would be nice to have a comfy zafu and an actual meditation room but I suspect I'd spend my time face down and snoring!
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby catmoon » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:53 am

Someone had a solution a while back, they recommended meditating at the top of a cliff with your knees sticking out over the drop. Can't remember where the idea originated tho.
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby katie6789 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:32 pm

you can bring your focus to your third eye/crown chakra. You can breathe through there. And you should eat less than your normal diet.
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Re: how to stay awake during meditation?

Postby Yudron » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:53 pm

I think in this speedy modern world folks generally push themselves too hard, using excessive stimulants as a way of trying to get through. We try to pile time for meditation on top of that incredibly busy schedule, and as soon as we sit down we want to sleep. If we are having to drink a lot of coffee or tea to stay awake, it is a sign that we need to sleep and rest more. So, I often take a 10 minute (or whatever) nap before I start a session, then I feel great when practicing.

The school of Buddhism I am associated with does not generally advise sleep deprivation as part of practice. In three year retreat, for example, we have a bed, not a box, and room in the schedule to sleep 8 hours a night. Naps are not frowned upon.
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