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meditation in public areas - Dhamma Wheel

meditation in public areas

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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josephcmabad
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meditation in public areas

Postby josephcmabad » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:13 am

can anyone give me some advice on how to do meditation sitting on a chair in public places? can this be done with the same benefit as the traditional meditation techniques?

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Ben
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:01 am

For a couple of years I was commuting by train between a regional centre and Melbourne. Spending about 2-3 hours a day on a train per day. So I would meditate on my way in to work and on my way home. I would put sun-glasses on and que my mp3 player with a file of my teacher chanting a sutta or the tikapatthana and just go for it. While its not as distraction free as a session in a quiet place at home,it was still a good use of my time.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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David2
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby David2 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:12 am


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josephcmabad
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby josephcmabad » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:15 am

is it possible to do this with my eyes open?

David2
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby David2 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:14 am


Slava
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby Slava » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:45 pm

The time spent in public places (train, doctor’s office etc.) can also be used to perform what others would call preparatory stages in meditation. You can start by observing your posture and then move to noticing any sounds around you. Constantly moving your awareness from one sound to another helps one getting used to being in a present moment. Once you’re comfortable with that, the next step would be trying to notice those sounds without commenting on it in your head. That would help getting familiar with the “silent” mind. Those two stages are not easy to develop and it usually takes a while, so using the time in public places while doing these exersises can be very beneficial.

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Nibbida
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby Nibbida » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:14 pm

There are a few ways in which I do this.

One way is to try to focus away from the distractions. Focus on the breath, for example, and every time there is a distraction, return focus to the breath. It's much more challenging, but with greater challenge comes greater benefits. However, if it's too challenging to the point of excessive frustration, that may not be the best way to go.

I used to only meditate with eyes closed. The downside of eyes open is that it's more challenging because there are more potential distractions. On the other hand, when one gets the hang of eyes-open, it's much, much easier to generalize the meditative state to everyday life.

Another general approach is to use the distractions instead of trying to tune them out. For example, I might watch my body and whenever there is an external noise, I disregard the noise (let it stay in the background of attention) while I watch what response to the noise is triggered in the body. This would essentially be mindfulness of vedana. If I'm doing eyes closed, I might watch to see if any thoughts (images, words) are triggered by the sound. This could also be done eyes opened, since we daydream all the time with eyes opened, so we can watch for visual/verbal thoughts triggered when eyes are opened. Again, it's much harder, but if you can watch your thoughts arise and pass with eyes opened then you've got a leg up on the daily daydreaming mind. I watch the thoughts but defocus from them, noticing that an "image is happening" or "words are happening," noting the process rather than the content. On this level, we are just aware of arising and passing, which is mindfulness of anicca.

Another possibility is to do loving-kindness to other people, near or far. This can be done eyes opened. It may not be as deep as when in a quiet room, but it is more diffused, again generalizing it to one's everyday life.

So not only is it possible to do meditation in public places, I'd say it's advantageous.

vishy89
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby vishy89 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:40 pm

Edited out. Thanks
Last edited by vishy89 on Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Goofaholix
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:41 pm


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manas
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby manas » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:03 pm

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:32 pm

The last job I had (over thirty years ago now) was as a lifeguard for Westminster City Council public baths dept. It was the perfect job for a meditator. All I had to do was sit or walk by the pool side and keep alert to what was going on, both inside and outside.

As you practice more, you will find that its actually quite easy to "meditate" in public, though perhaps concentration will not be as stable as in a retreat situation. Just try not to attract attention by sitting in the lotus position or walking too slowly.

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mikenz66
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:19 am

Thanks Bhante,

As you say, if it's not too crowded walking meditation is relatively easy to do in public places, such as when waiting for trains or planes. People will probably just assume you're getting your circulation going before the trip...

I normally sit with my eyes closed, but in a public place that may not be desirable, or safe, but eyes open is quite possible (and used by some schools...), though for me it gives a different "feel"...

:anjali:
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Upasaka
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby Upasaka » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:05 am

Currently I am practicing Metta meditation on the journey to and from work, which involves being sat on a bus surrounded by other people. I close my eyes as if I am dozing etc, relax, welcome the moment as it is and gently do the practice. I have found it to be a beneficial way to spend time whilst travelling/being in public.
:anjali:
The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice.

- Ajahn Chah -

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Ytrog
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Re: meditation in public areas

Postby Ytrog » Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:36 pm

In the past (when I was still a student) I also commuted by train. In the last years I often used the time for meditation. Most people wouldn't know the difference between someone sleeping on the train and meditating anyway. I imagined that people just thought that I was sleeping while sitting with a straight back.

Even when people know you are meditating there is no shame in that. Everybody does different things in public and there are far worse things to do, so don't be afraid.


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