Balancing Rest and Meditation Time

…this is something I struggle with right now.  The way things are scheduled, I get up 5 days a aweek at 5:30 with my Eldest, who leaves for the bus stop at 6:18 (Don’t ask, but trust me, it works. ;P).  I then have a busy day that lasts until I wind down at around 9:30 or 10.  At this point I usally take a bit of personal time to read, watch a little boob tube, or maybe play a game with Da Man.  I pretty much figure I need half an hour to an hour to chill at night – things are just hectic until then, between working for Da Man (Hee-hee.  ^_^ Actually we have a business together in the home.) and taking care of Da Kiddos and House Stuff – I stay busy and I need time to decompress.  (Well, usually.  I feel a little guilty writing that, because today has been a bit shiftless – I’m tired and have been fighting a cold all week.)

Anyway, the point is I just don’t get an adequate amount of sleep right now, during the week.  At best I’m getting maybe six hours a night.  I’m sure to some that seems an abundance of riches, but I really seem to do best with 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night.  I know, I’ve experimented with it.  So right now, I run at least 5 hours of sleep short a week.

To get to the point – I’m trying to decide exactly where a regular sitting time for meditation might best fit.  Maybe in the morning between bus and getting Middle and Youngest up?  But then I would lose any padding I have for the unexpected and I am concerned I would have a lot of rushed mornings, which is no way to start the day.  Perhaps I should get up half an hour ahead of time?  But then I would lose another 2 to 3 hours of sleep during the week.  Should I sit in the middle of my workday, since I have the luxury/curse of working out of the home?  I am concerned that this would be hard to set a regular time for as every day is different for me, between work and parenting, and that some days this would be very easy to drop.  Should I do it at night, after Da Kiddos have all gone to bed?  Well, this seems like a possibility, but I often find myself drooping by this time, and it would be nice to not bring a constantly tired mind to the cushion.

I know I’m over-complicating things, but I have yet to come up with the best answer for myself.  I’d love to hear from you, if you have time.  How do you schedule your meditation time?  Do you have a regular sitting schedule?  How do you manage a busy life and Buddhist life?  How do you integrate your practice into the everyday?

Guess that’s a lot of questions.  ^_^ Meh – I’m full of them lately.

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Dog Noses and Mindfulness

You know, for me sitting sometimes becomes a wonderful lesson in impermanence and attachment. The silent meditation I am experiencing and enjoying may disappear in the sudden appearance of a wet dog nose in my lap. I must consciously use that wet snuffle as a mindfulness bell – nothing is permanent, and being attached to my meditation session does no one any good. It is good to sit, and sit uninterrupted, but I am aware that my life choices (like adopting a dog, and forgetting to shut the door before I sit) affect how my practice may transpire. Meditation is just one piece of a life’s practice, and I must always remember that. Sometimes there is more to be learned from mindfully accepting and loving the dog underfoot, or the sleepy child crawling into my lap.

Moving Meditation

This is obviously not directly Buddhism-related, but it’s fairly close to the version of Surya Namaskar that I do. Or at least will begin to do again as soon as I feel my shoulder is rested enough. Anyway, there are some little differences, but it’s more or less the form I was taught. I love this practice, and for as long as I’ve done it I’ve considered it a meditation on mindfulness and balance.

"Found Object"

“Buddhist meditation doesn’t necessarily mean sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed. Simply observing how your mind is responding to the sense world can be a really perfect meditation and bring a perfect result.” — Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Sitting

So, my meditation practice has been skittering all over the place lately.

It’s not that I’m not sitting – I am. My lovely husband pointed out to me that if I was going to become Buddhist and live a Buddhist life I had absolutely no excuse for not establishing a meditation practice. Since that day I’ve made a point to try and sit everyday. I missed one day – and then decided I liked life better with a little bit of daily “sitting.”

I’ve meditated off and on for many years of my life. Never with any formal education, mind you. The closest I came to that is the guided meditation at the end of my yoga classes, and that’s simply not the same thing as a thoughtful, mindful, Buddhist practice.

I’ve been muddling through it on my own, with a small amount of good affect. For instance, this morning I had my blood pressure checked (while I was having blood drawn) and, for what it’s worth, my reading was 98/60. Surprised the tech, as I have a rather girlish figure, in the words of a sweet acquaintance of mine.

As I’ve no sangha, no teacher, and no local examples, I’ve been relying on what I can glean from reading and listening to others from a distance (Thank goodness for the internet!). Right now I’m working on a simple approach, mostly focusing on breath meditation. Seems like a good place to start, and I’ve learned a lot.

Recently, though, my mind has been everywhere, and it is very difficult to be focused even on my breath. Occasionally my entire practice consists of naming my distraction and moving back to my breath. Obviously I’ve got a lot of work to do. In the meantime I must always strive to be gentle with myself.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says that “Mindfulness practice is simple and completely feasible. Just by sitting and doing nothing, we are doing a tremendous amount.” I consider this both a part of breathing meditation, and an integral part of daily life. (The latter a constant struggle, but a good one. ^_^) I understand, though, that this is not all there is to meditation, that beyond deepening my practice of samatha I must grow to understand and successfully practice vipassana.

I could wish for an easier journey on the Path, but wouldn’t want one. Finding joy and practicing mindfulness in my current life is a delightful challenge.

Walking Meditation – Thich Nhat Hanh

This such a joy to watch…

Mindfulness, Focus and Real Life

Life is keeping me busy. I’ve actually managed meditative practice a few times this week, though, which has been wonderful. Pema Chödrön talks of having more room in her mind after Practice, and it is easy for me to understand the analogy.

I could have totally used the time today. It has been hard to be mindful this evening, especially …. Which sutra is it where the Buddha turns to his monks and says something to the effect of “See how happy you are? You have no crops to fail, no animals to husband….”?

Well, I have chosen my path, and it is truly a wonderful one. Time to take a moment to be grateful, and to smile at all the elements in my life, for they are truly all a blessing.