I managed to do 20 minutes on my mat and cushion today, although I was having a little bit of OCD finickiness about sitting on the floor.
Are koans useful on your own, or should they not be attempted without a teacher? --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, <billsm...@...> wrote: > > DP, Two corrections. > > Tip #1 below about breathing should read: ".a posture that 'opens up' your > hips so you are NOT cramping your belly area." > > Tip #2 below about focusing should read: "This the same THING (not 'think') > you do with your awareness." > > .Bill! > > > > From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf > Of billsm...@... > Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 10:40 AM > To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com > Subject: RE: [Zen] Having trouble getting back into zazen > > > > > > DP, > > > > I've been doing zazen for over 40 years and I ALWAYS start just as I > described below, including first counting the exhales and inhales, then > counting the exhale/inhale cycle, then following the breathes and finally > settling into shikan taka. > > If I have trouble focusing on any part of counting or following the > breathes, I just stay in that technique, or even go back to the previous > technique, until I can focus well before moving forward. Some sitting > periods I never get to shikan taza in the 20 or 30 minutes I sit, but that > doesn't happen too often now - but does happen occasionally. I don't > consider this a big deal. It's 'all good'. > > Two more tips: > > - - Breathing is VERY IMPORTANT to zazen. Please be sure you're > belling-breathing correctly, and that includes sitting in a posture that > contributes to that - a posture that 'opens up' your hips so you are > cramping your belly area. Again, full-lotus is best for this but not > absolutely necessary. It helps move your hips open up and straightens out > your back. I can't sit full-lotus. I can sit in half-lotus, but often just > sit cross-legged. Be sure your back is straight. Many teachers say you > should feel like you're 'lifting the sky' with your head. > > - - When you get to the point of dropping the > following-the-breaths, it's very much like defocusing your gaze. When > gazing you first focus on a point on the floor or wall, and then relax and > defocus your eyes. In this way you can still see, you are visually aware of > what's in front of you, but you are not focusing on it. This the same think > you do with your awareness. At first you focus your awareness on 1 through > 10, then just in-out, and finally defocus entirely. I think of it like > focusing sunlight through a magnifying glass and moving the focus closer and > closer to the floor or some other object. When you start the sunlight is a > large circle. The more your focus the smaller and smaller the circle > becomes, and the more intense it is. BUT, when you are focusing it as small > as you can get it, and then move just one step farther, the circle > disappears altogether. That's what shikan taza is like. > > .Bill! > > > > > > From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf > Of DP > Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 9:20 AM > To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com > Subject: Re: [Zen] Having trouble getting back into zazen > > > > > > > I have been doing basically as you describe. It was fine with 10 minutes, > but making the move from 10 to 20 or 30 was very hard. > > I had stopped doing the counting, should I maybe get back to it? > --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> , > <BillSmart@> wrote: > > > > Dave, > > > > > > > > I don't know if the feeling of boredom will pass for you. It did for all > > people I know of that sit. Of course maybe it didn't for those that tried > > sitting but quit. > > > > > > > > How are you sitting? I suggest you find a competent teacher to instruct > > you. Second best is find an instructional book or website. There's are > > many good sites on the web, or check out JMJM's site. He's a frequent > > poster on the Zen Forum and will probably respond to this. > > > > > > > > If all else fails, follow these instructions: > > > > > > > > 1. Sit in a comfortable position. It should be a position in which > > the back is upright but not supported, and that opens up your hips so that > > you can breathe well. Full-lotus is preferable. Half-lotus or cross-legged > > is okay. Kneeling is okay. Sitting upright on the front of a > > straight-backed chair is okay too. > > > > 2. When you first get into the position close your eyes and sway from > > your hips like an inverted pendulum, first back and forth and then side to > > side. Slowly decrease the angle of your swaying until you are upright. > > This will help you find an upright position that puts the least amount of > > strain on your back and legs. > > > > 3. Fold your hands one inside the other and rest them on your legs. > > > > 4. Open your eyes, lower your gaze to a point about 3 or 4 ft in front > > of you. If you're facing a wall pick a point low on the wall as if you > were > > gazing about 3 or 4 ft in front of you. A solid-colored wall is best. > > White or cream-colored is best. De-focus your eyes. > > > > 5. Take a deep inhale and exhale slowly. Do this 3 times. Your > > breathing should be 'belly breathing' - your belly should be going out and > > in with the breathes. It should NOT be 'chest breathing' - where your > > shoulders go up and down with the breathes. These should not be so deep as > > to strain you, but as deep as is comfortable. > > > > 6. Take a deep inhale and then count '1' (in your mind) while exhaling > > slowly. > > > > 7. Count '2' while inhaling slowly. > > > > 8. Repeat until you've reached '10', and then start over. > > > > 9. If you lose count, or find your mind wandering, or find you're on a > > number greater than 10, start over. > > > > 10. Count your exhales and inhales like this until you can do it > > consistently without losing count. > > > > 11. Then change and count '1' on your exhale/inhale cycle, '2' on your > > next exhale/inhale cycle. Do this until you can do it well. > > > > 12. Then change and drop the counting, and only 'follow the breathes', > > just direct your attention to following the breath as you exhale and > inhale. > > Do this until you can do it well. > > > > 13. Then drop the 'following' the breathe and 'just sit'. This is shikan > > taza (clear mind). This is zazen. > > > > > > > > I'd suggest you only sit as long as you feel comfortable. If that's 10 > > minutes, then that's okay. Just sit 10 minutes at a time. Sit this way for > > a couple days or a week and then jump it up to 15 minutes, then 20. I > don't > > think you ever need to go more than 20 minutes at home, but most zen > centers > > sit at least 30 minute or even 40 minute periods. > > > > > > > > Hope this helps.Bill! > > > > > > > > From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> > [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> ] On > Behalf > > Of DP > > Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 8:52 PM > > To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> > > Subject: [Zen] Having trouble getting back into zazen > > > > > > > > > > > > I've tried to do the half-hour sitting in a chair, but I find myself > getting > > bored after 10 minutes. Will this pass? Will I be able to do longer in the > > future if I keep it up? > > > > > > > > > > > > __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus > signature > > database 5394 (20100824) __________ > > > > The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. > > > > http://www.eset.com > > > > > > __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature > database 5394 (20100824) __________ > > The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. > > http://www.eset.com > > > > __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature > database 5394 (20100824) __________ > > The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. > > http://www.eset.com > > > > > > __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature > database 5394 (20100824) __________ > > The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. > > http://www.eset.com > ------------------------------------ Current Book Discussion: any Zen book that you recently have read or are reading! 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