30 minute meditation journal

16 April 2017 5:10 AM
I fell asleep last night and lost my formal meditation session. I woke up a little sooner today and did sitting breath meditation for 30 minutes. It is a few days that I fill a little table before I start to practice and after ends. It is based on Culadasa's 6 step preparation. Here are what I wrote in my table today:

Review your reasons for meditating, your motivation and purpose.
We need to protect ourselves from ourselves. Things might come up that capture the mind. Having an ability of seeing what is happening inside the mind and correcting the path and getting out of the grip can be really useful.

Decide what you hope to accomplish in this meditation session.What is a reasonable goal for today’s practice in terms of your progress up to now?
- Give it all to awareness, Give it most to the awareness of the breath, present,on the object, engaged, relaxed
- Don't over think it
- Appreciating the moments of mind mindfulness.
- Keep the intention alive.
Remind yourself to be satisfied with whatever you do accomplish.
Things can go wrong. Expect it. Don't be surprised by it. And be kind to yourself.
Have an intention of being good.
Have an intention of healing.
Have an intention of helping.

Prepare yourself for the difficulties and distractions you are most likely to encounter. What may go wrong?
Weak intention.

What went wrong?
Lot's of mental images. Like animation characters. I cannot remember what my mind wanderings where about but one idea.
May be due to sleepiness.
The intention got weaker toward the end. I kind of forgot what I exactly need to do. Do I clearly and with examples know what I mean by sensations of the breath at the nostrils?
I was a little sleepy so that may have it's part in the quality of concentration.
No sharp, clear awareness.

What went right?
Counting kind of helped. It really reminds you how are the things now.
I learned that I should be more specific about the sensations of the breath.
I learned that I am not still serious enough about practice.


Could you fit meditation into your morning routine? That way it can't so easily get derailed by sleepiness or the life events that we can let become excuses for not sitting? Some people really can't, their lives don't work that way but worth thinking about. It feels good to start the day knowing you have already sat, it can set you up to respond to the day differently.

It doesn't really matter all that much I don't think what you focus on, just having the focus is something to return to when your mind slips off into responding to the thoughts that come up (they will do, the choice is whether to react to them or let them be). The breath in the nose, on the lip, in the belly (which was my preference - further from the head so seems to make it easier to dwell in thinking), in sounds or sensations. And over time, when thoughts have less of a hold, it may work just to hold it all in open awareness. For now, just keep coming back to your focus, time and again. Each returning is another example of training your body and mind that this is what you do now. It's habit forming. Usually we practice our 'bad habits' and reinforce them through our actions. You are choosing to practice different habits now. They will take time. You've probably had years or decades practicing your existing habits. Be gentle and patient with yourself while also giving all the energy you can.

Kokai (Sarah)
about 1 year ago
Sarah is right, befriend yourself as you actually are. Be compassionate with yourself as you work to untie previous habits and establish new ones.

As mentioned, perhaps consider a morning practice. If I had to choose between only a morning or evening practice, morning would be the definitive choice for me. In several ways it positively sets the tone for the day.

Keep at it, wishing you the best!
about 1 year ago
Thank you both!

I am trying to establish a morning practice for myself, but it would take some time because my sleeping schedule is messy,  I am trying to make it more organized and meditation is actually helping here. Somehow I managed to meditate at least a few minutes before leaving the home, however my main practice is still in the night and I am trying to move it into the morning.
"... further from the head so seems to make it easier to dwell in thinking"
This is a very interesting point,  it is certainly worth trying. My main concern here is not the place of the sensations, but knowing which sensations to look for. I mean sticking to a certain place, and the sensations (not for example the mental image of the breath). 

 Again thank you both, I really appreciate your comments. 
about 1 year ago
I meant to write harder to dwell in thoughts when focused on the belly but you have probably figured that out! If you do try that just let your attention sort of sink to the area roughly around the navel. Google hara or dantien if you want to be precise. I used to live far too much in my head and getting out of that and more connected to my body was really useful. For the same reason I think some physical practice - yoga, tai chi or something else- can be a good supplement to a meditation practice.

But you can stick with what you know for now. One thing at a time.

Morning sitting might help settle your sleeping pattern over time. I'm less inclined to stay up late when I know I'll be up early to sit.
Kokai (Sarah)
about 1 year ago
Another thing that might help you sustain a practice longer term is finding people to sit with, and ideally also a teacher. Opensit is great and it is possible to practice alone but undoubtedly it is easier with others around you to reinforce your new habits and to spot if you go too far astray. I don't know where you live and how practical this is for you but if you could, it would help as and when you get to the point of needing it.

Many of the members of the sangha I sit with admit that without the routine and support the sangha provides they would find it much harder to sustain their practice and that in the periods when the centre is closed they can feel a bit cut adrift. There is a balance to be struck of course between just getting on with sitting even if no one else is doing so and relying on giving and receiving support. But having that support there could tip the balance in favour of sitting rather than drifting back to not sitting. Something to consider for the future.

Kokai (Sarah)
about 1 year ago
Thanks a lot. Unfortunately there are no sitting group in the place that I live, at least not one that I know of. I am really grateful for the community here, the effect and encouragement has been great. 
And one side note, please excuse me if I don't answer timely. I am going through difficult times and sometimes the grip of aversion is so strong in me that I find it difficult to do simple day to day things such as brushing my teeth or even sometimes washing my hands.
about 1 year ago
No pressure to answer, ever. Just do what you need to get through. Wishing you well.

Kokai (Sarah)
about 1 year ago