30 minute meditation journal

01 May 2017 5:00 PM
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I sat before going to bed this afternoon. for roughly 30-45 minutes. I tried to forget everything and focus on my breathing as the guided meditation had told me. But i kept having the same indecent come into my head. Its these little regrets that i have had through out my life. Little things i could have controlled but at the time i didn't know i could. If anyone knows how i can once and for all forget or at least live in the moment and away from these pointless thoughts please let me know. but other than that the best place i found to meditate is outside with a nice breeze and birds chirping.  

Comments

Different practices have different approaches. I can only really comment in detail on the zen approach but there is a fair amount of common ground so hopefully at least some of this will be helpful, even if you find yourself working mainly with another approach in time.

When people first sit they can be surprised by the amount and type of thoughts that arise - that amount of thinking is probably there all the time but it is when you stop chasing around and there is nowhere else to go during meditation that you see the thoughts in their full glory for the first time. It helps if you can think of thoughts as a secretion of the brain - thinking is natural, it is what brains do. The problem comes in how we react to them -  when we give them undue credence or push them away or chase after them (depending on whether we think they are a "good" or "nice" thought or not). It is the extra layer of thoughts (eg "I shouldn't be thinking like that", "I'm a bad person", "I'm useless", "it's unfair" - insert whatever your particular brand of recurrent thinking is) that cause most of the suffering / dissatisfaction.

Since you are working with a breath meditation, when a thought arises (and it will) just notice that your attention has moved away from the breath and come back to it. And do that over and over again. There will be times when you manage to stay with the breath, even if it is just a short window and times when you feel like you're failing completely but each moment of noticing that you have drifted off and choosing to come back is a success, one of many small lessons to your mind and body that this is what you now do, that thoughts don't rule the show (at least not all the time!).

Meditation is not an instant solution. It takes time to build up new habits and to start to erase the habits of the past. It can be done but it takes persistence.  

For now, if there is a place where meditation feels easier than go with that. Be wary though of thinking that you need to find the 'right place' to sit because that can become an excuse not to sit if you can't be in the 'right place' - give yourself some degree of flexibility because life isn't always straightforward. Over time you will be able to meditate anywhere. 

Early on in my meditation practice I often sat outdoors  (which is where I'd always felt most at ease) and found that easier because outside there was nothing I should be doing, no work, family business to use as an excuse for sitting. Now I usually sit either in the zen centre I'm part of or at home. That way I can get straight out of bed and onto my cushion before anything happens to derail that. But there are times when that isn't possible, eg because of work travel, and then I sit where and when I can  - on trains, in little urban gardens, in stations, in a launderette, anywhere. It really doesn't matter. What is important is to sit. 


Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
7 months ago
Thank you so much for giving me some answers. I appreciate it to the max of my capability. I will do the same for the time being( i mean meditating outside. I don't believe i have a center close by. But ill research and see what i can find. Last night i worked the 3rd shift and just got home at 7am. I found myself looking at the night a lot differently. I was excited to be in the moment. I didn't worry about the future or past i listened to my guided meditation and i made reminder to myself whenever i started to think about something i didnt need to be thinking about. and every time i thought. the reminder would kick in and allow me to push the thoughts aside. again i just wanted to share that and thank you once again. 
CoreyRay
Corey Workman
7 months ago
Are you in Belfast? If so there seems to be a zen group and may well be other meditation centres in other traditions. Large cities are usually fairly well provided for in the UK. It's early days for you though and there is no rush to get to a group or centre straight away.  But in time it may help.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1xxTUU6UTWFbPyhMkcq3jxJkba9k&hl=en_US&ll=53.7231188...

https://blackmountainzencentre.org/

Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
7 months ago
I am in Maine United states. I found a retreat that i may visit after i get back from over the road. But thank you very much for the information. My trucking career will bring me all over the united states. I only recently got the position. 
CoreyRay
Corey Workman
7 months ago
Ah, yes I saw Belfast and didn't read the US bit! Lots of zen centres across America but if you are travelling it's probably best to work on a solo practice for now.
Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
7 months ago
Absolutely and I like the loneliness so that does make sense. I more or less wanted the knowledge, but you've helped so far. and I thank you.
CoreyRay
Corey Workman
7 months ago
When the time comes a teacher and people to sit with will doubtless be very helpful. In the meantime we can try to help on here.
Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
7 months ago
Question: I Tried sitting today and i cant focus. I'm not thinking of anything its just I can't focus. What should I do. Ide really like to focus lol.
CoreyRay
Corey Workman
7 months ago
Focus / concentration is pretty much the starting point for meditation. Zen doesn't stress it as much or take it as far as some other traditions because zen moves onto more of an 'open awareness' type of sit, but, to start with at least, having a clear focus really helps when trying to train the monkey mind and avoid getting carried away less by thinking.

When beginners come to the centre I'm part of we suggest the breath as the focus point. It has a number of advantages - it is always there and can serve as an anchor point when the mind is drifting, a soft return to the breath. It can also be used as needed if you find yourself being blown about by thinking and reacting in day-to-day life. There are options for where you focus on the breath - the nostrils is common, some people focus on the breath on their top lip. Personally I prefer to focus on the breath in the belly area but that might be because I was familiar with focusing attention there through many years of tai chi practice. Because I used to live very much in my head, a more body based, grounded point of attention was very useful for me.

It doesn't have to be the breath. Some traditions will focus on objects, words or sounds. Some people, for example some with traumatic memories or serious lung problems, can find it hard to focus on the breath. Then I'd suggest another focus such as sounds or body sensations depending on the person.

Take your pick for now (until you get a teacher and then be guided by them). Whatever you choose, when your attention drifts away from it just make a decision to return and gently let your attention come back until the next time. There doesn't need to be any pushing or forcing, more a gentle, compassionate allowing. Easier said that done so be patient with yourself.


Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
7 months ago
If, when you get back from travelling you want to link in with a zen centre, this looks like it might be your closest http://www.greatoceanzen.org/welcome Their message of "live fully in the now, together with all beings" might chime well with you.

It's still not very close I don't suppose but maybe possible to visit occasionally. I don't know anything about the centre but I do know of the teacher's teacher Shohaku Okumura who is a respected writer and teacher of Soto Zen. Maybe worth keeping in mind for if and when the time comes.
Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
7 months ago
Well thank you very much going the extra mile for me! I will definitely do so. This is a small community but you help daily and i appreciate it. Ive been meditating longer and longer. Its a great way to leave the negative thoughts aside and recenter the moment. I have told my family and friends, they don't completely understand but they see a difference in me. I hope this want for meditation doesn't leave me anytime soon. 
CoreyRay
Corey Workman
7 months ago
Friends and family don't need to understand and you probably won't be able to explain it. Seeing that in helps you approach situations differently is going to be far more meaningful for them that any explanation that you can try to give at the moment. Let the changes reveal themselves. Some people who had got comfortable with who they thought you were might not like that but most will be pleased to see you approaching life with more ease. Some might in time ever feel tempted to give it a try themselves.

For some people the interest in meditation comes and goes. For some of us it feels unavoidable - it just becomes part of what we do and how we live. When I first found myself sitting regularly I didn't know anyone else who sat  - or at least I didn't think I did, it turned out that some people I knew had a very quiet meditation practice but didn't speak about it. I think that talking about meditation (not at the expense of actually doing it though!) and knowing others who sit can help to 'normalise' the new habit and help embed it in your life. This site can help with that. It did for me.
Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
7 months ago
Its helping so far. And that brings me to peace with it knowing that friends and family will soon see a difference. I would like that very much. I have had a long day and tried to follow the teachings of Buddha. i have recently tried everyday to live in the moment and not think of needing things or thinking of myself as me but a body mind and soul. I do what i need as a necessity and try to give others everything else. I realize after study that all life matters and that has helped me sit in the wilderness. I have a bird trail near me and i plan on going to meditate near the water. For an hour ad i will be sure to share that with you .
CoreyRay
Corey Workman
7 months ago
:)
Bluemoon
Kokai (Sarah)
7 months ago