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Recorded 18 journal entries
Logged 13 hours practice
Joined 13 days ago
2 days ago
Morning sit. Went by fast, was surprised that it was over so quickly.
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45 minute meditation journal
09 October 2017 5:45 AM
5:30am- not to tough to get up as I know it's always worth is as I like to sit in the morning before the first light. Hard to say with my breath. My left leg fell asleep but not as painful as other times.
Instead of sitting as I usually do, I sat with the opposite leg on the outside in Burmese position. It turns out that leg is not as used ...
Welcome to the site :)
13 days ago
thank you. I was searching the internet for helpful tools in my meditation practice and came upon this site. I'm really interested in having an actual meditation teacher but not sure how to go about finding one. what keeps you directed and focused in your meditation practice?
12 days ago
Hi Jazzmina I do have a meditation teacher and sit with a strong sangha and that is a huge help. I also have a very strong motivation anyway - having seen how much difference practice makes to my life there is never a temptation to not sit, however sitting with others can help deepend practice as can the support of an experienced teacher who knows the common pitfalls.
When I first started practice I didn't and was so lucky to find one on my doorstep that fits so well for me. I think you can start a practice alone but it is much harder to continue it through the years without support around you. It might be early days for you but over time you might find one style of meditation / tradition appeals to you more than others and that might guide your search for a teacher. Or it might be that choices are limited where you are and what is available might suggest something that is worth a try. Whereabouts do you live? I'm more familiar with zen groups than other traditions but there may be people on here who can offer suggestions in the vipassana tradition.
This site is not a substitute for sitting with others but it definitely can help. We can do our best to answer and initial questions you might have while you find your way to the right teacher for you.
12 days ago
Aloha Sarah, thank you for your response. I have been sitting on and off for about 7 years and have struggled at times to keep a regular practice but more recently I have been much more committed. Most of my experience meditating has been in the Zen tradition and I have gone to a dojo. Technically I still am apart of the dojo but I feel as if it doesn't fit my needs and am contemplating not going to the class anymore- there is a more a focus on martial arts then meditation and no close relationship with a teacher has developed. I have only recently been trying out Vipassana style meditation to see if that suits me better as some other groups I have attended teach in that style. I live on Oahu just outside of Honolulu. I have found access to group sittings but no specific relationship with an individual teacher.
12 days ago
Hi Jazzmina. What a beautiful part of the world to live in! The only zen group nearby I've heard of is the Diamond Sangha because of Aitkin Roshi's connection there. Is that the one you have tried? It must be frustrating to have the local group focus on martial arts when you want more guidance on meditation.
It does help to have a regular connection with a teacher and interviews (dokusan) can be an important part of that. Obviously all teachers are human and so have their failings and limitations no matter how deep their practice but they can also have a lot to offer - if you find the right one for you.
You might find that connection within one of the vipassana groups and in which case you have your answer. If not, it might be worth considering if you could make a distant/occasional contact with a zen teacher attending retreat with them maybe annually and with email or skype contact in between. We have quite a few people who practice with our sangha that way. If your finances and life circumstances permit you could maybe consider doing that with a US group. It is a big financial and time commitment but for some people it works. There is considerable variation between zen groups so if you did consider this to be an option I'd suggest having a good look around, maybe listening to some online talks from different teachers to see which feels right. Some zen groups are purely Soto, some Rinzai and some, like mine a hybrid. Different approaches appeal to different people.
Another possible option is an online sangha with a teacher. There is a online Soto Zen sangha called Treeleaf. The teacher Jundo is based in Japan but they have members around the world. They have zazen sessions, services and talks which people join in online. I think he works with people one-to-one and has even ordained monks which does involve getting to know a student pretty well. I only know Jundo from Facebook not in real life but he seems kind, genuine and helpful. It's not the same as a face-to-face teacher but it could be a starting point if the other options don't fit for you.
12 days ago
Hi Sarah, thank you again for your detailed response! Yes, Hawaii is a beautiful place to live. Where do you reside? I have heard of Diamond Sangha but never been there. It was Daihonzen Chozen-ji that I have trained at before. I am doing a retreat this weekend with the vipassana group so perhaps I will make a connection there and I plan to try one of their Sunday sittings as well. The website lists several teachers but I'm not sure they are actively taking on students. Treeleaf looks very interesting and I will check out that website more to see if it might be helpful. I am open to the idea of attending retreats in other parts of the US to make a connection with a teacher as well. How long have you been working with your teacher?
12 days ago
I live in Liverpool in northern England - it is wet and urban here. Not at all like Hawaii!
I hope it works out well with the vipassana group. At least you have choices. Always a good position to be in.
I've only been working with my teacher for 3 years but pretty intensively. Until a current set of health problems I was at the centre 5 times most weeks and have crammed an awful lot of retreats into those three years. I am a bit of a retreat addict. I've got another one coming up in a couple of weeks.
Our centre has connections with Zen Mountain Center in California (Yokoji) and until recently their teacher Tenshin Roshi (who is my teacher's teacher - all teachers ideally need their own teacher to help point out their own blind spots, I don't think anyone is every 'done' with learning and practice) would come over most years to jointly lead a retreat for us. There are so many well respected zen sanghas in the USA though that you would be spoilt for choice. If you do ever try the Diamond Sangha however I'd be interested to hear what it is like.
Wishing you well with your practice whatever direction it goes it.
12 days ago
Wow England! Thanks for your well wishes. Yes it is good to have options. I really liked the Treeleaf website but I'm having a problem with the website so I am unable to register or send a contact to have them fix the issue. Have you used that site? I'll let you know if I check out the Diamond Sangha. That's really wonderful that you have been practicing so much and find time for the retreats. It seems overwhelming sometimes with all the options out there in terms of different types of meditation and different schools. How did you know that Zen is right for you? I feel like I am trying to figure it all out. I like to read lots of books on spirituality and meditation- there's just so much out there on the subject.
11 days ago
No I've not tried much of the Treeleaf site other than their forum. I've just tried it and it seems to be ok on my computer so maybe it was a temporary blip.
I fell upon zen by chance and just knew it was the right fit for me. I've been very lucky with my local zen centre and sangha. A warm supportive and welcoming group that I felt at home with from my very first visit. I'd started sitting seriously just as a spell of being bedbound with health issues hit me so I was sitting alone. Once I was more mobile I knew I wanted to sit with others. I tried a drop in group, based loosely on vipassana approaches but this group had a lot of talking and used guided meditation. I felt a need to sit in silence and simplicity, not following as-you-go instructions. A friend suggested zen might be a better fit for me. I'd not even considered zen as in my mind it had associations of austerity, seriousness and order. I'm not very like that. Luckily our centre isn't either and the forms and rituals that we do continue feel like a supportive framework rather than a straitjacket. My assumptions were wrong.
There is indeed a lot of options and so many books and podcasts etc. Sometimes just trying something out and seeing how it feels for us is more important. The understanding can follow. I know people who put off sitting for years hoping to understand it first. I don't think it can work that way. It has to be experiential as well.
11 days ago
Yes it does seem best to jump right in and start sitting as you gain more and more understanding about meditation. I was able to contact the teacher and they fixed the website. I do like the videos so far and am finding it quite helpful! Thank you so much for the recommendation- I had been searching the internet for something along these lines that's when I came across this site as well. Anything to support my practice that holds my attention is great! I do like Zen and the simplicity of it. I agree I prefer silence then the guided meditation approach. Treeleaf is nice as there is access to a teacher and discussions to support your practice. It's been so nice having someone to talk to about meditation and being inspired by all the meditation that you do. You are on quite the meditation streak! I hope to follow in those footsteps. Before I was caught up in not making meditation a priority but I am quickly changing my attitude. I had trouble sitting alone before but now I am able to much easier. I am reminded how important it is to sit daily.
11 days ago
Wonderful, Keeping a practice going can be tough so we all need all the help we can get. Please keep posting so we can see how you get on. :)
11 days ago