...I’ve tried to do this about 3 or 4 times in the past. One of those times, I actually completed it. :-) I do meditate on a fairly regular basis, but this program is pretty rigorous and requires a lot dedication. I really think that right now I would benefit from doing this again, so, I’m going to try again. 9 months ago
Entries from everyone
...yesterday. So far I’ve completed the first two days without a hitch. I am already starting to feel more centered. 21 months ago
...did this once before, but I’ve let my meditation practice lapse… so I’m going to do it again. :)
http://www.tricycle.com/meditate 21 months ago
So during this challenge, I’ve been trying my best to commit to the five precepts. I haven’t posted much here, but I’ve been reflecting on how this has gone.
- The first precept is a commitment to refrain from killing or physical violence. Generally I take the concept of ahimsa, which is common to many spiritual traditions in one form or another, to mean refraining from violence of any kind, not just physical, towards all sentient beings including (perhaps most difficult) oneself – that’s much harder. A more positive view of this (from Nischala Joy Devi) is that you treat all beings with reverence and love. Generally, I try to remember this anyway (I’ve been thinking of making it a goal for some time) although it’s hard to do so and I slip up many times. I had an insight about this and some of the other precepts yesterday, which I’ll get to in a moment.
- The second precept is a commitment to refrain from stealing—or literally, from the sutras, “to refrain from taking that which is not offered or given.” This can be really hard because although I know not to take money, I am often greedy about other things including time and food. If you think about just not stealing, that seems easy enough, but this precept really encompasses something much broader: contentment with what you have, not grasping onto things, open generosity, sharing that which you want most. That is really difficult.
- The third precept is refraining from sexual misconduct. This means we resolve not to use our sexual energy in a way that causes harm or suffering to ourselves or others. There are so many different takes on what this means. It’s always been a challenging one for me. I think I’ve developed a very healthy sexual relationship for the first time in my life so this seems easy right now, though it wasn’t for me in the past.
- The fourth precept is about using the power of speech in an ethical way. Traditionally, we commit to refrain from lying, but actually this precept also covers harsh or idle speech and slander. This one is super difficult for me. I often speak thoughtlessly. I gave up on my “think before I speak” goal long ago and have been unable to bring it back because it seems impossible for me and it’s hard to conceive of how I would work on it.
- The last of the five precepts is a commitment to refrain from taking intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause heedlessness, meaning drugs and alcohol (but not prescription medication). Just like the Tricycle site suggested, this has only really been hard for me in certain social situations because of cultural conditioning, and for the most part I’ve realized they were not as hard as I’ve expected going in. There have only been four times that I’ve really noticed the restriction of this precept (the last and hardest will be this evening). I probably won’t continue to hold this precept after I complete this program, but maybe I’ll work on not drinking automatically in situations when I otherwise would.
My insight from yesterday that relates particularly to precepts 1, 2, and 4, is that what these really require is slowing down. I had this insight during walking meditation, when I had conscious awareness of all the bodily movements that go into every step I take every day but am usually totally unaware of. By slowing down enough, I enter a place in my heart that is pure love and peace. I cannot speak a harmful or unauthentic word, I am naturally generous and expansive, and I feel love for everyone and everything. It is only when I speed up that I can act out of anger or stress or selfishness. Huh. You can believe I’ll be thinking about that one a lot more. 2 years ago
I completed my full-day sit today. It was intense. I got up at 6, had a light breakfast and some tea, and then started sitting at sunrise (6:35). I meditated in two-hour blocks, each with alternating sitting and walking meditation of at least 30 minutes (some lying down because my back hurt). I had a 30-minute break in the morning and another in the afternoon, and a two-hour lunch. I sat until sunset (5:30).
Parts of the day were wonderful – blissful, peaceful, grateful, clearheaded, present. Parts of the day were terribly difficult – physically painful, sleepy, tense, visited repeatedly by difficult thoughts and feelings, and just plain wanting to stop. I also did not have any coffee today, just black tea, and I suffered a bit from the effects of caffeine withdrawal and from not having gotten as much sleep as usual. I don’t usually get caffeine withdrawal from switching to tea for one day, so that means I’ve been drinking too much coffee of late.
I had some amazing insights and was revisited by strange old memories, but for the most part I did not get deep into the meditative state for an extended period. Unfortunately, physical discomfort has been causing me problems with this. I didn’t expect my big lesson from this experience to be a physical one, but in fact, I’m leaving Commit to Sit with new knowledge of what my body needs to be healthy and comfortable. I’m not quite done yet – this is Day 26 and I’ll still do 2 sitting and 2 walking sessions a day for the next two days. 2 years ago
I’ve been having trouble with back pain (blogging about that recently) but I’ve been sticking it out. I’ve decided to do my dedicated full-day meditation tomorrow, which means I’ll turn my phone off and be unavailable to work, and I’ll be putting other concerns on hold and focusing on meditation. It will be good to do it on Friday since C will be at work. I will finish my 28 days with regular Week 4 sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
Sunrise is 6:35 and sunset is 5:30 here now. I’ll rise early around 6:00 and have some cereal and tea before I get started. I’m planning two hour sessions, alternating sitting and walking (maybe some savasana if I feel my back needs it and I can stay awake) with 30-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon and a two-hour break midday. I expect it to be intense and I’m apprehensive, especially with the physical issues I’ve been experiencing, but I believe I can do it in an intentional and careful way without causing myself harm. 2 years ago
After a few days of feeling just terrible about meditation and really fighting it, I’m coming into a better place. I’ve started with 45-minute sits this weekend and am enjoying them. I’m having some trouble with back pain but I’m learning to work with it and learning a lot about my body too.Here I am, beginning the final week of Commit to Sit next weekend! The time commitment goes up yet another notch:
- Monday to Friday: two 45-minute sits each day in the morning and evening, plus two periods of walking meditation each day (any length)
- Weekend: the big one – one full day of meditation (sunrise to sunset), alternating sitting and walking, with one morning and one afternoon break and a two-hour lunch break.
In order to handle this part of the challenge, I am considering moving the weekend full-day sit to one of the weekdays when C is not at home, possibly Thursday or Friday. If this is not possible, I will dedicate Sunday to this practice (and he’ll probably go off somewhere else). I have a party to attend Saturday night, which will be an added challenge in a couple of ways: a social situation (most of those are hard for me) to be handled without alcohol, and probably not a good match for my head space in a lot of ways. However, I have reasons why I want to attend and I will make it work for me. :)
This has been an incredible experience! 2 years ago
Yesterday was a tough day in many ways. I did not get in my walking session before leaving (though I did do a 30-minute morning sit) and got back late so there were a lot of things vying for my time and attention. Once again, I reduced the walking meditation sessions to 15 minutes each and did the evening 30-minute sit. So far, I haven’t skipped anything, just adapted the time. My sits have been rough again – I’m experiencing some pain in my body, probably from running around like a crazy person and not doing enough yoga or relaxation or self-care.
Today, I sat late but I’m doing a bit better because I got in my morning sit and first walking session (20 minutes this time) before noon. Taking more time for myself today and I’ll go to yoga this evening as well. All steps in the right direction. 2 years ago
This is the first time it’s felt really challenging – challenging to get done, anyway. I’ve been internally challenged, but that’s different. The time commitment has really stepped up a notch this week. Yesterday, it was a little tough with work; I did my 30-minute sit and 20-minute walking meditation session in the morning, another 20 minutes of walking in the evening, and then left my last 30-minute sit a bit too late. Wasn’t too bad though.
Today was tougher because I was called in to sub this morning at the last minute and barely had time to eat breakfast and pack a lunch, never mind sitting. Therefore, I finally sat down on my cushion for my “morning” meditation session at 6:20 PM. :( I coped by shortening the walking sessions to 15-minutes (it says ‘of any length’) and did two of them on either side of a 30-minute sit. I was so tired I could barely stay awake during the sitting portion. I’m taking a dinner/ work break and then will sit again for 30 minutes. Should be OK.
Tomorrow’s my “long” work day (I teach a lab as well as a class) but I should still have time to get in my sit and a 20- or 30-minute walking session before I leave. The rest of the week should be easier (I hope).
I guess this is why they call it a challenge. 2 years ago
- Monday to Friday – 30 min seated meditation in the morning and evening, plus two sessions of walking meditation of any length each day, with a focus on emotions and hindrances.
- Weekend – a total of 4 hours of meditation in sessions of at least 30 minutes. 2 years ago