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I do not have the finances to go to a dedicated meditation retreat but do not see why I cannot recreate the environment at home. I am unemployed but financially dependent and already live a pretty austere lifestyle so just by cutting out some elements may be able to create a strong meditative environment. Not sure how many days would be a good idea for a beginner. I spend almost 90% of my day at my computer. Here is a typical day:

7:00 - Wake up
8:00 - Have breakfast with family
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|--- Spend time at computer
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1:00 - Lunch with family
|
|--- Spend time at computer maybe sleeping for 1 hour inbetween
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6:30 - Exercise at gym
7:00 - Shower
7:30 - Formal meditation
8:00 - Dinner with family
|
|--- Spend time at computer
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11:00- Go to bed

Most of my time at the computer is spent browsing internet, reading, listening to popular music or watching movies. Besides my family I have no social contacts since I live in a city where I don't currently speak the language. My mobile phone rings about 2-3 times a month and most of those are wrong numbers.

I was thinking I could spend a few days where I stop internet, music and movies. Also only use computer for 3 hours each day. 1 hour each in morning, afternoon and evening. Spend that time on computer reading spiritual documents only. When I am not on computer I can alternate between formal meditation(sitting) and walking meditation. Not sure if I should stop exercise(I only do jogging on treadmill). I can also only have vegetarian meals and reduce portion size.

Any suggestions?

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First purify your conduct by keeping to the 8 precepts

5.00 AM: Waking up

5.00 to 5.15 AM: Personal Grooming Mindfully

5.15 to 5.30 AM: Take refuge in the Triple Gem and take the 8 precepts

5.30 to 6.00 AM: Sitting Meditation

6.00 to 6.30 AM: Walking Meditation

6.30 to 7.00 AM: Sitting Meditation

7.00 to 7.30 AM: Walking Meditation

7.30 to 8.00 AM: Sitting Meditation

8.00 to 8.30 AM: Have breakfast mindfully. Do not get involved in worldly chatter.

8.30 to 9.00 AM: Walking Meditation

9.00 AM to 1.00 PM: Sitting & Walking meditation(30 minute sessions)

1.00 PM to 1.30 PM: Have lunch mindfully. Do not get involved in worldly chatter.

1.30 PM to 2.00 PM: Walking Meditation

2.00 PM to 3.00 PM: Sitting & Walking Meditation(30 minute sessions)

3.00 PM to 4.00 PM: Lying meditation until you fall asleep

4.00 PM to 6.30 PM: Sitting & Walking Meditation(30 minute sessions)

6.30 PM to 7.00 PM: Exercise Mindfully

7.00 PM to 7.30 PM: Shower Mindfully

7.30 PM to 8.00 PM: Sitting Meditation

8.00 PM to 8.30 PM: Have dinner mindfully. Do not get involved in worldly chatter.

8.30 PM to 9.00 PM: Walking meditation

9.00 PM to 9.30 PM: Sitting Meditation

9.30 PM to 9.45 PM: Walking Meditation

9.45 PM to 10.00 PM: Personal Grooming Mindfully

10.00 PM: Lying meditation until you fall asleep

Here is a guide book on how to do sitting and walking meditation: http://www.sirimangalo.org/text/how-to-meditate/

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You seem to have enough time, why not become financially independent by taking up a job & earning some money? (To put it straight: don't use meditation as an excuse to be lazy and not engaged with everyday stuff.) Then go to a meditation center. Having a teacher who guides you is essential for efficient practice, not matter how much reading you have done.

Later, you can do home retreats (with a teacher on phone), but make sure you establish yourself in some well-defined practice first, otherwise your mind will start playing games like switching techniques when you get outside of your comfort zone.

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  • 1
    I've tried starting a job many times, even online ones but each time I do I end up hospitalized because of psychosis. I was born with temporal lobe epilepsy in childhood that only became an issue in my 20s. Working as a volunteer for some months only resulted in motor seizures but that still required money I was not earning. – Anoop Alex Nov 16 '16 at 4:00
  • I am sorry for that. Use regular means to deal with your psychiatric condition (I mean psychiatrists, medication, whatever is necessary; do not refuse treatment thinking meditation will save you -- I don't know if that's your case, but some people have that avoidance pattern). Definitely if you do intense meditation, do it under guidance, and make sure you mention this stuff to the teacher upfront. In meditation centers I know, they won't refuse you just because of that, but extra care might be necessary. – eudoxos Nov 17 '16 at 19:04
  • I think you need to try a small scale home garden. It will be a good method to use the time productively earning some income plus healing reducing chance of possible psychosis. And please take the advice of a psychiatrist too before doing what I suggested. As I have heard it is a good method to battle such conditions. – seeker Nov 27 '16 at 3:15
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Meditation is what you can do in every day life, not only at retreat. All your schedule you can do as you like it. The more time spent for sitting meditation, the better you can concentrate as a beginner. I recommend for sitting meditation Anapanasati (breathing in , know it, breathing out, know it)just concentrate on tip of the nose. It is so simple that one may think it is the beginning. In fact, it is Anapanasati(breathing in , know it, breathing out, know it) is the beginning, middle and the goal to enlightenment. The simplest one given by Buddha to be practised by the lay disciples.Each sitting meditation session should be 1 hour. If you cannot focus that long at first, maybe 15 minutes each. All your leisure time if occupied more with Anapanasati, your progress will be amazing. If you wish to read literature on meditation , those written by Mahasi Sayadaw are my choice.

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  • If you have some health problem, please take time in meditation, that mean you can do it but not intensive like six to eight hour of sitting meditation a day. But still can do home spent meditation. Again repeatedly mentioned, strong believe in Dhamma will be of great help in you. Keep trying Anapanasati about four hour a day each session for one hour with strong believe in Dhamma, once you get fourth level Nana (insight knowledge) you will see the great change. But one thing, less and less time on computer and other flickering light objects is to be preferred. – MYO10293 Nov 16 '16 at 18:17
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This is possible through it is ideal to go to a retreat. You can try https://www.dhamma.org/en/index, http://www.internationalmeditationcentre.org/global/index.html with does couses on donation basis. Also there might be suitable teachers in World Buddhist Directory

Since you are doing this on your own and do it wrong it can lead to complications so you have to put is some pre preparations. You should 1st read and build some knowledge.

I found an excellent post hence I just quote it:

Body Scan Meditation

You can use this body scan meditation to strengthen body mindfulness by sweeping your awareness through your body.

Begin at the top of your head and as you breathe, allow your inhalations to focus your attention in this region. Simply be aware of any sensations or vibrations that you experience here.

Then allow your mindful attention to travel slowly down through your body, breath by breath, and part by part. When your awareness reaches your toes, then gently return your attention to the top of your head and once again let your awareness sweep down through your body, lighting each part up with awareness.

Welcome whatever comes to your attention. If what you encounter is pleasurable or painful, let those feelings flow into and through your awareness of the present, ever-changing moment. Let your mindfulness flow through your body like a warm wave or gentle breeze passing through an icefield, or like a pure light shining through a dark crystal.

As the warm light of your awareness sweeps through your body, allow the blocks of tension to melt, soften, and release. Like a magnet passing over a pile of jumbled iron filings, with each pass through your body, feel subtler dimensions of your body beginning to align and flow more smoothly and harmoniously. Pay particular attention to how these subtle sensations change, how everything inside you is moving, vibrating, changing moment to moment.

With practice of this body scan meditation, you will refine your sensitivity to be able to sense, feel, and actually alter the patterns of subtle sensation and energy through the power of your awareness. As you sweep your tender awareness through your body, allow it to flow particularly through regions of discomfort or disease. Gently direct the mind to sweep back and forth, up and down, moving like a laser beam or a floodlight, sweeping from different directions, front to back, top to bottom, diagonally or in spirals.

Intuitively feel how you can best move your attention into a region of internal space and try different approaches until no obstruction or resistance remains. Though at first the body may seem riddled with discomfort or some regions may be impossible to sense or feel at all, gradually these parts of yourself will come alive with sensations and feelings of a more harmonious resonance. As your mindfulness of your body deepens through practice of body scan meditation, it will reveal a treasury of profound insights to you.

Source: http://www.self-guided.com/body-scan-meditation.html

Also do breath meditation. Following material might be of help: Mini Anapana Meditation - An Introductory Session by Mr. S.N. Goenka

Also do some loving kindness meditation. For this perhaps have a look at: http://www.dhammasukha.org/meditation-instructions.html, http://www.dhammasukha.org/metta-barebones-booklet.html

The key here is what ever experience do not get attached or averse to it. Quietly look at the sensations they create. My previous answer to: What should I be mindful of in everyday mindfulness? might also help.

In addition you might also want to look for Guided Meditation instructions online. Even choosing any online guided meditation instruction see if it adheres to the following principles: Any sensation is unsatisfactory this is the link to understand the 4 Noble Truths and also with sensation, according to dependent origination, arises craving which fuels the vicious cycle which keeps you in misery. If this is missing, you will miss the path and benefits of meditation. Also make sure any instruction in these online retreats are not contrary or tangential to the right view as mentioned in the Samma Ditthi Sutta

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Live in the present moment. Don't think about the Past and the Future. Like driving a vehicle. Cut down thinking. Study following links well, before start.
http://www.nissarana.lk/audio-and-publications/publications-english/
http://www.nissarana.lk/file_manager/browseCollections.php?CGroup=2 wwwDOTyoutubeDOTcom/watch?v=LEIUpGmmEGQ

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