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I am able to sit in floor in half lotus pose and meditate 30 minutes at s time.

Originally I did once in morning and once at night but I have been looking to also do once before lunch and once after lunch (at least when I'm home from work) making it 4 times, total two hours.

At this point I am trying to determine how to do the two mid-day meditations on the days I go to work. I am thinking perhaps once in morning, once after breakfast before I get train, once when I come home from work and once at night.

Do meditations need to be spread out? And what happens if I am too sleepy to do meditation that I must skip else I will fall asleep during meditation?

Thanks !

  • 1
    Are you going about your day meditatively? Are you mindful in all you do? Do you walk, eat, talk, work, etc... mindfully? While adding more meditation time can be a good thing, don't forget that everything you do can be a meditation. You can go deep while on the cushion, but your entire life can be a practice. – R. Barzell Dec 29 '14 at 22:20
  • @R.Barzell at this point, no I'm not mindful. However when I have negative and angry thoughts I remind myself that God doesn't allow pain without something new being born, and that I mindfully give my pain to God and ask for happiness in return. I guess you can call that mindfulness to some extent, but otherwise, I'm rather overwhelmed with this type of mindfulness. When I meditate I am eventually able to concentrate on my breath, and sometimes I get great ideas about things. – Glowie Dec 30 '14 at 1:40
  • I hope not to offend as I express some concern over the role of God in your practice. Instead of judging you, I could point you to these answers which have taught me a lot: buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/4043/… So take it or leave it; if anything, the answers will help with your original question too. – Anthony Dec 30 '14 at 3:24
  • @qweilun --- yes I totally understand .. I think ... in Bhagavad Gita they say purpose of Yoga is to realize the inner self and the outer self, or God is one and the same .... I subscribe to that notion that we have power within us ... after all the force that created us out a part of us in him ... I'm not sure what Buddhism says about this though, but I find at this stage that thinking of God, this life force who created us, certainly helps us in our life journey. Like when bad things happen there is always a reason ... hope I'm not rambling .... – Glowie Dec 30 '14 at 3:39
  • Well, the great thing about Buddhism is that you don't have to become Buddhist to practice and realize the benefits. It sounds like you are already benefiting. – Anthony Dec 30 '14 at 4:07
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How often should you meditate? The short answer is every day, and don't overdo it.

The long answer: If, like me, you want a lasting improvement in your day-to-day affairs, you should prioritize application and regularity, while evaluating your practice critically, and if possible, taking a course in meditation.

Application

After you finish sitting, can you keep on applying what you've learned for the next 5 minutes? For the next 10 minutes? For the next 10 hours, even? This is something that comes with practice, and moreso if your practice is regular.

R.Barzell's comment about going about your day mindfully is important, because meditation is worth more if you take it as a training on how to handle daily life. When someone says something that used to offend you, if you can look at that the same way you look at your breath, that's a huge benefit. On the other hand you might make many beginner's mistakes, such as thinking "Meditation is an escape from reality that will make me feel good" or being overconfident and smug about your supposed progress. Both are mistakes I have made in the past.

Regularity

Regularity will make or break your practice. Even if you only sit 10 minutes, you'll get huge benefits from practicing every day, regardless of which tradition you practice (assuming that you stick to a tradition and don't make a random fruit basket of traditions). So if you're sitting for 30 minutes a day every day, you should ideally make more progress than someone who only sits 10 minutes a day every day. But all of this probably doesn't matter if you can't evaluate your practice critically.

Right Reflection

This means asking the right questions about your practice.

  • What was gained from this practice? What was lost?
  • Does this teacher have good qualities? Bad qualities?
  • Is there more or less suffering as a result of the practice?
  • Am I more prone to distraction or more focused?

To be clear, I don't mean you should to overly analyze this in the mind as our logical abilities can only take us so far. What I mean is to keep an eye out. Try things and see how it goes. As some say, check yourself before you wreck yourself (I really like that expression, hah).

Sleepiness

This one probably varies depending on what tradition you practice. In the Mahasi Sayadaw school, any experience that arises should be the main object of meditation. This goes for sleepiness, so if you're sleepy, focus on that. Either you'll fall asleep or the sleepiness will go away. We shouldn't worry about falling asleep, but, in the case that we start worrying, then we should meditate on the worrying itself.

Take a Course

Finally, there's great value in taking a course under an accomplished teacher. A teacher can correct your practice when it goes astray—I know my practice went astray plenty of times, so I'm grateful to my teacher for helping with that. On a course you will probably meditate during every waking hour for many days consecutively. While this may seem to oppose the idea of meditating 10 minutes a day every day, think how much more you can gain from a consistent practice, when you have under your belt lessons learned from 50 or so hours of nearly continuous meditation under the guidance of a teacher.

Beware the Lotus

I forgot to add, be careful about sitting with one leg on top of the other, or even worse, both legs on top of each other. If you don't have the requisite flexibility in your hip sockets, you will do long-term damage to your knees as they bend in ways they are not built to handle. Much less strenuous is Burmese position, where one leg is in front of the other.

  • @qweilum ... this is lot of great info. I started meditation so I learn how to think clearly, to focus and concentrate more sharply. I have suffered greatly in life because I was not aware of my surroundings, because I was less observant and less sharp than others. What's worse, I couldn't figure out what the universe, or the voice inside me was trying to tell me and now I am recovering from a terrible situation that is too big for me (hence I ask God fir help when I don't know the answers) ... at this point I am looking for meditation to help ease anxiety, make wiser choices, improve health – Glowie Dec 30 '14 at 3:51
  • you are absolutely right about the sitting position. I either sit Burmese style or I sit in m bed against a straight pillow and legs straight on the bed – Glowie Dec 30 '14 at 3:52
  • to me meditation is a balm .... our inner voice already knows the answers we are seeking – Glowie Dec 30 '14 at 3:53
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Best is divide your time into 2 sessions. One in the morning and one in the evening / night. The rationale is some time if you are overcome by hindrances in one session the other will be productive. Also some mediators are more fruitful in certain hours of the day, but grain this vary from day to day. So splitting it up is a good idea.

Also you need to rub two sticks for some time to get to a critical temperature. So a meditation session should be long enough to gain some critical mass. Ideally 2 hours in total per day is a good time.

This little plant of Dhamma requires service now. Protect it from the criticism of others by making a distinction between the theory, to which some might object, and the practice, which is acceptable to all. Don’t allow such criticism to stop your practice. Meditate one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. This regular, daily practice is essential. At first it may seem a heavy burden to devote two hours a day to meditation, but you will soon find that much time will be saved that was wasted in the past. Firstly, you will need less time for sleep. Secondly, you will be able to complete your work more quickly, because your capacity for work will increase. When a problem arises you will remain balanced, and will be able immediately to find the correct solution. As you become established in the technique, you will find that having meditated in the morning, you are full of energy throughout the day, without any agitation.

...

When you go to bed at night, for five minutes be aware of sensations anywhere in the body before you fall asleep. Next morning, as soon as you wake up, again observe sensations within for five minutes. These few minutes of meditation immediately before falling asleep and after waking up will prove very helpful.

...

Daily meditation of two hours and yearly retreats of ten days are only the minimum necessary to maintain the practice. If you have more free time, you should use it for meditation. You may do short courses of a week, or a few days, even one day. In such short courses, devote the first one third of your time to the practice of Anapana, and the rest to Vipassana.

Source: The Discourse Summaries by S.N.Goenka

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