Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

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  • disastermouse

    Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

    Hey all,

    We're told over and over and over - 'Don't judge your practice!' - and yet, over and over and over, we do anyway. Getting back into this practice the last couple of years, I've completely abandoned all judgement of my practice - 'good', 'bad' - it's not really your business - let it be.

    Experiment with it. Try it for a week. Actively restrain yourself from judging your practice and see how it changes things.

    This is merely a suggestion....but I think it's a good one.

    Chet
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39216

    #2
    Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

    Originally posted by disastermouse
    Hey all,

    We're told over and over and over - 'Don't judge your practice!' - and yet, over and over and over, we do anyway. Getting back into this practice the last couple of years, I've completely abandoned all judgement of my practice - 'good', 'bad' - it's not really your business - let it be.

    Experiment with it. Try it for a week. Actively restrain yourself from judging your practice and see how it changes things.

    This is merely a suggestion....but I think it's a good one.

    Chet
    And at the same time ... we keep pushing ahead with sincerity. The Way is not complacency or giving up. We "Just Sit" with hands in the Mudra, which is not just sitting down twiddling our thumbs. Much like an energetic run through the mountains without need to arrive, each step by step the total arrival ... yet on and on forward with body-mind.

    This is important to realize.

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=14695
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • disastermouse

      #3
      Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

      Originally posted by Jundo
      Originally posted by disastermouse
      Hey all,

      We're told over and over and over - 'Don't judge your practice!' - and yet, over and over and over, we do anyway. Getting back into this practice the last couple of years, I've completely abandoned all judgement of my practice - 'good', 'bad' - it's not really your business - let it be.

      Experiment with it. Try it for a week. Actively restrain yourself from judging your practice and see how it changes things.

      This is merely a suggestion....but I think it's a good one.

      Chet
      And at the same time ... we keep pushing ahead with sincerity. The Way is not complacency or giving up. We "Just Sit" with hands in the Mudra, which is not just sitting down twiddling our thumbs. Much like an energetic run through the mountains without need to arrive, each step by step the total arrival ... yet on and on forward with body-mind.

      This is important to realize.

      http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=14695
      I'm talking more about the post-game analysis, Jundo. Yes, sincere effort is required.

      Chet

      Comment

      • disastermouse

        #4
        Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

        Jundo,

        Did you think I meant don't judge when you don't practice? I guess all I meant was that sometimes when I talk to people, they say things like, 'My zazen was no good today, my mind never settled down, I was disturbed, I couldn't focus, (etc)'. My response is always, 'Yeah, welcome to the human mind..' I guess what I'm saying is 'Don't judge the content of your practice.' I would think that sincere effort would be implied - why sit if you're sitting without sincere effort? The thing is, even with sincere effort, people think that they didn't get the 'right' results when they sit.

        People will say, "My mind wanders and five minutes later, I realize I've gone on this crazy ride." Well yeah, but it was the noticing and bringing it back to just this that is the practice. This might get 'better' after more practice, but I don't think that's really the point. The point is, you noticed that you were hooked into a wild ride and then you unhooked. Yeah, it took five minutes, but it didn't take ten. I don't see how judging a zazen period filled with unsettled thoughts as 'bad' does very much but reinforce this idea of zazen practice as the attempt to become the accomplished meditator.

        Chet

        Comment

        • Shugen
          Treeleaf Unsui
          • Nov 2007
          • 4535

          #5
          Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

          Originally posted by disastermouse
          People will say, "My mind wanders and five minutes later, I realize I've gone on this crazy ride." Well yeah, but it was the noticing and bringing it back to just this that is the practice. This might get 'better' after more practice, but I don't think that's really the point. The point is, you noticed that you were hooked into a wild ride and then you unhooked. Yeah, it took five minutes, but it didn't take ten. I don't see how judging a zazen period filled with unsettled thoughts as 'bad' does very much but reinforce this idea of zazen practice as the attempt to become the accomplished meditator.

          Chet
          Very nice description of one my bad habits.

          Thank you Chet.

          Ron
          Meido Shugen
          明道 修眼

          Comment

          • Shohei
            Member
            • Oct 2007
            • 2854

            #6
            Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

            Gassho

            Shohei

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39216

              #7
              Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

              Originally posted by disastermouse
              Jundo,

              Did you think I meant don't judge when you don't practice? I guess all I meant was that sometimes when I talk to people, they say things like, 'My zazen was no good today, my mind never settled down, I was disturbed, I couldn't focus, (etc)'. My response is always, 'Yeah, welcome to the human mind..' I guess what I'm saying is 'Don't judge the content of your practice.' I would think that sincere effort would be implied - why sit if you're sitting without sincere effort? The thing is, even with sincere effort, people think that they didn't get the 'right' results when they sit.
              I'm fully with you Chet, well said. Yeah baby!

              I just drop in my caution, not for you, but for beginners who might hear "don't judge your practice" and think it is a license to just sit there playing and wallowing in all the mental crap, or to sit there like a lump on a dead log. They may hear "goalless" and conclude "pointless, time killing sitting is the point". They should realize that "not judging" and dropping "right and wrong" does not mean there is not a right and wrong way to sit! 8) :shock:

              Barry Magid (an heir to Joko Beck ... He is also a clinical psychologist, which comes through in some of his lingo sometimes.) has a good article pretty much up the same alley with your comment, Chet.

              http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p ... more-15176

              Gassho, J
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Dosho
                Member
                • Jun 2008
                • 5784

                #8
                Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

                Originally posted by rculver

                Very nice description of one my bad habits.

                Thank you Chet.

                Ron
                Ditto...but I'll just say "habits" and try not to call it "bad". But I usually think of it as bad anyway. Good post!

                Gassho,
                Dosho

                Comment

                • disastermouse

                  #9
                  Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

                  Originally posted by Dosho
                  Originally posted by rculver

                  Very nice description of one my bad habits.

                  Thank you Chet.

                  Ron
                  Ditto...but I'll just say "habits" and try not to call it "bad". But I usually think of it as bad anyway. Good post!

                  Gassho,
                  Dosho
                  Great! But will you try the experiment? One week of practice wthout judgement.

                  Chet

                  Comment

                  • ghop
                    Member
                    • Jan 2010
                    • 438

                    #10
                    Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

                    Originally posted by Jundo
                    Barry Magid (an heir to Joko Beck ... He is also a clinical psychologist, which comes through in some of his lingo sometimes.) has a good article pretty much up the same alley with your comment, Chet.

                    http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p ... more-15176
                    Wow! Thanks Jundo. This is a cool article.

                    Not to jump in but... I've been going at it pretty regularly since I got laid off and
                    for the past week or so it's been wonderful. Then out of nowhere...BAM! Since
                    yesterday it's like I'm sitting with my head in that blender that you talked about
                    on your blog. No explanation. Haven't been eating bad or doing anything any different.
                    I'm trying to have peace with the fact that my peace got took away. But I like what
                    the article says, that sitting is like a mirror. You don't have to do anything, it just
                    automatically shows you what's going on in your field of experience...not always a
                    pretty sight! :wink:

                    gassho
                    ghop

                    Comment

                    • Dosho
                      Member
                      • Jun 2008
                      • 5784

                      #11
                      Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

                      Originally posted by disastermouse
                      Originally posted by Dosho
                      Originally posted by rculver

                      Very nice description of one my bad habits.

                      Thank you Chet.

                      Ron
                      Ditto...but I'll just say "habits" and try not to call it "bad". But I usually think of it as bad anyway. Good post!

                      Gassho,
                      Dosho
                      Great! But will you try the experiment? One week of practice wthout judgement.

                      Chet
                      Yes, I will try (Master Yoda is whispering something in my ear about "do or do not")...so, I will do.



                      Gassho,
                      Dosho

                      Comment

                      • AlanLa
                        Member
                        • Mar 2008
                        • 1405

                        #12
                        Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

                        Yes, I have been trying to not judge my zazen for a while now. I agree with the thought behind this, but from my experience it's really hard, because our minds have been conditioned to judge. So, i would temper this a bit by saying don't invest anything in those inevitable judgments of your practice once they happen. Discarding those judgements is just another part of the process/practice.
                        AL (Jigen) in:
                        Faith/Trust
                        Courage/Love
                        Awareness/Action!

                        I sat today

                        Comment

                        • disastermouse

                          #13
                          Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

                          Ghop: Your peace didn't go anywhere - just like the blue sky is still there above the clouds - and it even IS the clouds. If your peace requires the clear sky, it's just another conditioned situational peace that can and will come and go like all conditioned things. There's even peace in 'not-peace' - the basic ground of Buddha is not conditioned.

                          IMHO.

                          Chet

                          Comment

                          • disastermouse

                            #14
                            Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

                            Originally posted by AlanLa
                            Yes, I have been trying to not judge my zazen for a while now. I agree with the thought behind this, but from my experience it's really hard, because our minds have been conditioned to judge. So, i would temper this a bit by saying don't invest anything in those inevitable judgments of your practice once they happen. Discarding those judgements is just another part of the process/practice.
                            Yeah, it is hard..until it isn't anymore. I'm sure it's different for everyone - but I was crushed by mt expectations regarding the practice and the sheer magnitude of the stupidity of my actions make it a lasting lesson.

                            Chet

                            Comment

                            • ghop
                              Member
                              • Jan 2010
                              • 438

                              #15
                              Re: Experiment: Don't judge your practice (really!)

                              Originally posted by disastermouse
                              Ghop: Your peace didn't go anywhere - just like the blue sky is still there above the clouds - and it even IS the clouds. If your peace requires the clear sky, it's just another conditioned situational peace that can and will come and go like all conditioned things. There's even peace in 'not-peace' - the basic ground of Buddha is not conditioned.
                              Thanks Chet. It's all just so hard to grasp because the mind that I'm trying to grasp it with doens't even exist. It definitely feels like I'm "doing it right" when things flow peacefully along, and "doing it wrong" when my mind is nothing but gravel. It's like I keep wanting to look through a window and then I am told that I am the window, but I don't feel like the window, I feel like I'm standing inside the room looking out. Does that make sense? When the mind starts churning again after a period of peace I start doubting "objectless" sitting and I want to start counting or following my breath, thinking I will find the desired results there since I lost them here. But I can tell a difference between sitting now compared to even four months ago when I started. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but something is different...not better just more clear, more open. Anyway, thanks!

                              gassho
                              ghop

                              Comment

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