Stress, life, and zazen

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  • Nengyo
    Member
    • May 2012
    • 668

    Stress, life, and zazen

    The last week and a half were super stressful for me. I was taking way over a full summer load in school in preparation for graduating. As the work and studying piled up I first abandoned zazen and then any form of mindfulness. Although it isn't optimal it didn't really surprise me as time was short, I was stressed, and family was staying over at the house for the graduation adding to the chaos. I kept telling myself just to survive till this Saturday, graduate, and then I would get right back into the groove. So, Saturday comes and goes, I graduate, and the family leaves back for home. Sunday evening I told myself I would get back into the routine Monday. I was excited. Then Monday came and I dreaded the thought of doing zazen, checking the forum, or doing anything related to practice. Tuesday was much the same. Wednesday I forced myself to sit for 10 minutes, but my mind raced the entire time. Finally yesterday I sat for 20 minutes and it felt ok.

    I guess why I'm writing, is that is was the first time since I've started meditating that I felt a dread for sitting, as if it were a burden. I don't know if I just needed to de-stress from everything, including zazen, but it was odd. Sitting is not very difficult and for most of the day I was sitting three feet from my alter only surfing the net on mindless websites.

    So, what the rest of you do when time and energy are on short supply. The best I could muster during this last push was an occasional gatha or a few mindful breaths.

    As an aside, I would also like to know if the old meditation timer with the heart sutra is hidden somewhere on site. My old link no longer works. I loved that version of the heart sutra and sometimes the "reward" of hearing them chant was enough motivation to get on the cushion!
    If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?
  • Kyotai

    #2
    Hello,

    Thanks very much for your post. Firstly, congratulations on graduating. All that time and effort, must be nice to have it finally come to an end.

    Alot of what you said, I can identify with. Occassionally when I am not as motivated for zazen, in an effort to get my mind "into it." I will surf treeleaf, youtube videos, anything to get me psyched up, before long I have wasted so much time, when I could have just sat.

    I think though, that is the point, sitting with lack of energy, or the short supply. Sitting with lack of motivation, or sitting with a troubled or pre-occupied mind (even super stressed). It is all zazen. No positive, strong mind set required for preparing to sit, we just sit with what is. Easier said then done obviously, but very easy when you (don't) think about it. My confusion, lack of motivation, always comes from not sitting for a few days and snow balls.

    I try and make zazen a part of my day, like eating dinner. I would never miss a meal, I would go hungry if I did. Well, if I miss a sit, well..you get the point.

    Then again, zazen is everything we do in life, sitting, shopping, graduating, its all on opportunity to be present.

    Lately I have been sitting on google hangouts with some of our trealeafers. Great way to feed off someone's energy when you yourself are struggling with sitting, (especially at 530 in the morning!)

    Gassho.

    Shawn

    Comment

    • Koshin
      Member
      • Feb 2012
      • 938

      #3
      Congratulations on your graduation

      When it is much stress, I do the same, runing all around trying to fix everything, a few times I felt that zazen was another chore to get done, but I sat, most of the times with my mind running around thinking in all the things I had to do after Zazen, and all the things I was not doing because of Zazen....but I guess it is ok, cloudy zazen is zazen anyway, returning one time and again to non-thinking, and I just skiped zazen a few days.... I even "sat" driving, or waiting for something in a line, or walking somewhere, just to convince myself that in that day I did not miss zazen :P

      Stress it is been a little lower this days, so I have been sitting without missing a day a couple of months, and now it is funny, I have been sitting two periods of 30 min in the morning and in the evening, sometimes a short sit in the office, but when things get complicated and I can manage to only sit a few minutes at night (just to not miss zazen), the next morning I feel like I have not been sitting in ages :P

      I love the old meditation timer, I downloaded the flash movie so I have it at my hands anytime, but I cannot upload it here, it says "Invalid file type"...maybe Treeleaf´s engineers can post a link to download it :P

      Gassho
      Thank you for your practice

      Comment

      • Dokan
        Friend of Treeleaf
        • Dec 2010
        • 1222

        #4
        Originally posted by lipor
        I love the old meditation timer, I downloaded the flash movie so I have it at my hands anytime, but I cannot upload it here, it says "Invalid file type"...maybe Treeleaf´s engineers can post a link to download it :P


        Gassho,

        Dokan
        We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
        ~Anaïs Nin

        Comment

        • Dosho
          Member
          • Jun 2008
          • 5784

          #5

          Comment

          • Rich
            Member
            • Apr 2009
            • 2601

            #6
            Nothing to gain

            Originally posted by catfish
            The last week and a half were super stressful for me. I was taking way over a full summer load in school in preparation for graduating. As the work and studying piled up I first abandoned zazen and then any form of mindfulness. Although it isn't optimal it didn't really surprise me as time was short, I was stressed, and family was staying over at the house for the graduation adding to the chaos. I kept telling myself just to survive till this Saturday, graduate, and then I would get right back into the groove. So, Saturday comes and goes, I graduate, and the family leaves back for home. Sunday evening I told myself I would get back into the routine Monday. I was excited. Then Monday came and I dreaded the thought of doing zazen, checking the forum, or doing anything related to practice. Tuesday was much the same. Wednesday I forced myself to sit for 10 minutes, but my mind raced the entire time. Finally yesterday I sat for 20 minutes and it felt ok.

            I guess why I'm writing, is that is was the first time since I've started meditating that I felt a dread for sitting, as if it were a burden. I don't know if I just needed to de-stress from everything, including zazen, but it was odd. Sitting is not very difficult and for most of the day I was sitting three feet from my alter only surfing the net on mindless websites.

            So, what the rest of you do when time and energy are on short supply. The best I could muster during this last push was an occasional gatha or a few mindful breaths.

            As an aside, I would also like to know if the old meditation timer with the heart sutra is hidden somewhere on site. My old link no longer works. I loved that version of the heart sutra and sometimes the "reward" of hearing them chant was enough motivation to get on the cushion!

            We probably have a tendency to take on more than we can handle. If we just listened to our thinking we would probably never sit zazen. The best we can do is try to find some balance and sitting in the posture is a good start. Now that my knee and back are better I mostly enjoy sitting but I have my limits and don't push them too hard. There is nothing to gain.
            _/_
            Rich
            MUHYO
            無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

            https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

            Comment

            • Seimyo
              Member
              • Jan 2012
              • 861

              #7
              The meditation timers as well as any other Flash-based objects featured in Treeleaf 1.0 have been removed from the site because they were causing some issues with search engines directing people back to Treeleaf 1.0. Everything has been archived, but it will stay offline unless I can dismantle it to remove old URL's embedded in it.

              It would be great to replace the timers in the future with something updated. If anyone knows how to develop in Flash and would like to take a shot at building new timers, it would be welcome.

              Gassho,
              Chris

              明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

              Comment

              • Risho
                Member
                • May 2010
                • 3179

                #8
                Zazen can be like exercising. Sometimes you don't feel like doing it. Sometimes you love it. But when you make a commitment to something, it doesn't matter. That being said, I miss sittings too. Sometimes I'm in the groove, sometimes things come up, but I know it's my fault that I de-prioritize it. Then I beat myself up about it, which does no good. Then I finally just shut the hell up (mentally) and get back to sitting. lol I do know that when I get back to sitting it's good to sometimes start slow (like the 15 min minimum), but that's just my quirkiness.

                Oh and congrats!
                Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                Comment

                • Nengyo
                  Member
                  • May 2012
                  • 668

                  #9
                  Originally posted by zen_rook
                  Hello,

                  Thanks very much for your post. Firstly, congratulations on graduating. All that time and effort, must be nice to have it finally come to an end.

                  Alot of what you said, I can identify with. Occassionally when I am not as motivated for zazen, in an effort to get my mind "into it." I will surf treeleaf, youtube videos, anything to get me psyched up, before long I have wasted so much time, when I could have just sat.

                  I think though, that is the point, sitting with lack of energy, or the short supply. Sitting with lack of motivation, or sitting with a troubled or pre-occupied mind (even super stressed). It is all zazen. No positive, strong mind set required for preparing to sit, we just sit with what is. Easier said then done obviously, but very easy when you (don't) think about it. My confusion, lack of motivation, always comes from not sitting for a few days and snow balls.

                  I try and make zazen a part of my day, like eating dinner. I would never miss a meal, I would go hungry if I did. Well, if I miss a sit, well..you get the point.

                  Then again, zazen is everything we do in life, sitting, shopping, graduating, its all on opportunity to be present.

                  Lately I have been sitting on google hangouts with some of our trealeafers. Great way to feed off someone's energy when you yourself are struggling with sitting, (especially at 530 in the morning!)

                  Gassho.

                  Shawn
                  Thank you! I've now been sitting regularly since Wednesday and it seems silly that I was dreading it, but stress does strange things to people sometimes. I'm looking forward to joining some of the google + sessions now that I have some free time!
                  If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

                  Comment

                  • Nengyo
                    Member
                    • May 2012
                    • 668

                    #10
                    Originally posted by lipor
                    Congratulations on your graduation

                    When it is much stress, I do the same, runing all around trying to fix everything, a few times I felt that zazen was another chore to get done, but I sat, most of the times with my mind running around thinking in all the things I had to do after Zazen, and all the things I was not doing because of Zazen....but I guess it is ok, cloudy zazen is zazen anyway, returning one time and again to non-thinking, and I just skiped zazen a few days.... I even "sat" driving, or waiting for something in a line, or walking somewhere, just to convince myself that in that day I did not miss zazen :P

                    Stress it is been a little lower this days, so I have been sitting without missing a day a couple of months, and now it is funny, I have been sitting two periods of 30 min in the morning and in the evening, sometimes a short sit in the office, but when things get complicated and I can manage to only sit a few minutes at night (just to not miss zazen), the next morning I feel like I have not been sitting in ages :P

                    I love the old meditation timer, I downloaded the flash movie so I have it at my hands anytime, but I cannot upload it here, it says "Invalid file type"...maybe Treeleaf´s engineers can post a link to download it :P

                    Gassho
                    Thanks! I definitely need to remember that sitting for a few minutes is ok when I'm stressed. For his past week I was certainly in "all or none" mode.
                    If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

                    Comment

                    • Nengyo
                      Member
                      • May 2012
                      • 668

                      #11
                      Dokan & Dosho, thank you! Getting the timer back has made my day!
                      If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

                      Comment

                      • Nengyo
                        Member
                        • May 2012
                        • 668

                        #12
                        Originally posted by christhatischris
                        It would be great to replace the timers in the future with something updated. If anyone knows how to develop in Flash and would like to take a shot at building new timers, it would be welcome.

                        Gassho,
                        Chris
                        I have some friends in my schools computer science department. I will talk to one and see if they would mind helping out, if that is OK.
                        If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

                        Comment

                        • RichardH
                          Member
                          • Nov 2011
                          • 2800

                          #13
                          Hi catfish..

                          IMHO we continue to pick entertainment and distraction over the Zafu until it no longer works as a compensation for feeling dissatisfied and unwhole. Trying to fill up by running from experience to experience has to play out. We need to get fed up with it. In a way sitting is the last choice, the last thing I want to do, because it means being on the spot, with no wiggle room, no way out, nothing to do. It is the very place I spend my life running from.. driven by feelings of dissatisfaction.. incompleteness .. lacking. Yet, when I do stop running, sit right on that spot, and give in. The basic wholeness I've been chasing is there all along.


                          Gassho, kojip
                          Last edited by RichardH; 08-06-2012, 04:56 AM.

                          Comment

                          • Rich
                            Member
                            • Apr 2009
                            • 2601

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Kojip
                            Hi catfish..

                            IMHO we continue to pick entertainment and distraction over the Zafu until it no longer works as a compensation for feeling dissatisfied and unwhole. Trying to fill up by running from experience to experience has to play out. We need to get fed up with it. In a way sitting is the last choice, the last thing I want to do, because it means being on the spot, with no wiggle room, no way out, nothing to do. It is the very place I spend my life running from.. driven by feelings of dissatisfaction.. incompleteness .. lacking. Yet, when I do stop running, sit right on that spot, and give in. The basic wholeness I've been chasing is there all along.


                            Gassho, kojip
                            Thanks. Well spoken. That's how I feel sometimes.
                            _/_
                            Rich
                            MUHYO
                            無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                            https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                            Comment

                            • Nengyo
                              Member
                              • May 2012
                              • 668

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Rich
                              Thanks. Well spoken. That's how I feel sometimes.
                              I concur, that is almost exactly how I felt.
                              If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

                              Comment

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