Keep dozing off

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Greggorious
    Member
    • Feb 2015
    • 24

    Keep dozing off

    Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well. I just wanted to ask you about grogginess in zazen. I take anti depression tablets which have a mild sedative effect and more often than not I will start to drift off during zazen. I've tried opening my eyes wider but the more I try and force myself to stay awake the more my body will react against it. I don't want to come off the tablets...at least not yet, but it's really annoying me that I can never stay awake for a whole sitting.
  • Jishin
    Member
    • Oct 2012
    • 4819

    #2
    Keep dozing off

    Hi,

    Sit with not wanting to come off the tablets...at least not yet. Sit with being annoying. Sit with not staying awake for a whole sitting. Then sit some more.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

    Comment

    • Greggorious
      Member
      • Feb 2015
      • 24

      #3
      Thanks Jishin

      Comment

      • Rich
        Member
        • Apr 2009
        • 2595

        #4
        I get sleepy if sitting late evening so I sit early evening. In the morning I drink coffee before sitting so I'm wide awake. ☕

        Sat today
        _/_
        Rich
        MUHYO
        無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

        https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

        Comment

        • Joyo

          #5
          Originally posted by Jishin
          Hi,

          Sit with not wanting to come off the tablets...at least not yet. Sit with being annoying. Sit with not staying awake for a whole sitting. Then sit some more.

          Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_
          Yes, good advice. I too doze off sometimes, especially after a busy day with kids at work, than my own kids at home etc. Zazen can turn into zzzzzzzzzzzazzzzzzzzen. Just sit with it all. I'm not an expert, by any means, but that is what I do.

          Gassho,
          Joyo
          sat today

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39221

            #6
            Hi Greg,

            Folks will have some good advice for you. Below is something I post when the subject of sleep comes up, so forgive me to cut and paste it here.

            Brain waves during Zazen are often in state otherwise found during sleep, or which are similar to brain waves in that peaceful place we encounter right before falling asleep while in bed ...



            ... which is also another reason that we can easily slip over the line into ZZZZZZZZzzzzzz. I bet you just fell asleep or into some half-sleep state.


            ================================================== ======================

            In my case, I usually combine sitting when not too exhausted from a strenuous day, sitting after a bit of tea/coffee (in moderation ... Zen monks discovered tea and have never been far from a cup), adjusting my posture and slightly straightening the spine, taking some deep breaths, massaging the face and limbs.

            If you do fall asleep, just sleep ... although if it happens too often, or most of the time, it is not good Zazen. Once in awhile is okay.

            Here is also something I often post on sleeping. It is important to remember that a monastic setting is like marine "boot camp" quite often, with teachers pushing pushing pushing ... all to realize "nothing to attain". So, some attitudes on Zazen and sleep in the past have been quite extreme.

            ... there are reports from China in the "old days" (and even now) of monks [especially during Sesshin] meditating with just about 3 hours of sleep (or pulling an "all nighter" or two or more). In Dogen's day (sometimes still now), they used a special wooden support called a "Zenpan" to hold the chin up (true), and were actually just sleeping in the Lotus Posture (I have done that too, although it is discouraged these days most times).

            "Zenpan" description here:

            Over 1,700 in-depth entries from A to Z, containing information on the beliefs, practices, and history of Zen Buddhism as well as its most significant movements, organizations, and personalities. Complete with black-and-white photos throughout that illustrate the many aspects of Zen Buddhist culture and religion, including temples, relics, artifacts, and the ceremonial objects used by practitioners. Thoroughly cross-referenced entries guide the reader to related terms and concepts. 8 1?2" x 11" Library-bound 500 pages Copyright 2002 Zen Buddhism is one of the most important and influential world religions. Its unique forms of artistic, philosophical, and spiritual practices, including meditation, haiku, and calligraphy, have spread throughout the world. Written in a clear and accessible style, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism introduces readers to this vital and influential tradition. Helen J. Baroni, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the department of religion at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She received a bachelor of arts from Grinnell College in 1981, a master's degree in divinity from the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1984, and both a master's degree (1990) and a doctorate degree (1993) in philosophy from Columbia University. From 1990 to 1991, Dr. Baroni was a visiting research fellow at the International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism of Hanazozo College in Kyoto, Japan. She was awarded a Japan Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in 1990, a Weatherhead Fellowship in 1992, and a grant from the Harvard Pluralism Project in 1998. Dr. Baroni has published a number of journal articles on Japanese religions. She is also the author of Obaku Zen: The Emergence of the Third Sect of Zen in Tokugawa, Japan, published by the University of Hawaii Press (2000).

            Here is one:



            ...

            I have posted this from time to time on Zazen and sleep (and becoming sleepy during Zazen) ...

            Originally posted by Jundo
            The great teacher "Homeless Kodo" Sawaki Roshi said about sleep and Zazen ...

            Eat in order to do zazen, sleep in order to do zazen. This means that eating and sleeping are also part of zazen.


            In other words, we must be properly fed and rested (not too much, not too little ... ours is the Middle Way) in order to sustain our Practice properly. Get rest.

            Of course ... that is if we can. Sometimes, more easily said than done these days. If you do find yourself unavoidably tired (because of your 3 jobs), but also feel your Zazen unavoidable (which it should be most days), follow the words of Uchiyama Roshi ...

            Another time you might be tired. Then you have to remind yourself that you are practicing zazen right now, and it is not the time for sleeping. This is correcting your attitude, correcting your posture, really opening the eyes and returning to zazen. This is called “Awakening from dullness and fatigue.”
            That is for day to day practice. Find the time which suits you best, morning or evening maybe afternoon, and sit consistently then. Sit with a bit of sleepy Zazen when it happens. If too sleepy, and literally falling of the Zafu, go get some sleep.

            If in a Sesshin or other intense retreat, it may be a somewhat different story, and we may wish to push ourselves a bit harder (pushing hard with nothing to attain ... but non-attainng!), Remember the words and actions of Master Dogen's teacher, Master Nyojo (Ryujing)

            When staying at Tendo Monastery in China, while the old master Nyojo was abbot there, we sat zazen until about eleven o’clock at night and got up at about half-past two to sit zazen. The abbot sat with the assembly in the sodo, never taking even one night off.

            While sitting, many monks fell asleep. The abbot walked around hitting them with his fist or his slipper, scolding them and encouraging them to wake up. If they continued to sleep, he went to the shodo1, rang the bell, and called his attendants to light the candles. On the spur of the moment he would say such things as; “What is the use of sleeping? Why do you gather in a sodo [monk's hall]? Why did you become a monk and enter this monastery?”

            One time, his immediate attendant said, “The monks in the sodo are tired and sleepy. They may fall ill or lose their aspiration because of the long hours of sitting. Please shorten the time of zazen.”

            Angrily the abbot replied, “We must never do that. People without bodhi-mind who temporarily stay in the sodo would sleep even if we sat for only half an hour or less. Practitioners with bodhi-mind who aspire to practice are happier the longer they are able to sit and therefore, practice much harder. ”
            http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/comm...nki/02-25.html
            In bed by 11, up for Zazen at 2:30! Rujing seems like a heck of a drill sargent at the Dharma boot camp!

            But on most days ... the advise is to get sleep sufficient to allow Zazen. It is best to sit in the mornings upon awakening, or at night just before bed. But you can pick another time when not so tired too. Then, take a bit of the sleepy zazen when it happens. If it's too sleepy go get some sleep and sit on waking. If falling asleep during Zazen (although discouraged), just do that ... I promise not to beat you with my slipper (and hopefully it will not happen most days ... even Jundo falls asleep on the "sit-a-long" now and then, if you look closely! ops: ) .

            If you sit Zazen and it is ZZZZzzzzz, just perfectly ZZZZzzzz!

            By the way, just adjusting the posture, opening the eyes a bit more and taking some breaths can help. I stretch my neck just a bit when tired during Zazen, and it seems to help ... as if a tiny string running from the top of my head to the ceiling were given a light tug. Or, one can return to following the breath for awhile. Monks in China and Japan have always had a close relationship to tea and caffeine (in moderation!). At more Sesshin I have attended in Japan or the West, tea and coffee (in moderation!) are always somewhere around.

            Master Keizan wrote (in his Zazen Yojinki about the year 1400) ...

            Although we shouldn’t be too anxious about bodily comforts, inadequate clothing, food and sleep are known as the "three insufficiencies" and will cause our practice to suffer. ...

            ... If dullness or sleepiness overcome your sitting, move to the body and open the eyes wider, or place attention above the hairline or between your eyebrows. If you are still not fresh, rub the eyes or the body. If that still doesn’t wake you, stand up and walk, always clockwise. Once you’ve gone about a hundred steps you probably won’t be sleepy any longer. The way to walk is to take a half step with each breath. Walk without walking, silent and unmoving.

            If you still don’t feel fresh after doing kinhin, wash your eyes and forehead with cold water. Or chant the Three Pure Precepts of the Bodhisattvas. Do something; don’t just fall asleep. You should be aware of the Great Matter of birth and death and the swiftness of impermanence. What are you doing sleeping when your eye of the Way is still clouded? If dullness and sinking arise repeatedly you should chant, "Habituality is deeply rooted and so I am wrapped in dullness. When will dullness disperse? May the compassion of the Buddhas and Ancestors lift this darkness and misery."
            A bit of Kinhin, for a few minutes, can be good when very tired.

            There was a master who sat with a heavy object on his head, which would fall with a crash whenever he started to doze ... and another who kept jabbing himself with a needle ... but I don't recommend that!

            Gassho, and Good Night, Jundo
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • Greggorious
              Member
              • Feb 2015
              • 24

              #7
              Thanks for the replies people, and thanks Jundo. Maybe I'll have my morning coffee BEFORE zazen and not after, see how that works out.

              Comment

              • Troy
                Member
                • Sep 2013
                • 1318

                #8
                Zzzzzzzzzzzz...snort....uh what....snooooore...um

                Yes, it happens me. When it happens regularly, it diminishes my practice and requires an adjustment. No sweat


                ..sat2day•

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39221

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Troy
                  Zzzzzzzzzzzz...snort....uh what....snooooore...um

                  Yes, it happens me. When it happens regularly, it diminishes my practice and requires an adjustment. No sweat


                  ..sat2day•
                  That is right.

                  Although it might be frowned upon in a group, if sitting by oneself and if the dozing off is really persistent and unavoidable (because of medications, for example) despite all that has been recommended, then consider switching to Kinhin for some minutes when starting to doze. Kinhin is "No Place To Go" Zazen, but the legs move.



                  Gassho, J
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Tai Shi
                    Member
                    • Oct 2014
                    • 3307

                    #10
                    I did fall asleep last night when sitting alone, and I believe it is helpful to be with others in virtual time, real time with others. The 4 times lately where I have practiced with a group, it was impossible to get sleepy, but I do understand when someone is fatigued, and might need sleep, and perhaps planning one's sitting times might help. I will sit tonight at 10 :00 pm. And today I am fully rested, so I can practice with others.
                    Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆

                    Comment

                    • Tai Shi
                      Member
                      • Oct 2014
                      • 3307

                      #11
                      Elgwyn
                      Gassho
                      _/\_
                      Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆

                      Comment

                      • Troy
                        Member
                        • Sep 2013
                        • 1318

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Jundo
                        That is right.

                        Although it might be frowned upon in a group, if sitting by oneself and if the dozing off is really persistent and unavoidable (because of medications, for example) despite all that has been recommended, then consider switching to Kinhin for some minutes when starting to doze. Kinhin is "No Place To Go" Zazen, but the legs move.



                        Gassho, J
                        Thanks Jundo and love the cartoon


                        ..sat2day•

                        Comment

                        • orangedice
                          Member
                          • Oct 2014
                          • 62

                          #13
                          I know how you feel, as I'm on medication myself for the same reason, though I've recently switched meds with a new doctor who asked me to get some labwork done. That's how I found out my Vitamin D is super low. The psychiatrist explained that low Vitamin D is probably why I'm constantly tired, and has started me on a regimen to get me back to normal levels. Hopefully that helps! Perhaps that's something you can ask your doctor about, get some labwork done to see if there's an underlying condition that makes you so sleepy!

                          I am going to try to add kinhin to my routine when I feel myself dozing, too. I appreciate that advice. For now, until I see if the vitamin D helps, I've been pulling myself back to my breath or any city noises I hear to bring myself to the present moment.

                          - June
                          #SatToday

                          Comment

                          • Sekishi
                            Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                            • Apr 2013
                            • 5670

                            #14
                            Over the years I have found that certain times of the day are consistently bad for struggling with sleepiness on the cushion, and it isn't what I would expect (e.g. early morning is fine, late at night is fine). My absolute worst time is between around 6pm to 8pm. Blood sugar related to meals or something?

                            Naturally, our Zazenkai starts at either 6pm or 7pm in my time zone, and my local sitting group sits weekly starting at 7:30. So everyone thinks me a dull practitioner, slack and nodding off. ^_^

                            Anyhow, I guess my advice for when solo sitting (in the conventional sense - we of course always sit with all beings!), try experimenting with different times of day. Even shifting an hour earlier or later might make a difference.

                            Gassho,
                            Sekishi
                            #sattoday
                            Sekishi | 石志 | He/him | Better with a grain of salt, but best ignored entirely.

                            Comment

                            • Jakugan
                              Member
                              • Jan 2013
                              • 303

                              #15
                              Almost nodded off during zazen yesterday. I find it helps if I do it earlier in the day when my mind is a bit fresher, although when it comes I try not to become attached to the fact that I'm struggling to stay awake.

                              Gassho,

                              simon,

                              sat today

                              Comment

                              Working...