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Oh, chalip and andrée (and anyone who may be lurking out there!).... I can't begin to tell you how wonderful this little experiment has been for me. So much good has come from it! I feel like I've just finished a retreat with you! I am honored , humbled and exhilarated to have spent this time and this virtual space and the Dharma with you! You are my teachers, my confidants, and my true Dharma friends. I am very grateful. has it affected me? Well, for one, I truly developed a daily meditation practice for the first time in my life. I missed some days. I realize now that my agony over missing a day was clinging and that “perfect attendance” is quite unimportant. Overall, I was very present and engaged in my practice more than ever before. WOOHOOO! As a result of the regularity and the close inspection of this new practice, my practice has gotten some traction. I can feel that my concentration is changing and I am developing a perspective on it that I could never have had otherwise. I have had the courage to attend two retreats and am going to attend my temple's five-day Yongmaeng Jongin in a few weeks. I have been attending interview with my teacher, which has added another type of support and guidance. I’ve even been thinking about seminary, because I have truly come to love the structure that practice periods like this exercise provide. I will definitely participate in future go-arounds of 108 days! Some years ago, I felt I had fallen head over heels in love with the Dharma. It was a crush, I think, looking back. Now my love for the Dharma has matured and deepened like a relationship that gets better with age and time. I have a Dharma faith that sustains me and will do so for years and years. Interesting how other things in my life have also changed. Since March 1, I have: - Begun to create my John Goddard list and started checking things off. - Adopted a “less is more” approach to many things in my life. Most notably, I have come to realize that I value space much more than stuff and have shed a lot of stuff I had around the house! My home is getting emptier! - Become more effective in some ways at work. I have taken a deliberate approach to some things and planned neglect in reference to other things. This has yielded some great results. Understanding my mind more has helped me plan my work better and work my plan better. It helps that very little worries me. This has been a period of unprecedented upheaval at work, so staying calm and effective is very good. - Read about 15 books. This is more than I might read in a year normally, sad to say. This is exciting. This comes from being more mindful of how I waste time. - Paid off almost all of my debt (except my car). - Lost 25 pounds or so. My appetite for garbage has diminished. I eat so much more healthfully. I am on the way to reach my goals in this area eventually. You know…MINDFULNESS ROCKS! To be fair, it hasn’t been all rainbows and fluffy bunnies 24/7. I’ve run into some bad habits, negative though patterns, anger issues and other stuff I didn’t know I had going on. I've come face-to-face with what a lazy neurotic obsessive wrong-headed scatter-brained jerk I am. :) Also, I have learned that meditation is HARD. I mean REALLY HARD. But even this stuff is good. Better to meet my monkeys head on I think. Looking forward to getting to know them even better…. I can be reached at sudo at dharmahead dot com. Let’s please keep in touch. Until next time, Sudo
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2009 on Day 108 at 108days
1. almost every day 3. confident. very enthusiastic about finishing 108 days and renewing my committment with whatever is coming next. 4. work. good grief...reorganized AGAIN. schedules up in the air. new team members. this makes sticking to a routine difficult. andrée, I am not familiar with soto zen traditions. However, I can tell you that when I've been on retreat, sitting much of the day, I have CRAVED the stimulation and invigoration that it would bring. Concentration in the afternoon sittings is very difficult if you make the mistake of eating a bit too much at lunch or if you didn't sleep well the night before. One time I dozed off and my teacher said in a very loud stern voice "Please stay awake and alert!" It jolted me awake and while I was a bit embarrassed, I had very good concentration the rest of the sitting as a result of the adrenaline! I wish we used the stick in my tradition, I'd ask for it every afternoon!
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2009 on Day 105 at 108days
Whoa...10 more days. 1. Almost every day. 2. Ups and downs. I am noticing month by month, week by week, day by day, minute by minute oscillations of life. Even though I think it has gotten tough with my motivation has waning in the last third of this exercise, I look back and see how much it has change me and my life. Pretty damn cool. 3. Grateful. 4. Difficult. Lots of crazy work stuff this week. I picked up four new teams this week and everything that entails. I feel like this got in the way of my practice. I am noticing that my practice is not the center right now. Other things can crowd it out. At one point during 108 days this was not the case. 5. Keep going. Finish strong! :)
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2009 on Day 98 at 108days
Hi geneva! Welcome! Thanks for undertaking this journey with us!
Toggle Commented May 30, 2009 on My 108 Days Contract at 108days
Yes, this is definitely true "off the mat". I find myself questioning where my thoughts, motives, moods, are coming from quite frequently. I am also much more comfortable now pushing myself outsize my comfort zone in many ways.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 86 at 108days
1 Almost every day. 2 I'm noticing that I'm clinging to an idea of where I think I should be. 3 Stable. A bit of a chore. 5 Look for a way to reinvigorate my practice.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 84 at 108days
LOL *goes to sit*
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 81 at 108days
I've noticed that laziness for me is a type of "tuning out". It can be the slow kind of laziness. Cramming my face with something I shouldn't, sitting in front of the tv (or the computer), or just napping when I should do something. This type of laziness is deeply connected to procrastination and avoidance of whatever. I also am very familiar with the high energy laziness. I can be so damned busy sometimes that I do nothing. I'll be trying to get something important done at work. like thoughtful analysis or planning. Instead I gravitate to one after the other urgent tasks. I get hooked by the feeling of accomplishment that comes from successfully dispatched emails or dealing with issues. I respond, react, run run run! And I could do this the entire day or week or whatever and never get the really important things done that will improve my performance or my life. At least I know this. Now what?
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 80 at 108days
I use a timer. I have never tried it without. I guess I fear that would lead to short sittings! :) I can be a clock-watcher, though. I recently figured out the "keep the timer at a distance" trick! :) For a while I tried something that was interesting...I started counting out-breaths at 100. I would do the meditation formula before I started and so the idea is that when I'd get to zero, I'd be at around 20 minutes and would stop. (There's about five or six deep slow breaths in a minute for me). This was pretty cool, in that I took a lot of concentration to not lose count and be very mindful and deliberate with each breathe. But if you're agonizing over which number you're on and doing mental gymnastics to keep track, I figured that's not really good concentration and so I didn't keep it. I have also considered going without a timer and using incense instead. Haven't tried it yet.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 79 at 108days
The one thing I hoped would happen that hasn't is: I had hoped it would get easy! (or at least easier!) :)
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 65 at 108days
Missed last week's checkin. :/ I'm in a little bit of a concentration funk still.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 77 at 108days
I read in a book...I think it was "Hurry Up and Meditate" by Michie that you could use the word "and" between counts if you need a little extra support. I've tried it out and it works like a charm at times. So, sometimes when I feel distracted or resistant I count "Five...and...Four...and....Three..." etc. He recommends stopping the practice when you don't need it anymore, a bit like training wheels. I pull it out when I'm a scatter-brain sometimes and put it away when I don't need it. I like the idea of using the beads to count rounds of breath. I love my beads but I don't use them for anything really. I'll try it and see if it helps when the monkeys are taking over.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 76 at 108days
"Doubt about one's own ability to meditate is extremely damaging." Hmmmm
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 75 at 108days
Heh...Thank you, chalip. Makes me feel better to think it might be my ego acting up instead of being a comfort-seeking jerk who can't concentrate! :) More's weird how my sittings have gone lately. I'll be in the groove, so to speak and I'll just stop. Stop! It won't be a distraction that has waylayed me. It's not discomfort. It's not boredom. I comes from a different space in my mind. I will abruptly stop. It does very much feel like a part of me is acting out as petulent child. I have been unable to identify this so far. Could that be my ego?
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 73 at 108days
This is good advice. I do "worry" when my mood, attitude, enthusiasm, or whatever else changes in regards to my practice. Even though I may know that there will be an ebb and flow about it all, I crave consistent improvement in concentration and a mindset that adores my practice. HA!
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 71 at 108days
Six to nine months. Now that's news. Nobody told me I had to sign up for 275 days! :)
Toggle Commented May 26, 2009 on Day 69 at 108days
Things are going well. My practice is difficult right now. But I do think this itself will pass. I have a daily practice that seems very much a regular part of my day. I wouldn't say "firm", because it feels a bit fragile and vulnerable. However, it is more consistent and I value it more than I have ever done since I became a practicing Buddhist however many years ago. This perspective points to nothing but good, despite a little whiny mindset lately. :) My committment is strong but I need to find ways to strengthen it and rejuvinate it. That's it...I just stumbled on something important. How can I recommit? A bit of renewal would help I think. Not sure about your last question. Something... to sit.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2009 on Day 72 at 108days
1. Every day. 2. Things are getting hard. Not hard as a few weeks ago, when bullshit was coming up. Hard as in I have caught an awful aversion to sitting still and concentrating. My momentum isn't there for me right now. 3. Difficult. 4. My mind is rebeling. I sit and begin my practice and my mind acts up like a petulent child. It stops in the middle of counting. It's weird because it isn't a wandering kind of thing. It's a willful defiant kind of thing. Will power has nothing to do with it. It's coming from somewhere else. 5. Keep sitting. Just keep sitting.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2009 on Day 70 at 108days
Oh, it sounds like we are experiencing something similar.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2009 on Day 68 at 108days
Well, now is all we have. At least that's what I'm told. :)
Toggle Commented May 12, 2009 on Day 67 at 108days
Yes! I feel encouraged by this question you have posed. Even though I fight like hell lately to sit still and keep counting, I definitely see awareness improving off the mat and cushion. I am more aware of my thoughts, my emotions, my behavior, my intentions. I notice myself in more control, so to speak, of my mind. I bust myself engaging in all kinds of mental shenanigans, whereas before I was clueless. I am developing mindfulness that is carrying through to my life. You know...I just remembered something Ajahn Amaro said when he visited the temple a couple years ago. Paraphrasing: "If you wonder if meditation is having an effect, don't look at what's doing on during meditation. Look at the rest of your life."
Toggle Commented May 12, 2009 on Day 66 at 108days
Hmmmm. This is something to think about. In regards to life. Speaking generally: No, I think not. I think they are not in harmony. I think that's why I am drawn to a practice. I *want* them to be. But they are not in harmony. In regards to my practice, specifically: Lately, no. I think not. I am pretending that my practice is strong, but for some reason I'm going through a period of significant aversion. So, I'm "saying" one thing to myself and I'm "doing" something else. Interesting how much my life has changed since we began 108 days. But one thing I hoped would happen, has not. It's still so damn hard sometimes! :)
Toggle Commented May 12, 2009 on Day 65 at 108days
I just realized you've linked to a book of hers. I have to say, chalip...I am very appreciative of the organization, thoroughness, dedication, and hard work you have put in during this time. You've been really great at keeping things moving, interesting, and exposing us to new teachers and relevant concepts along the way. And you've made it really easy to be vulnerable and participate as much as I've been able to. I am deeply grateful. *a very sincere hapchang*
Toggle Commented May 4, 2009 on Day 61 at 108days
By the way, I'd never heard of this teacher. I just googled her and watched a few things on youtube. She rocks! Thanks for posting...
Toggle Commented May 4, 2009 on Day 61 at 108days
That's so true. The only doubt you've mentioned that I've experienced is doubting myself. Specifically I have doubted my ability to progress, which is my own "buddha-nature" I suppose. I'm pretty stubborn at times, so the way I have always pushed through this is to just practice anyway. Odd, isn't it? I suppose I wouldn't have the persistence to get over it and "just do it" if I didn't believe in it. I guess the fact that I get past it proves those feelings are bullshit. Just monkeys making noise, I guess. I know I've never doubted the Dharma really. I don't mean I haven't struggled with specific parts. One of the things that drew me to it was the Buddha saying "Be a lamp unto yourselves." I've taken that seriously and I question stuff all the time. Overall, however, I fell in love with the Dharma when I first bumped into and haven't really doubted it since then. It's only ever given to me....
Toggle Commented May 4, 2009 on Day 64 at 108days