EKAN ZEN STUDY CENTER

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SITTING & RITUAL
Tips for home practice

1.00
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SITTING & RITUAL
Tips for home practice

1.00

Begin with this video of basic instruction in seated meditation.

It can be difficult to settle down to a regular practice at home, where the routines and activities of daily life beckon. And if you live with others, they may also be asking for your attention, your energy, your presence. Even the objects in your home may seem to subtly ask for your engagement: the exercise bike, the broken ironing board, the television. If everything in your home calls you to engage in another activity, you will probably have to work harder to settle down and pay attention.

So the first step toward developing a home practice is to make your home a place in which you can pay attention to just one thing at a time. Here are some ways you can create a supportive environment at home:

  • Create a sitting space. It is ideal if you can set up a place that is always available for sitting. It helps to remind you of your intention, creates beauty in your home, and makes it easy to just sit down even briefly. Create a home altar with things like candles, natural stones, flowers, and incense or fragrant herbs. Include a figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, Medicine Buddha, or Quan Yin. They represent the embodiment of wisdom, healing and compassion in the world, respectively, and can accompany you in sitting. It's also helpful to display a photo of someone who represents kindness to you - perhaps a teacher, parent or grand-parent.
  • Know that there are two distinct aspects of finding time for sitting, the aspect of routine and the aspect of spontaneity.
    • Set aside a regular time for your practice of sitting, chanting or embodied awareness. It's best if it is related to another activity like "after I brush my teeth but before I eat breakfast." Commit to this time every day or on specific days of the week, and make a note of the times when you fulfill your intention.
    • If you miss the regular time or you have trouble establishing one, then learn to allow for spontaneity. Begin to recognize times when it's possible to simply set down whatever activity could be next and sit down instead. This means cultivating the ability to let non-doing be the next thing you are doing.
  • Include what's up for you. If you want to start chanting for a sick friend, include that in your sitting time for as long as it seems inspiring. If you find a lovely feather on a walk, bring it home to your altar.
  • Most importantly, tell your friends and family that you’d like their help with this commitment to a practice that can help your life feel more grounded, more inspired, and more sane.
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Begin with this video of basic instruction in seated meditation.

It can be difficult to settle down to a regular practice at home, where the routines and activities of daily life beckon. And if you live with others, they may also be asking for your attention, your energy, your presence. Even the objects in your home may seem to subtly ask for your engagement: the exercise bike, the broken ironing board, the television. If everything in your home calls you to engage in another activity, you will probably have to work harder to settle down and pay attention.

So the first step toward developing a home practice is to make your home a place in which you can pay attention to just one thing at a time. Here are some ways you can create a supportive environment at home:

  • Create a sitting space. It is ideal if you can set up a place that is always available for sitting. It helps to remind you of your intention, creates beauty in your home, and makes it easy to just sit down even briefly. Create a home altar with things like candles, natural stones, flowers, and incense or fragrant herbs. Include a figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, Medicine Buddha, or Quan Yin. They represent the embodiment of wisdom, healing and compassion in the world, respectively, and can accompany you in sitting. It's also helpful to display a photo of someone who represents kindness to you - perhaps a teacher, parent or grand-parent.
  • Know that there are two distinct aspects of finding time for sitting, the aspect of routine and the aspect of spontaneity.
    • Set aside a regular time for your practice of sitting, chanting or embodied awareness. It's best if it is related to another activity like "after I brush my teeth but before I eat breakfast." Commit to this time every day or on specific days of the week, and make a note of the times when you fulfill your intention.
    • If you miss the regular time or you have trouble establishing one, then learn to allow for spontaneity. Begin to recognize times when it's possible to simply set down whatever activity could be next and sit down instead. This means cultivating the ability to let non-doing be the next thing you are doing.
  • Include what's up for you. If you want to start chanting for a sick friend, include that in your sitting time for as long as it seems inspiring. If you find a lovely feather on a walk, bring it home to your altar.
  • Most importantly, tell your friends and family that you’d like their help with this commitment to a practice that can help your life feel more grounded, more inspired, and more sane.