I would love to get some conversations going about . I’m not sure how well this platform supports such things, but the best way to find out…

I started a practice some time in the mid 2000’s. I kept it to short (10-15m) sits, but managed to make it a consistent habit within a year or two. I like Headspace and similar meditation apps as a starting point, and recommend them to people if the topics comes up.

Around 2018, I started with The Mind Illuminated, which is a more structured approach based on the book of the same name. This involved longer sits (20-60m), with some clear guidelines. I feel that my sense of equanimity improved dramatically around this time, and many facets of my day-to-day life along with it.

While I did reap significant benefits, I did not progress through the stages outlined in the book. This led me to a more metta-based practice called Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation or TWIM, which is my core practice now. This has raised my baseline level of happiness quite noticably, and has also driven more “moral development” in terms of how I see the world and my place in it.

Does anyone else here follow one of these practices? Anything you’d care to share about your practice?

@IAmErik I am Erik, too! I've been trying to make a formal meditation practice stick for over 30 years, but I always fall off the cushion. How do you stick with it?

Hello fellow Erik-with-a-K!

I know that it is really common to start a practice & then drop it early on. I did exactly that several times!

I think there are a few reasons that it stuck after the first couple of years:

  • I noticed the benefits early on, so I felt that it was a valuable use of time.
  • I came across advice that told me it usually doesn’t feel like anything is happening during a sit (particularly until it is a habit), and I found it convincing enough to believe.
  • I read a lot on the subject, and tried a lot of guided meditations (YouTube and Insight Timer). That really helped accellerate my practice, since I need to have a logical reason for spending time on it every day.
  • I made a rule that I would sit for just 5m per day. That was easy enough that I was able to build up the habit.

@IAmErik @erik365 insight timer is a great tool, I use it every day. Often guided meditations, sometimes the timer.

@IAmErik I personally think meditating in a group is more important than the specific practice you follow. The group encourages you and supports your development. I am personally involved with, an interfaith platform that supports more than 150 groups meeting virtually at no cost to either groups or meditators. Many languages, many faith traditions all sharing a common stillness. #meditation

I have only participated in a couple of ad-hoc group sits, and they were work-related. (Think, “let’s bring in a meditation coach to talk to the team to improve productivity!”)

I have been considering finding a meditation teacher if my progress slows again, but perhaps an online group would make sense. I’m looking at the site you shared now. Thank you!

@IAmErik I sit with the same group of people from all over the world at 7:00 CT every morning. This has become my main spiritual community. If you need any help finding a group, let me know.

@RogerSessions @IAmErik there are so many great online sanghas now. I don't have a local group, online is how I get my teaching and community.

@IAmErik While I’ve never been good at sticking with it, I do subscribe to Headspace and have managed to convince my kids to meditate semi-regularly.

@IAmErik No idea if this is of any benefit, :) but just in case: I have a simple practice, meaning that sometimes I put down the zabuton and zafu, and sit for awhile as thoughts and ideas and things arise and dissipate. Other than attending to the breath as a way to catch myself drifting off into ideation, I have never found anything more systematic to be appealing. Sometimes I have sat in company with a sangha, and that is good, but usually I don’t. It’s all good. :)

@IAmErik dumb question but why is it considered better to sit in the lotus position? Why should that be superior to a chair?

I think the idea is to avoid sleepiness. It is easier to tell if you’re drifting off and correct.

I use a chair. I think it’s important to be comfortable and avoid distractions. I usually don’t have a problem with sleepiness.

@IAmErik I'm a longtime Vipassana practitioner, I sit every day. At this point I'm just habituated to it. I'm not familiar with either of those resources, though.

@IAmErik @IAmErik the admin of your instance told us he cries after sex, that might be his form of meditation

@IAmErik Hello, I’ve been insight meditating for 12 years. This year I’ve done a lot of #TWIM practice, including an online retreat which seemed fruitful. That method of radiating the BVs comes from the suttas and is wonderful. It’s well-explained in TWIM. Was never a fan of TMI’s overly technical approach and unhealthy obsession with maps. My copy has been intended for charity since the author went off the rails. I’m heavily influenced by the Thai Forest tradition and Rob Burbea.

@markcooper You might like “The Path to Nibbana” if you haven’t already read it. I found it helpful in my practice.

I don’t know that Yates / Culadasa went off the rails. Sounds like he was just human, but I don’t have a strong opinion about him either way. The author of the original TWIM book seems a bit odd as well, but I think that he really understands his practice, and is good at sharing his understanding.

@IAmErik I have read The Path to Nibbana, thanks. Actually, I feel like picking it up again.

@IAmErik Hi! I did a bit of TMI during a retreat but he is quite optimistic about speed of progress 🙂
Happy chatting about meditation anytime I'm online (hopefully not always)

@IAmErik Love this book you mention: philosophical, scientific, structured and from a (more) Western point of view. It inspires me daily!
I like very much that he, like all good teachers, pays attention to the fact that meditation is not an object of desire, but an everyday practice (also doable during all ordinary actions): so in short, I focus on the breath (for an hour a day) and do also analytic meditations - both sitting or walking 🙏

@IAmErik I've been praying the rosary as a semi-regular practice for the last year. I fell off for a while though and need to pick it back up more regularly. I don't know that it did anything for moral development, but when I was practicing regularly I did a better job of pausing and trying to understand the world than reacting to the world.

I would call that an “absorption” meditation practice. It can be a wonderful way to both notice and quiet your thoughts.

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