Friday, August 30, 2019

Walking Practice

In my last post I talked about how my meditation schedule has changed in the mornings.  I thought I might share what I'm actually practicing.  Previously I would typically wake up and:
  • Recite the Five Recollections
  • Begin a silent meditation for 30 minutes during which I would...
    • Start with concentration meditation briefly, then...
    • Move in to an open awareness practice, followed by wrapping up with....
    • A quick Metta Bomb (one of my favorites taken from Pablo Das) practice at the end.
Since the new schedule has been in place, I have less time for the silent sit, and more time for doing practice while I walk, which I've always enjoyed doing.  So now the practice morning looks like this:
  • Walking Meditation begins with...
    • The Five Recollections, followed by...
    • 24 Brand New Hours by Thich Nhat Hanh recitation
    • Breath Awareness for a bit, then...
    • Walking with my Ancestors practice from TNH, followed by....
    • Mindful Walking for a bit, and finally...
    • Metta or some other heart practice, then just before work I do...
  • Silent Sitting practice that is just open awareness the whole time.
Though I am rooted in Theravada Buddhism, I first encountered Buddhism (and walking meditation) through Thich Nhat Hanh and I still enjoy some of those practices today.  My walking practice, the recollections, the 24 hours bit,  and the ancestor stuff are all from TNH and they're lovely to do.  I recommend them for anyone regardless of what tradition you call home.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Shake it up!

“The answer, provided in this book, is not to begin with what you put on your plate. Rather, you begin with what is already inside you, with your awareness and experience of every moment you live—what the authors call mindfulness” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh & Lilian Cheung. “Savor.”

I am cautiously optimistic that my exercise routine is getting back on track. Cautious because I've gone stretches as much as two weeks following my food and exercise plans precisely only to have one rainy day, or one take out pizza brought home by my wife, derail it.  To be clear I'm not blaming the weather or the wife.  It's my fault alone.

I did perfect all last week, until the weekend, then I indulged a little more than I should, and didn't walk as much as I should, but I still did moderately ok.  Monday I hit it hard again and have done great all week. The interesting thing is that last week I struggled to get moving in the mornings, and could definitely see all the ways my mind was trying to get me off the hook.  It was a successful week, but not a fun one.

This week, I've woken up early (even by my standards) and been ready to go.  I have felt more energized as I walked, rather than less.  If history is any indicator this is the sign that I'm settling in to the habit, rather than pushing myself to do it.  I hope so, as my walks this week have been energizing sessions of exercise and meditation practice that have really set the tone for my day in a positive way.

Along with all of that, my new morning routine has -- by necessity -- shaken up my morning routine and the results have been surprising. Typically, I wake early in the morning...five or so...and I meditate for 20 minutes.  I LOVE morning meditation as it just seems to come easier.  I fall in to concentration smoothly and I'm refreshed so I never fall asleep.  It's just easier.

With the new schedule, I'm getting up at the same time,or earlier, and I'm hitting the streets first thing.  I guess this isn't my new routine, it's my old routine that I fell out of.  But the part that is different is that I have a teenager now and through a series of conditions, I now get to leave for work super early!  SO, my shake up is that I can now get to work early enough to grab a coffee and meditate at the park near my office.  This is giving me a shorter meditation time for my morning sit - down to 20 from 30 - but means I'm meditating AFTER exercise which means my mind is fully alert and I have more going on.  This doesn't sound good, but I find it's more to sit with, which has a different but not better quality. Also, I get to meditate in nature!  This is especially least right now.  And best of all I walk in to work freshly meditated.

I thought this new schedule was going to be a problem, but even with the reduced time meditating on my first meditation of the day, I find the quality of it is better and my overall day is benefiting greatly from all of this. Can't beat that! 

We'll see how it's going in a few weeks.  I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Let's try this one more time....

Well, this is weird.  I started a blog called Mondo Samu almost 10 years ago.  About 5 years ago I drifted away from it. I tried getting it going again a few times, but never did.  Last time I posted was in 2016.

When I started it it was about my efforts around weight loss and Buddhism, though I wasn't buddhist yet. I think every time I tried to get back in to it, I felt like I had to write about weight loss and what I really was interested in was Buddhism.

Well, now, closing in on the tenth anniversary of the blog, I find I need to write about both again.  Let's talk about weight loss first.  July 3rd, 2010 I hit my breaking point with my weight. I knew something had to change and I had no idea how to do it.  In a comedic moment of what many might say was serendipity, I stumbled -- right at the exact moment I needed it most -- across Thich Nhat Hanh's book Savor.  Really it was Dr. Lilian Cheung and TNH, but it is often credited to TNH. Long story short, I lost 110 pounds in 11 months and kept it off for many years. And lived happily ever after.

As for Buddhism I was hooked instantly and haven't looks back since.  I LOVED the four noble truths the moment I read them as they appeal directly to the geeky tech-support guy in me.  A simple problem solving system that is nothing short of elegant.  So my buddhist path has unfolded daily and gotten stronger over time and I look forward to talking about that a lot.

Why now?  Why get this going again in 2019?  Is it because the anniversary is looming?  Because I'm bored? No.  It's because a minor vehicle issue a few years ago disrupted my routine and in short order I had fallen off of my exercise routine.  Blah blah Blah, and here we are with me having gained over half the weight back.  I'm not happy to say that....less happy to say it publicly....but it's reality. So, while I'm in much better shape than the last time I had to get serious about weight loss, I'm also 10 years older and finding it MUCH harder to do again.

So...what I've done is archived the old blog.  Some of those posts were great in my eyes, some of them did not stand the test of time.  I felt like they were worth holding on to for reference, but didn't need to be here.  I created the brand new blog you're reading here, redirected the domain to it, and will keep that old one around for any info I might need in the future from the old days.  It is a bit of a journal, after all.

Here I will -- hopefully but no guarantees -- post once again about weight loss and Buddhism and see if keeping a blog will help keep me dedicated when all I really want to do is sit in a coffee shop and play boardgames but really should be out walking.

If you have any interest, I welcome your time and attention here.  Mondo Samu was the name of the blog, and became a nickname that has caused great confusion.  Now it is a blog once more.  Hopefully the name will be applicable once more!

Let's do this.

Life is good

Photo by  Braxton Stuntz  on  Unsplash "Try to be mindful.  And let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still ...