using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : September 2010
48 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2010 Thousands of people over the years have asked me for advice about how to establish a dai- ly meditation practice at home. although there are thousands of Buddhist meditation centers around the country, most meditators do some or all of their practice at home on their own. In many cases, this is a practical matter. Most peo- ple don’t live close enough to a Buddhist center to meditate there regularly. or, for one reason or another, they don’t feel comfortable with any of the local centers available to them. or they feel that for them meditation is a private and per- sonal matter, not a communal religious practice. anyway, most meditators, for a variety of rea- sons, meditate at home. I do myself. It wasn’t that way when I began Zen practice. The conventional wisdom then was that you could never practice on your own. You needed to practice with others—that was the way it was done. You needed instructions from a teacher. You needed support—maintaining the disci- pline to sit on your own would be too difficult. Besides, meditating alone could be dangerous. Conventional wisdom has changed. These days many people find that it is entirely possible to meditate on their own. not that lack of dis- cipline is unknown—keeping up with regular practice remains a struggle for some. But many go beyond struggle to find enjoyment and ease in their daily practice. When people ask me how to get a home medi- tation practice started, here is what I tell them: the practice begins the night before. Before you go to sleep, set the alarm for half an hour earlier than usual, and say to yourself: “Tomorrow morning Iamgoingtogetuptosit.Iwanttodothis,and it is going to be pleasant and helpful.” hold that thought in your mind. Then, as you are falling asleep, say this: “am I actually going to wake up early and meditate?” and answer yourself: “Yes, I am.” and then question yourself again: “Really?” Take this seriously. Think a little more and answer yourself honestly. If the answer is, “Yes, really,” then you will get up. You are serious about it. But if the answer is, “no, I have to admit that I am probably going to reset the alarm and turn over to get that delicious extra half hour of sleep,” then save yourself the trouble. Reset the alarm now and don’t even try to get up. This little exercise may sound silly but it is very important. It addresses the main difficulty we have with self discipline: we are ambivalent. We both do and don’t want to do what we think we want to do in our own best interests. We find it difficult to take our good intentions seriously, especially when it comes to our spiritual lives. We have con- fusion at our core about whether we are capable of confronting ourselves at the deepest possible hu- man level—maybe if we do we will find ourselves to be unworthy, trivial people. since we imagine that meditation promises a self-confrontation at this level, we are deeply ambivalent. Most of this convoluted thinking is not con- scious. This is why the before-bed self-dialog is important. It provides a simple way of confront- ing the issue. “Really?” It’s a way to surface what we really feel and, gently and honestly, deal with it. otherwise our long habit of sneaky self-de- ception will likely prevail. We will not do what we’re not really clear we want to do, which will Zen teacher and poet NoRmaN FischeR is founder of the every- day Zen Foundation. he served as abbot of the san Francisco Zen center from 1995-2000. he has written many books of prose and poetry, including sailing home: using homer’s odyssey to navigate life’s perils and pitfalls. Getting Started Zen teacher NormaN Fischer proposes a two-week trial run to get your meditation practice started and looks at some of the obstacles that may come up. phoToBYChRIsTInealICIno