Home Practice Tips and Resources

For many if not most of us, much of our sitting practice takes place at home----away from the formal structure and group energy offered by the Centre. This solo sitting offers its own challenges and rewards, and the following pointers are designed to support the process.

If you live far from the Centre and cannot get to sittings regularly, please consider joining the Home Practice Support Group (see below). Request to join by clicking here.

Establishing a Home Practice

  • Find a time that works with your schedule.
    • For many people, first thing in the morning works best. The mind is clear and you are energized; you can set your focus and aspiration for the day. Evening sitting can help with with settling for a restful sleep, but you will need to consciously commit to setting aside the business of the day and at least some of your usual evening activities.

  • Practice at the same time every day.
    • Even if you can commit only fifteen minutes, this consistency of practice will be much more helpful in the long run than longer sessions that occur only sporadically.

  • Choose a time that blends with the needs and activities of your family or household.
  • Set up a small space for your meditation, if possible.
    • Try to find a place where you will not overhear conversations or media. Ambient noise (such as traffic noise) is fine.

  • Choose at least one time a week when you can join in on formal sittings at the Centre.
    • Coming to dokusan can be especially helpful.

Maintaining a Home Practice

  • Know that times when the practice feels dry or unproductive will alternate with times of greater inspiration. Commit to sitting through the difficult times.
  • Know that when everything is going great in your life, you may not feel a need to sit. Know that there will always be many things calling for your attention that may feel more urgent than sitting. Commit to sitting when you are happy, when you are sad, and when you are busy (even if only a little bit!)
  • If you are in need of inspiration, visit the Members' Library or find other resources for Dharma study. The literature of ancient and modern teachings is vast, and putting your practice into a larger context will help you to keep going.
  • Attend dokusan regularly to get advice and encouragement from the teacher.

If You Live Far From the Centre...

  • Listen to the weekly teishos on podcast.
  • Attend Skype dokusan with Amala-sensei on Wednesday mornings (New Zealand time).
  • Join the Home Practice Support Group.
    • The group offers opportunities to participate in virtual sittings, check in with others about your practice commitments, and take part in online conversations with other AZC students sitting near and far.