In order to create a balanced approach, your situation and your skills must be carefully assessed. It’s helpful to stay aware of which activities create choice and encourage preferences, and which will provide support for a successful investigation of your Home Retreat. Do activities that are important in your life. If exercise is important to balance your energy or to sustain good health, get your exercise. Don’t exclude all pleasant, nurturing daily activities. Try to create a schedule that is doable and balanced and kindly towards both your goal and towards this unique type of practice. The goal is to limit distractions and situations that create choice or situations that cultivate the opiated buzz of distraction as much as possible.
For those types of activities where choice is part of the situation, bring heightened attention to the choices and watch your preferences while they are in the process of arising. To clarify, preferences will arise in almost all activities. They will arise in the most mundane of activities such as using the left leg to start walking instead of the right, all the way to picking your favorite ice cream. They will also arise in more important situations such as deciding whether to purchase a new car or stay with the current one, change jobs, get married or stay married, plans/hopes for the kids, if it’s time to move into a retirement home, and on and on. Whatever the situation, with as little judgment as possible bring heightened investigative examination to the choices and preferences as they are in the process of arising. Just notice with as little identification as possible. Notice the difference between being in the story and observing the story as merely a thought. Try to avoid making big life decisions while on any kind of retreat. The mind is not geared to these levels of consideration. Wait until after the retreat.
Right Intention (sammā-sankappa): The Noble Eightfold Path. Bhikkhu Bodhi. Chapter Three.
Munindraji: 1. Was an Indian lay teacher most often associated in the West as being Joseph Goldstein’s and Dipama’s teacher. His impact on how Theravada Buddhism is understood in the West cannot be overstated. In the book Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra, 2010, by Mirka Knaster the reader is given a most extraordinary example of how to live a Home Retreat as a layperson. allan cooper.
Vikāla-bhojanā veramanī sikkhāpadam samādhiyāmi’, I undertake the Precept to refrain from eating at the forbidden time (i.e., afternoon till the sun rises the next day). I will eat with an attention towards sustenance with applied mindfulness and clear comprehension during all drinking and eating.
Sati-sampajañña: 1. Sati and sampajañña are two terms combined to mean one thing. Sati is the function of the mind that can bring meditative focus on any conscious object and get to know it without self-referencing or preference. Sampajañña is the wholesome attempt to understand what an object is. Without sampajañña sati is simply a function of the mind without understanding. Sampajañña without sati is speculation. Combined these mental functions can de-condition and reorient the mind towards freedom from unwholesome patterns of mind, speech and action. allan cooper 2. Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. MN:10.
Sampajañña: Clear Comprehension: 1. Attending to four categories of attention: Purpose, Suitability, Domain, and Reality. allan cooper. 2. The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, Nyanaponika Thera. 3. Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. MN:10.
Spiritual friend (kalyānamitta): 1. SN 45:2 Upaddha Sutta. 2. Access to Insight, Admirable Friendship: kalyanamitta. 3. In common usage ‘a spiritual friend.’ In a traditional sense it means a teacher or a knower of the way. allan cooper
Right View (sammā-ditthi): 1. The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, Chapter Two. Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Abbreviations in footnotes: AN: Aṅguttara Nikāya, DN: Dingha Nikāya, MN: Majjhima Nikāya, SN: Saṃyutta Nikāya