I am trying to adopt the schedule below:
4:00 am: rise from bed
4:00 am – 5:00 am: meditate (1 hr)
5:00 am – 6:00 am: 108 bows, stretching/yoga
6:00 am – 7:00 am: shower, somewhat big breakfast, green tea
7:00 am – 8:00 am: go to work
9:00 am – 12:00 pm: work (100% effort)
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: somewhat big lunch, green tea
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm: work (100% effort)
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: go home
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: shower, small dinner (salad, vegetables, etc.), green tea
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm: exercise
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm: meditate (1 hr)
9:00 pm – 9:30 pm: wash and go to bed
I’ve increased my meditation time to 50 minutes a day. The increase in meditation time seems to be helping a lot. I’m more present during meditation and also during the rest of the day. I think I’m becoming more accepting of myself and my external situation because the important thing seems to be the inner silence found in meditation. Even if no improvements occur in my outer circumstances, I would be happy if I could adhere to the above schedule every day, abiding in emptiness and living a clean and disciplined life.
I seem to have recovered somewhat from last month’s relapses. I’ve gained strength at the gym, although my strength level is much lower than it was two years ago. When I have lonely or lustful thoughts, I try to go back to “no mind”. My recent increase in meditation time helps me do this. In the past, thoughts like: “‘I’m lonely”, or “I want sex”, or lewd images would appear in my mind, I would feel loneliness/lust in my body, and I would stew in these thoughts and feelings for minutes or hours. This would sometimes result in a relapse. Now, I’m able to identify thoughts of desire shortly after they arise and before the feelings well up in my body.
Regarding diet, I’ve become a vegan because I don’t want animals to be reared in captivity and slaughtered just so I can have pleasant feelings in my mouth. I think this type of meat production and consumption is extremely bad karma and an appalling waste/misuse of energy and resources. Eating a mass-produced animal’s rotting flesh and absorbing its energy of suffering is probably harmful physically and spiritually. This may not apply to people who are hunters/herders by tradition and kill on a small scale only when needed. I recently watched a lecture by the monk Seung Sahn who said the world’s population has exploded in the last century because the souls of these animals are being reborn into human bodies. A Joe Rogan podcast on the insanity of modern farming also nudged me towards my decision.
Recently, I’ve been feeling the need to shift my life’s focus to contributing, helping, or being of service to others (people, animals, the earth). Most of my life was a narrow selfish existence driven by greed, insecurity, and lust even though I never “succeeded”. I want to do good things to compensate for this. When I am dying, I want to be able to look back on my life and identify at least a few things that I did that benefited others.
I’m STILL unable to wake up at 4 am and go to sleep at 9:30 pm. It is very hard for me to fall asleep before midnight and I find myself waking up late and getting angry with myself. I’ve been doing 108 bows in the morning and not before sleeping. Maybe bowing before sleeping will help.