I’ve been wanting to contribute to this thread since it started, and now I finally have time, I see that Viveka and Owl, backed up by
have probably said it all.
I’d suggest that a lay practitioner wanting to commit to full-time practice first needs to get clear about
- their housing needs and the easiest way to have them met
- their current financial needs, whether these can be can be reduced, and how they can be met
- whether moving to another place would significantly improve housing/financia issues
- their physical fitness and general health
- their family and other commitments
Some people feel drawn to jumping straight into 100% practice (sadhu) but it’s OK to move slowly, for eg
- does one still watch TV (play video games etc etc)? Try a months fast and watch one’s reactions. (I passed on my TV when I realised I’d not switched it on for well ver a year.)
- are there areas where one is still feels drawn to give service which would detract from practice? These aren’t hindrances if undertaken with metta and mindfulness. (This is something I work with when visiting my grandchildren.)
- how can one adjust the routine of formal practice to suit one’s circumstances? In a monastery there’s a program to adapt to, in lay life practice is often what gets adapted; this can be skilful or unskilful. (When I was the mother of teenagers with stressful job that demanded long hours I had a rigid cushion practice of an hour each morning and evening. Now that I am retired and assailed by various ailments the pattern of formal practice is much more varied.)
Personally, I have the opportunity to move between periods (ie weeks or months) of rural isolation and living alone in a city flat with various community and family contacts. I like both, but find the changeover periods challenging. A lot of trail and error is helping me work this out, and I got some helpful ideas from A Householder’s Vinaya by Allan Cooper (the full retreat ideas relate to Mahasi style meditation retreats).
Gratitude for the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. May we all awaken