This morning I woke up at 4:30 as I've noticed that the 3:30 start might have been a bit overly ambitious. I meditated for about 20 minutes (almost falling asleep in a seated position a few times) and found that I was able to get into it much more easily and the time went by faster. I'm assuming that with continued practice, I'll be able to sit in meditation for longer periods of time. That being said, I promptly lowered myself down onto my side and fell right back asleep until 6:30.
Due to the fact that I'm struggling so much with the schedule, I've decided that I will have to switch to a slightly less extreme regimen. I will be changing my schedule to be more like that of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I figure, if he can get 7 hours of sleep then I can too without worrying that I won't get the full experience. It will just be a different experience. Although he still wakes up at 3:30am, he actually goes to bed at 8:30pm. I think that I'll just shift it so that I'm going to sleep at around 10-11:00pm and waking up around 5:00am. The idea here is not to exhaust myself to death afterall, it's to get a bit of a glimpse into the monastic lifestyle (albeit a very surface glimpse but a glimpse nonetheless).
I was asked today if I feel hungry in the evenings. The answer is no. I still allow myself liquids in the evenings (milk, tea or juice) which is more than most monks would consume after noon. The Dalai Lama, for example, seems to only have tea after noon, as far as I could tell from the information that I've read about him.
Usually, the restriction on eating after noon is not one of the things that a layperson would follow. It is one of the ten precepts that only the monks and nuns would have taken (and in some traditions they are still followed). The laity follow only five. Of course there are 227 more rules for monks (350 for nuns) that would be followed in addition to these precepts. Naturally, I can't take this experience to that length but I am still fascinated by it and the discipline that would be needed to follow it.
I have more to add but I think I'll post it as a separate entry since this is already getting quite long!