It is easy to spiral into depression or to find our lives suddenly stressful and racing along at a clipping pace. It easy to stop it too, but we think it's difficult and so we make it so. Really, it's not. We just have to have a daily mediation practice.
But even if we know that a daily mediation practice will help us, we see it as just another thing we have to try to fit into our day, and our ego battles us all the way, always finding some reason why we can't to it today. Then we may feel guilty, which adds even more stress to the situation. And on it goes. It's easy for not mediating to become a habit. Even if we're just taking a break for a while, the break can become our routine. Making ourselves happy, as in truly deeply happy - the kind that doesn't rely on anything external - does take discipline. There's no way around it.
So how do we make the leap? How do we fit mediation into our day?
I’m a geek. I love technology. I feel it empowers me to get what I need, or mainly what I don’t need but want, almost instantly. I want a movie, boom, it’s there, a song, click, I can start listening to it in less than a second. If I can’t remember something, I google it. You get the idea.
So what does this have to do with meditation? So far, nothing it seems. Gizmos have become a major source of distraction, and in most case they play a big part, at least for me, in taking us away from the meditation cushion. It’s so easy to grab you iPad and spend hours on Facebook and Twitter, to start watching a movie on Netflix,and so on... We want to be entertained, distracted from our own mind because it’s much easier than spending 10 minutes on a cushion trying not to grasp at our thoughts and emotions.
The passage to radical change in life can be stumbled upon via many routes, but they all have a common theme: it presents that which doesn’t fit into our standard modes of apprehension and understanding. Perhaps its a sudden realization of how vulnerable and subject to change are all our plans and expectations, thrust on us by a sudden, unexpected separation, career setback, a shocking loss. Or a recognition that we’ve become addicted to unsuitable habits and behaviors. Or it may be the dismay of recognizing how inadequate are the stories we’ve been reciting about our “self;” how they fail to capture our character, capabilities or weaknesses.
There are three common myths or misconceptions about meditation that can block us from realizing the power and benefit of practice. Yet, if we take a moment to expose them, we can easily figure out how to overcome them.
What is the point of all this posturing? This defending and promoting your point of view, as if only you know the truth and everyone else must have it wrong unless they agree with you. Why is it so important to be right when rightness and wrongness of ideas are only mental constructs, merely different ends of the same sliding scale, a scale that is evaluated differently depending on who is looking at it. Does it even matter where you tip the scales from wrong to right when your ideas about reality are merely that, ideas, and not reality itself. Why spend your life trying to affirm your ideas about reality when you can experience reality directly?
Sometimes it seems so difficult to meditate. We might try to sit, but our minds are all over the place; or perhaps we have too much pressure and stress in our life and can’t seem to find the mental space for meditation. What can we do?
I have had the privilege of working with many experienced meditators on their personal food issues. It’s always a real pleasure when a long-time practitioner walks into my office. As they tell me about what’s troubling them I often hear the phrase “how could I have missed this?”. Total confusion, sometimes even desperation, is in their eyes.
It’s often a relief for people to hear that so many of us “miss this”.
Something as basic as eating - is a big deal. How do we really look at something this primal without judgment? How do we change our reactions to these ideas and patterns that have formed before birth?
In our previously posted video conversation with Adam Engle, co-founder of the Mind and Life Institute we spoke about the emerging field of emotional/mental fitness. In this video, we discuss whether the traditional goal of profound spiritual transformation, popularly referred to as enlightenment, has any role to play in the new emotional/mental fitness industry.
How often do you stop? Really stop? Stop so that your mind is still, stable in the moment without reaching forward to what you're planning to do next, or roaming over something that happened in the past? If you're like most people, the answer is probably, rarely or even never. Our minds tend to constantly whirl ahead of where we are, perhaps to the next thing on your 'to do list,' the date you're planning for saturday night, or the destination of your journey. Even when we think our minds are still, there's often a subtle reaching towards the next moment.