While there are many reasons to practice meditation, one of the main reasons that I have found to practice meditation is to be less distracted and more present, to be more aware of what is going on within my mind and to be more aware of those around me. With an increased awareness of what goes on in my environment, there’s also the potential to become more aware of what is happening to those around me and to attend to those who need my help or assistance. This “compassionate impulse” is a benefit that is not always found in discussions on meditation.
At its heart, a primary reason to practice meditation is to become more of who we inherently are; compassionate, present and aware. The state of non-distraction, which we gradually achieve as we progress in our meditation practice, brings us a mind that is aware of our moment-to-moment life, that in turn brings about a natural state of compassion, recognizing others as being equally as distracted and in need of awareness within their mind.
Sogyal Rinpoche inspires us to begin the day by integrating our practice, even at the breakfast table!
While these aspects of meditation can provide us with the support necessary to achieve a stable meditation practice, and while a formal meditation practice is the only way to become familiar with our mind, the primary reason to meditate is to become familiar with our true nature within our ordinary daily life.
Have you been trying out taking meditation mini-breaks throughout the day? How is it going? Did you plan to take a few mini-breaks during the day but only remembered once? Did you at least have the intention to try? If so, that is great!
Too often we belittle the progress we are making in meditation, rather than appreciating it. We immediately go for the dissatisfaction, focusing on all the ways we come up short, rather than appreciating what we were able to accomplish. No wonder we can so easily lose interest in meditation!
(this is a part of a series of blog posts on how to integrate meditation practice into our daily life)
Having goals are an important part of life. We are often times obsessively motivated to meet goals, especially if the goal is one we picked. From meeting a good friend for a cup of tea at three, to planning what to get for dinner or saving for a vacation, we spend most of our life making plans and working towards enacting the plan or goal.
In the previous post in this series, I mentioned how it’s helpful to have a trigger to remind you to take a meditation mini-break during the day. Here is a list of three things you can try:
(This post is the second installment in a series of about integrating meditation into daily life.)
As mentioned in the last post, as a meditator, we should take lots of meditation mini-breaks throughout the day. But often it seems hard to switch gears between our involvement in daily activity and slowing down enough to meditate. So here are some steps we can take that will help us create the meditation habit during the day.
It is really great to start your day with meditation practice. When you start the day with meditation, even if you can only do five minutes, it can transform your day. But often we find that as we step out our door, the events of the day take over and we get completely distracted by them. Sometimes we find that we completely lose the centeredness and peace that we discovered during our time on the cushion.
During a recent retreat, the teacher said something that really hit me: every time you practise, it is like meeting a buddha. He encouraged us to make the place where we practise a really special place where the environment would be a sacred place where we get to meet with our true selves. When I went back home, this really stayed with me. Every time I sit down to practise I now try to consciously remember how special it is in fact to practise and to get to meet a buddha. What a great gift to myself to take the space and time and really be. This is probably the only time during the day that I get to really hang out in the spaciousness and enjoy.
I have somewhat of an interest in trying to make my work as efficiently as possible, so I can spend more time meditating and doing other things. I guess it's a casualty incurred from having lived in the US for many years. Anyway, a technique I have recently been experimenting with is the pomodoro technique in combination with the well-known meditation advice of practising short sessions, many times over. The idea of a pomodoro is a period of 25 minutes you devote to a single task with a clear goal, followed by a few minutes break. After this you are ready for another pomodoro. By breaking up your day like that in small chunks, you are motivated to really focus on one task, and feel like you have accomplished something rather than wasting your whole day doing everything and nothing. I then realized this was a perfect chance to bring meditation in the workday: every time you accomplish a pomodoro, you simply drop in for one minute, do whatever you need to do, and get ready for your next pomodoro. No chance to forget your next meditation session. Such brief meditation sessions are surprisingly powerful because they renew your focus, clarity and calm. Normally I always forget to take these brief meditation breaks, but in this way they happen naturally--they are part of the schedule! So the productivity gurus of today are reinventing what meditators have known for a long time.