Inspired by the previous post from Marieke van Vugt, I decided to try my hand at sharing what a "normal" day of work-integrating-meditation looks like.
Since preparing to publish my book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind, and starting my own business, the unfortunate fact is that the time for my "formal" practice has suffered. Yet, while I lament and moan about the lack of time to formally practice, it seems like the integration of practice into my daily life, and my ability to take life onto the path, has increased.
I’ve been meditating now for over 15 years. It’s one of the most important things in my life and also one of my favorite things to avoid.
My alarm is set for 5:45 am…I think. The theory is to have enough time to do at least an hour of meditation in the morning before I seize the day. What often happens is...
It occurred to me it might be fun to describe how meditation plays into the life of us bloggers, who have been trying to "live meditation" for a number of years. So let me describe a typical day.
Recently, while doing a meditation practice based on compassion, I found - much to my dismay - that my focus was anywhere but on my practice. What made it even worse (and even embarrassing) was that I was doing the practice for a friend of mine who had experienced a significant medical emergency.
What happens when we find ourselves so caught up in the habitual patterns of our distractions that our most sincere intention of focusing on another is thwarted by our tendency to get locked into our claustrophobic habit of thinking of ourselves?
THANK YOU SPEECH TO SOGYAL RINPOCHE FOR HIS AWESOMENESS
When I first got here to Lerab Ling, I thought this retreat would be a cakewalk. I mean, so easy. I’d walk around in the sunshine, enjoy the beauty of the hills, get some meditation tips, slide into that peaceful zone, it’d be great.
I’d done a retreat that was really hard, a 10 day vipassana course in Pune, India. 10 days of silence, 10 hours per day of meditation, no airconditioning … that was hard. Compared to that, I thought this one would be Club Med.
But then I got here… and it wasn’t Club Med at all. I was having a really hard time! I was distracted, I was itchy, I didn’t feel happy, there was no peaceful zone … and I couldn’t understand what was going on.
Recently I was watching a movie called, “The Peaceful Warrior” about a young athlete at a California University who happens upon a spiritual mystic and teacher in the guise of an old mechanic working at the neighborhood gas station. One of his mysterious guru’s most pointed messages is that we completely miss out on life because we’re always distracted by thoughts of past and future. At one point he takes his student to a park and asks him to take a look around. The student replies, “There’s nothing going on here,” At which point the teacher takes the student by the shoulder and miraculously transforms his perception.
“If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.” – Pema Chodron
Does your mind get all unruly when you try to meditate?
Beginning meditators often feel disheartened when they find their mind besieged by more thoughts and emotions than ever. They might even give up, thinking that meditation will never work because their mind is just too unruly.
Even those who find meditation easy in the beginning, may soon encounter a time when their mind suddenly feels out of control. "Advanced" meditators also hit turbulence from time-to-time.
Here's the secret: If your mind is a bit wild, you are not alone! Agitation is one of the two main obstacles in meditation; the other is dullness. The great meditators of the past encountered precisely the same problems when they tried to meditate. Lucky for us, they found solutions.
Distractions of all kinds—speculation, daydream, fantasy, replays of how the recent past should have turned out, forming opinions about the people we meet—are totally normal daily mental events, part of the furniture of our mental living room. As someone I know once pointed out, the appeal is distilled into a single slogan in an old advert for Nintendo Game Boy: “Wherever you are, be somewhere else!”