In my research I have been thinking a lot lately about the power of habits, which was stirred by David Neal, who visited our institute and gave a talk about this topic. He showed how we think we are in charge of our lives and in control, and how we do what we want to do. But actually, we spend most of our time performing habitual actions (Wood & Neal, 2007)). This is why it is so difficult to kick our habit of distraction, for example.
Approximately forty-five people attended my talk, which took place in a conference room at the bank. I was really impressed by the people I met. They have very stressful jobs and not a whole lot of spare time and yet they made time to come and meditate and learn more about meditation. These folks were sincerely interested in learning how to uncover the inherent wisdom, love and compassion that we all possess. The fact that we could discuss the relationship between contentment, mind and meditation in a corporate environment is actually very cool.
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.
When you think about caring for another, and about arriving fully present at the bedside, what comes to mind? Does the idea of compassion in caring mean that we have to sacrifice some part of ourselves, or somehow “become” something we’re not in order to arrive present? Is there something that we lack that needs to be gained in order to be compassionate?
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.
When we think about meditation, it's easy to think about sitting on a cushion, or in nature and working with our mind, working with our practice. And, to some extent, that's what we need to do when we formally practice. It's through our formal practice that we gain the stability to practice every day, to integrate what we've learned into how we are and who we are in our lives.
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche shares a few words with our WhatMeditationReallyIs.com community.
What do you do with your mind when you drive? Do you think about what you have to do when you get where you’re going? Do you mull over your problems? Do you sing along with music and lose yourself in the words and a memory of the video clip that goes with it? Are you cursing the idiot in that Porsche up ahead, or getting irritated because the traffic is too slow? If you’re doing any of this, ask yourself if you’re as aware of the road as you could be? Is there a safer, more relaxed way to hold your mind as you drive? Answer – yes.
Here is Sogyal Rinpoche’s entire WhatMeditationReallyIs talk from the AWAKE event on the 4th of May 2011 in Amsterdam.