The past month or so has been so busy for me. First I travelled throughout Peru and Panama for two weeks, went to Chicago for a week 2 days later and then drove down to Virginia to move into my new apartment (which took about 4-5 full days). Now I am all finished, and as a reward, my new apartment just happens to be a 3-minute walk from my favorite Buddhist Sangha. This is exactly what I needed after a month full of external stress.
Earlier, I talked about the importance of a weekly meditation practice, and today I am going to talk about the values a monthly meditation practice can bring. The core concept is the same, most people can’t really take 2 hours to meditate everyday (even though you should probably try to anyways) but at the end of each week it is nice to have some sort of longer meditation process so that you can begin each week with a clean slate. Similarly, most people don’t have the time to meditate for 6 hours every week, so that is where a monthly meditation practice comes in.
When exploring mindfulness, we often hear about the importance of a daily practice, but is that really enough? 10 minutes a day may be all you need in terms of meditation, but wouldn’t you like to go a little bit further and see if you’re missing out?
This is a sentiment which I’m sure everyone that has tried meditation can relate to. Sometimes you just don’t want to do it. There are days when I resist the idea of meditation in a big way and oftentimes I don’t. Even though those days are more chaotic and stressful, I still can’t muster up the willpower to take a couple minutes out the next time I don’t feel like it.
Recently, I attended a small gathering with Bhante Sujatha, a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka. He touched on many topics about easing suffering, finding fulfillment in daily life and the work he is engaged in with helping underserved communities around the world. His message and experience is deeply impressive. You can find some of his talks on Youtube and his website. I’ll post links to relevant content in the appendix below. I definitely recommend exploring some of these resources, he has a kind way of talking and a wonderful sense of humor.
I’ve been trying a new practice while walking, driving or exercising. That is to take a moment, look around, smile and say to myself “there’s nothing wrong with the present moment.” It sounds so simple but is applicable to many activities.
As stated in previous articles, meditation is the way we practice being mindful. Much like hitting golf balls on the driving range improves your golf game, meditation will enable you to stay present through the rest of your day. Meditation has a whole host of mental and physical health benefits (which I will dive into in another article), but there are also many non-scientific improvements you’ll experience, lower stress, a feeling of having more time in your day, emotional balance and mental clarity instead of mental noise.
“Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” -John Kabatt Zinn
Focus, Distraction, Realization and Return
“Why am I so calm right now” I thought to myself, as the flight attendant finished the announcement letting passengers know that the airline had lost all of their luggage, “I should be freaking out right now, what’s happening?”