Sunday, November 29, 2009

Practicing Meditation for Life

In my last post I wrote about practicing meditation as an end in itself. But that isn't all there is to it. The practice in meditation is practice for life. By this I mean that the skill you learn "on the cushion" can be applied in everyday life. It isn't just about sitting on the cushion and bringing your mind back to the breath over and over. It is about refining that skill for the rest of your life, life off the cushion.

Why? Why bother? What is the point?

As a beginning meditator I'll offer my thoughts. The main reason to carry the present-moment awareness skill into daily life is so that you can live this life -- as it happens -- to the max. If you are really right here, right now ALL the time (good luck with that, but it's worth trying) then you will have the full, real experience of your life. You won't be distracted from whatever is going on by ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. You'll HAVE this moment in all its glory. Or sorrow, pain, joy, whatever it is. You'll be right there, rather than some-where else or some-when else, like most of us usually are.

Another reason I have found for meditating is that the skill of bringing my mind back to the present serves me in relationships. During an interchange, if I am able to hear the other person, to see them as they are right here, right now, without past baggage or future fear getting in the way, things between us go much better. Talk about challenges! But on the rare occasion when I get a glimpse of this, I see the value.

Beyond these, there are the health benefits of meditation, which are becoming more documented with each passing day.

I'm sure I'll find more of my own personal reasons to continue meditating as time goes on. For now, this is enough to get me onto the cushion for 20 minutes each morning.

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