You are currently browsing the daily archive for 1 June 2011.
For those you you out there who may be considering beginning a daily meditation practice, I thought it might be beneficial to discuss some of the benefits of so doing.
There are many benefits to establishing a daily meditation practice, and in particular a Lamrim meditation practice.
Over the next few days I will be discussing some of the principal benefits.
And as a taster, here is something to think about: throughout all our lives, we put great effort into learning new skills. We learn languages, systems, layouts, relationships, methods, sequences, techniques, information, behaviours, routes, strategies, tactics. We learn all manner of things which, in time, fall by the wayside as our inclinations or conditions change. Sometimes we spend many years developing a skill only to find that we no longer need it due to new technology, or a change in our life (such as leaving work to have a family, or retirement or redundancy). And after a while, we find ourselves wondering why we spent so much time and effort learning something we no longer need or use.
Well, by way of contrast,by maintaining a daily Lamrim meditation practice we will learn immensely useful mental habits and attitudes which we will always find useful, no matter how radically our life changes.
Every day will be new, fresh and magical: deeply rewarding and infinitely meaningful.
Time spent on Lamrim meditations will remain valid and valuable for all our life. It is time well spent.
Stay tuned for more benefits of Lamrim.
I began this meditation by considering my normal view of my place in society and all other living beings. My normal view is that I am more important that all others, and that my freedom and happiness is more important than that of all others. In other words, I cherish myself more than I cherish others. In fact, normally I cherish myself far, far more than others, and completely neglect to even consider the happiness and freedom of others, except for a few people who are very close to me.
This view is ungrateful, illogical and causes me to completely waste my potential as a force for good in the world.
In order to establish my object of meditation, I recalled the conclusions from my previous meditation; that all other living beings have been, and continue to be, very kind to me. I stayed with this recognition for a while and let it make an impression in my mind.
Then I considered that I and all other living beings are equal, in that we are all suffering in samsara. I let my mind dwell on this recognition for a while so that it became familiar.
Then I considered that I am only one living being, whereas there are countless other suffering living beings. Given how kind they have been, and given that we are all essentially equal, how can I work to secure my own freedom and happiness while neglecting the freedom and happiness of others? It is completely untenable. If I act so that I and one other person feel more free or happy, that is twice as worthwhile that if I act for my own benefit alone. If I act so that countless living beings feel more free and happy, that is almost infinitely more worthwhile.
So shall I continue to ignore others and work only for my own freedom and happiness, or shall I recognise the kindness of others, our equality, and how much benefit I can be my sharing my concern for myself and my concern for others equally?
I rolled these thoughts around my mind for a while, and slowly a feeling arose of an equality of cherishing. I did not get a particularly distinct visual image. It was a little difficult to put into words, but was like a white water mark or level which extended everywhere, had the nature of cherishing and applied to all living beings. But it encapsulated a very firm feeling of myself and others being equal, and that I should cherish others as I do myself. I let the feeling fill my mind, and I stayed with it, aware of what it meant, but not doing any more actual thinking.
Part way through my contemplation (in the last paragraph) I realised I was pushing too hard to get my object, so I relaxed my effort and just allowed my mind to gently move through the contemplation and let the feeling of equalising self and others to arise naturally, which it did.
I have settled into a little routine in my holiday cottage. I get up early when the house is still quiet and do my meditation in front of a large sash window. It has a low sill which is perfect for my book and cup of coffee!
For a successful meditation practice, it is important to establish a routine, and I will be talking about how to do this in the near future. Stay tuned!