February 13, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 13: Get thee to the cushion

I've heard plenty of discussions about how difficult it can be to establish a regular meditation practice. There are whole lists of tips about how to go about this. But the best advice I've ever heard is short and sweet and comes from the Buddha himself:

Here are the roots of trees. Here are empty places.
Get down and meditate. Don't be lazy.
Don't become one who is later remorseful.
That is my instruction to you.

This comes from Bhikkhunupassaya Sutta, in which the Buddha explains what "directed" and "undirected" meditation are. (If you want to know more about these two forms of meditation, you can read Andrew Olendzki's translation of the sutta here.)

I'd say there's little more to say, but I can't help myself. Here's a tip I once heard from Jospeh Goldstein: Each night, before you go to bed, put yourself in sitting posture—even if you have no intention to meditate—and then go to sleep. Inevitably, I find myself meditating, and easily so.

A vow can also be powerful but may set you up for remorse. So, I like the Buddha's instruction best—Get down and meditate. Don't be lazy!


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mcarp@me.com's picture

After struggling with this, or rather just ignoring it and not doing it, for years, at our house we discovered that it's straightforward. We meditate first thing every morning, 20 minutes on weekdays and 30-40 minutes on weekends. We have varied our methods as we have learned and encountered different teachers but the consistency in practice is the key, at least at our house.