7 Exercises for Taking Your Practice into the World
Use these exercises for a few days each month to help you maintain clarity, compassion, and mindfulness throughout the full range of your experience.
Exercise 1 Practice acting on the thoughts of generosity that arise in the mind.
Exercise 2 Determine not to gossip or speak about a third party who isn’t with you at the time.
Exercise 3 Pick a person in your life that you usually ignore or feel indifferent to. Consciously pay attention to them and make them an object of your metta
Exercise 4 Observe whatever desire arises strongly in your mind. Note whatever emotions you feel associated with it (such as loneliness, fear, longing, boredom, and so on).
Exercise 5 Use times of suffering or unhappiness as opportunities to pay particular attention. What are the sources of discomfort? Is an expectation not being met, or a desire going unfulfilled? Do you find, at the heart of the suffering, a sense of being out of control?
Exercise 6 Choose a simple activity and be as mindful of it as you can. Note the intention preceding each component of the activity. Note the experiences of following through on these intentions.
Exercise 7 When you find yourself waiting in line, stuck in traffic, sitting in a meeting, or otherwise “between worlds,” practice awareness of the breath or of sounds, sights, and so on.
Adapted from Insight Meditation: A Step-by-Step Course on How to Meditate with Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, an interactive learning program from Sounds True.