Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 18 - Finding the Time for Meditation
Date: Fri Nov 28, 2003 2:28pm
Q: Meditation is very relaxing and I want to keep it up, but doing it twice a day will be hard for me. I travel a lot and have a wife and kids who I love to spend time with when I’m home. Time for meditation is short. What is your advice?
A: We who have families, responsibilities, busy lives, have an advantage when it comes to utilizing meditation, assuming we are able to make the time to do it. This is because the evolution of enlightenment depends on regular interaction between consciousness and worldly living. How can the true nature of the world be known if we are not in it, stabilizing the blissful silence we experience in meditation in our daily activities?
The trick is to make the time to do our two meditations each day so the benefits will be there. This “making the time” is a test of our desire, our devotion to the possibilities in us. It is a test that we all face every day – to do the things we want to do that require some discipline. Honestly, it is not a matter of how much time we have or do not have. It is a matter of deciding what is important to us, and doing what is necessary.
No one can tell you what is most important to you. Only you can know. It is entirely in your hands, always your choice. But you have an inner voice, you know. Something inside calls you to experience more, always to more. The seed wants to grow into a strong tree with beautiful, fragrant flowers blooming out all over. It must. We are all called by that evolutionary current inside us. Whatever else may be going on in our lives, the current will be there. It is not just for us, it is for everyone, and we do everyone a great service by deciding to cultivate it, first by favoring the rise of the desire, and then with practices that naturally bring out the peace and bliss residing within us.
Given that a choice is made to pursue meditation, it boils down to practical considerations. How to make the time? It is pretty mundane really. How do we find time to brush our teeth, bathe, eat right, wash the dishes, pay the bills, and take out the trash? These are things we do because we know they must be done. We do them because we know that if we do not, life becomes a mess, a shambles, and we feel rotten. We could get along without doing any of these things for a while, but eventually it would catch up with us. People who have been regularly practicing meditation for some time develop a similar attitude about it. They know it has to be taken care of, or the desired result will not be there, and life will not be all it can be. They come to the same conclusion about meditation that they have about brushing teeth, bathing, and taking out the trash. So they just make meditation a habit.
What about circumstances arising that make doing normal meditation seem impossible? You are on an airplane at five PM with an hour to go to get home. It’s a no-brainer. Meditate on the plane. What about the noise, the banking of the plane, the turbulence? None of it matters. In meditation, you treat it all the same as other diversions from the mantra. Easily come back to the mantra when you realize you are off into thoughts, noise, movements of the body or surroundings, or whatever. It is not difficult to meditate in planes, trains, automobiles (not while driving!), waiting rooms, just about anywhere you are not required to be interacting with others for a while. Of course, at home in your regular meditation spot is best. But when in a pinch at the appointed time, if there is the opportunity, take it.
If it is impossible to meditate at the regular time, consider doing it at another time during the day, earlier or later. Don’t make a habit of meditating right before bed though. It is better than not meditating at all, but it is much better to go into activity after meditation. The purification process and integration of consciousness in the nervous system is best accomplished during activity rather than in sleep. In fact, meditating right before bed might keep you awake for a while. Try it sometime and see what happens.
Suppose you get home from work and find that you have to go out to dinner with friends in half an hour. This is meditation time, and normally you would leave more time before having to go out. But this time it didn’t work out. What do you do? Sit and meditate for five minutes, ten minutes, or fifteen minutes — whatever you can swing. Take the time you have to meditate and use it as best you can, allowing time to rest adequately after meditation and still make your date. There are a hundred ways to squeeze in a meditation, if you really want to. Don’t make squeezing it in a daily habit though. If you plan ahead you will be on the mark with your practice ninety-nine percent of the time. When something goes haywire, you can still take a few dives into your pure bliss consciousness. It aids in the continued cultivation of your meditation habit, and gives you an infusion of peace and bliss. Every little bit of meditation is a big step forward.
Your success will be in the wanting, and in doing the best you can to act on that every day. If you do, it will certainly enhance your full and active life. It is one of the best things your can do for your family. In the long run it will work an invisible magic in all of their lives, and the outer results will be very evident.
The guru is in you.