Is your practice on the cushion once week? Or do you meditate daily and feel this your practice?
Perhaps the real question is, do you believe that meditation is your practice?
I for one, do not feel that my practice is in my meditation, but quite possibly every moment that I am off the cushion. Encompassing every breath, action, reaction, view, perception and thought. Meditation actually being a very minute part of my practice, however vitally important.
But let’s look at this. If we meditate every day, doesn’t that mean that we are mindful and dedicated to our practice? Of course it does, and the benefits should be obvious if you have done this for any period of time. You should feel calmer, more peaceful and at ease, and accepting of this life in a much more compassionate way. But these things are really only the foundation for your practice. Like cultivating the soil so that your plants will grow strong and healthy. We cultivate loving-kindness, compassion, acceptance and equanimity during our meditation so that we may develop ourselves into wholesome and noble beings.
Through my own practice and observations, I often see that what has been cultivated during meditation can be quickly forgotten once I am off the cushion. Judgements, ego, and desire often quickly take hold and I see that there is no practice. And while time and circumstance do not allow me to stop and just return to the cushion, I am learning to just breathe the moment.
What does that mean exactly? It means I can call upon my practice to come back to the present moment and apply that which I have learned over time. Accept, be mindful and cultivate. Reminding myself that it’s not about me, it’s not mine, and all things are impermanent.
I believe that having this greater, or more encompassing, view of our practice is key to our progress. Cultivate during meditation, then plant seeds of kindness and compassion throughout each day.
Doing this towards ourselves is the only way to truly make this available towards others.
I suggest you offer yourself an abundance of love and compassion today. The past is gone, and does not define you. This day, this moment, love yourself fully and deeply. And you will soon see that others cannot help but be blessed by your presence.
That my dear friends is the practice.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.
“May our heart’s garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh