How far have you come in your practice? Have been studying or practicing Buddhism for days, weeks, months or years? Perhaps you simply consider yourself a “breathe-ist” and not a Buddhist. Regardless of which one applies to you personally, I think it is good for each of us to do a check-in from time to time. Evaluating the what, why and how of our practice. What is our determination, intention and benefit of this practice?
Certainly, meditation is the foundation for most of us. But do each of you have the strong determination to spend time each and every day observing your mind and sending loving kindness to yourself and others? And if not, it may be an opportunity to ask yourself why you avoid this important and beneficial part of your practice.
For me, I see meditation as a similar act to filling up your car with gas. If our tank is empty, we can go nowhere and accomplish very little. And if we fill our tanks, but leave our car parked in the garage, there is no benefit to the self or anyone else.
Our practice should be about adding fuel each day for the benefit of the self and all others.
But an additional metaphor here, is observing the type of fuel that we put in our vehicle. Bad fuel can have the same adverse effects as unskilful meditation. The mind can easily become agitated and disturbed if not properly guided and encouraged.
The check-in opportunity here may be to speak with your teacher. And if you do not have a teacher, I would highly encourage you to find a good one and spend a little time discussing your practice. Keeping in mind that poor quality of your practice can me more harmful than not practicing at all. We all can benefit front the counsel and direction of one who has greater wisdom and skill than ourselves.
Last night at meditation, Bhante Sujatha discussed a little about sati-sampajañña. Sati being the word for mindfulness, and sampajañña meaning alertness; self-awareness; presence of mind; clear comprehension. Ah, clear comprehension, that’s the big one!
As Bhante stated in his dhamma talk, one can be very mindful of the whiskey they are drinking. But that does not mean one has clear comprehension of this act. And I see clearly how this can apply to so many of our words, thoughts, and actions every day. And sati-sampajañña is perhaps the intention of checking-in. By being alert and self-aware, we each can increase the skillful means by which we continue and grow in our own personal development and practice.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.