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The most important part of a meditation practice is sitting down to meditate. Doing it right is not so important. It is only practice. The practice is watching your mind. As you watch your mind in meditation, you open yourself to possibilities. You don’t know what you will get out of it, but you sit anyway.
Meditation is good anytime of day or night. It is good to find a time in your routine to practice meditation, because if you don’t practice regularly, you rarely will decide spontaneously to meditate. If you practice regularly, you will often spontaneously meditate. You might find yourself sitting on a bus, or in a waiting room, or at your desk, or in a meeting, and you will follow your breath and practice being aware of your awareness. You may consciously focus on listening to what somebody is saying. You may focus on a spot on the floor. You may focus on your phone and act like you are getting sucked into technology, when, really you are doing the opposite. That kind of spontaneous meditation grows out of a regular practice.
Mornings and evenings are good times to practice meditation. In the morning, meditation will help you wake up. At night, it will help you go to sleep. It is convenient to attach your meditation routine to your sleeping routine, because that is the time you already dedicate to resting and letting your mind sort itself out. It is especially convenient to add meditation to your sleep routine if you experience problems sleeping. If you have an active mind, that may keep you from falling asleep, or it may wake your from your sleep. If you have problems falling asleep, meditate before bed. If you wake in the middle of the night, get up and meditate then. If you wake up early in the morning, meditate then. Try any or all of those.
Finding a regular time to sit for a set amount of time is the basis of a meditation practice. What you do when you sit, is to practice paying attention to your attention. Then, when you are not meditating, you will find yourself using the skills that you practiced.
“Life is this simple: We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the Divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable. It is true.”
Michio Kaku & Nirvana
“Stephen Hawking said that he didn’t believe in God because the big bang happened instantly and there was no time for God to create a universe, therefore God couldn’t exist. I have a different point of view. My parents were Buddhists and in Buddhism there is Nirvana, timelessness, no beginning and no end. But my parents put me in a Presbyterian church, so I went to Sunday school every week and learned about Genesis and how the universe was created in seven days. Now with the multiverse idea we can meld these two diametrically opposed paradigms together. According to string theory, big bangs are happening all the time. Even as we speak, Genesis is taking place somewhere in the cosmos. And what is the universe expanding into? Nirvana. Eleven-dimensional hyperspace is Nirvana. So you can have Buddhism and Judeo-Christian philosophy in one theory.”
Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she’s a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat —
the one you never really liked — will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours. Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you’ll come home to find your son has emptied
the refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up — drug money.
There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs halfway down. But there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice — one white, one black — scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.