Monastic Mom

On Meditation — or not-so monastic mom

I am often asked, "When do you find time to meditate." The answer is — I don't (at least not sitting meditation). That's the simple answer. In other parts of the world, monks meditate daily, but many of the lay people do not. The lay person's emphasis is on living not on sitting. With that in mind, I do not feel guilty about not sitting.

The more complex answer is that I don't sit and meditate, but I do stop momentarily and follow my breath or say a mantra or prayer - such as
Thich Nhat Hahn's
Breathing in I know that I am breathing in, breathing out I know that I am breathing out,
Breathing in I calm my body, breathing out I smile,
Living in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful momen

Or the Tibetan Om Mani Padme Hum
Or the Pureland Namu Amida Butsu
Or the Zen counting the breaths

I'm an eclectic Buddhist afterall.

I do these at such times as when I'm stuck in traffic, when I'm lying in bed at night before I go to sleep, when I awake in the night and can't get back to sleep, when I'm cooking dinner, in essence whenever I can. But not as often as I could. Some days pass without a meditation moment. Sometimes I'm just so busy, but other times I just forget.

But the more complex question is why don't I find time to do sitting meditation. In the past, I did find time to meditate. So why did I stop? I went through a very intense, heartbreaking, life changing time. I found I could not meditate during that time. I needed time away from the cushion. I began placing more emphasis on right living which was for me the right decision. Practice is important, but we need to practice in a manner that is right for us. And that manner changes with the times of our life.

But much time has passed. I am more busy than I have ever been, but I believe that it's time for me to return to the cushion or the seiza bench as the case may be. I am, of course, trying to be more monastic in my life. But meditation is like exercise — I know it is good for me, but it's so difficult to get myself into a routine to do it. I am, in essence, lazy.

Stay tuned for more reports on my road to meditation.

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