This is one of the hardest things to really master when you want to meditate - how to commit to a daily practice without missing days, without 'flaking out', without feeling that you owe yourself a day off...
Meditation has, quite simply, transformed my life. And not only mine. The Buddha committed to sitting under the Bodhi Tree, meditating until he had understood the cause of human suffering - and then dedicated his life to sharing his insights. Many modern business leaders meditate and are happy to publicly state how it underpins their every success. Of course spiritual leaders light the way for the lesser initiated and experienced, demonstrating the power of peaceful prayer and taking it into high level negotiations to try to shift the attitudes, behaviour and policy of incalcitrant governments in countries where some of the worst suffering and human rights and ecological violations are only too clearly documented. We just need to pray that more politicians take up the practice too - and soon!
But, when you are setting out on this path on your own - maybe you live with a partner or have a family, it doesn't matter - how do you get up each and every morning and sit and dedicated an allotted amount of time to yourself? There is a strong danger of 'spiritual Ego' that comes in to play in the early stages, whereby we boast to our friends, loved ones, even teachers about how 'good' we are being with our practice. We are trying to impress them, and gain their praise to fuel our own motivation to continue. This can work for a while, but it is not sustainable. At some stage, friends will get bored, or feel that you are setting yourself out to be better than them because of your practice, and this can be very damaging to relationships.
Meditation is a personal thing. Sharing our experiences is almost like sharing our sexual fantasies or inner-most thoughts with the world - it's not appropriate and everyone ends up feeling a bit uncomfortable by the end.
So, what can you do to keep yourself on track? When you sit and meditate, there is noone to watch and know whether you are doing the meditation to the best of your ability, noone to see if you cut short your practice, or sit in a lazy posture. Well, fortunately there is someone that you need to impress with your practice, who is watching you constantly and receives the direct benefit proportional to effort that you put in - YOU!
Sitting is your commitment to yourself, your dedication to the relationship that you develop with yourself once you start a spiritual practice. And doing your best each and every single time, is the way that you impress yourself. Make a promise to yourself every time you sit, that you will give 100 percent of yourself in this practice, and at the end, ask yourself whether you honoured that commitment to yourself.
If you can honestly say that you did your best (respecting the fact that 'best' varies from day to day), then you have impressed yourself. And that is the person that, above all others, you should be looking to impress.
Take this attitude into your daily life. Can you impress yourself with all that you do - do you dress your best each and every morning, in clean clothes, paying attention to detail; do you do your best to nourish and nurture and care for your body, each and every day, feeding it whole foods, rich in easily-digestible nutrition and free from toxins and heavy substances which will need more energy to digest then they will deliver; do you do your best to communicate lovingly with your partner, family, friends, colleagues, to catch any reactive comments and behaviour to prevent it damaging their trust in you?
There are many, many ways to impress yourself - I invite you to put on your best outfit today, and go out into the world with a smile on your face and a commitment in your heart to impress yourself first and foremost and see how the world responds to you. Let me know how it feels, let me know how great it feels when you start to impress yourself in everything you do. I look forward to hearing from you right here - share your comments below.
Thank you for stopping by. Please feel free to share this if you feel it will help and inspire others. And have a beautiful day.