At my first course, I accepted the five precept (No killing, stealing, lying, intoxicants, or sexual misconduct) as part of the trial of this technique. Since the technique helped, I decided to continue my practice. I followed the precepts with varying degrees of strictness. While I didn’t notice much of an impact during the day, it was very clear on my cushion. When I was breaking my precepts, my body felt less clean and clear, and my mind had more difficulty settling down. For the most part, I continued living the same way I did prior to meditation, which included some alcohol, insect killing, and partial truths, but I was developing an awareness of how these things impacted me.
I’m now starting to feel morality throughout my day. I pause before breaking a precept because my body is sending me signals that it’s not good for me. Instead of maintaining precepts because I’m supposed to, I’m actually being rewarded internally for maintaining them. I’m definitely not perfect, but my behavior patterns have changed significantly.
The hardest part of this transition was when precepts conflicted social norms. When someone asks how they look, you say, “great”. When you have mice in your house, you set traps. When a friend offers you a beer, you accept it. The social cues were telling me one thing while my sensations were telling me something different. It’s not an easy transition, but with time, the sensations win. Time to meditate.