Stopping and Snowballing

Last week I started to stop my daily meditations.  By the end of the week I was not getting my two sits in.

This problem reminds me of a poem that was in the book, “The Moon Appears When the Water is Still.”  A monk arrives at a woman’s house and is looking for a place to stay that is out of the rain.  He can’t stay with her, because it would be against his precepts, as she lives alone.  The woman then asks him to lie, and then eat meat, and then take a drink. The poem takes us through his declining of every action that is against his sila, which is implied in the woman’s every request.  At the end of his declines, the woman says, “what can one drink hurt?”  The poem finishes by saying that at the end of the night, all the precepts were broken, because of that one drink.

This is the danger of taking one step in a direction away from Dhamma.  It multiplies.  The daily sits, I’ve noticed, are important to my well-being.  If I miss a day because I’m busy, I might say, “that’s okay, I’ll get it tomorrow.”  Though, if I miss tomorrow, I might say the same thing.  Then, I’ve missed three days, and pretty soon a week’s gone by.  After a week of not getting my daily sits in, I notice that I start to feel more agitated and less equanimous in my daily actions.  It is important to me, to get my daily sits in.  I also think that it is important to be an inspiration to others by sitting daily.  That’s almost an extra incentive to make sure you do it; consider how the example looks to others and that it might help them get their sits in, when you do.

Sometimes you may still lack equanimity and balance of the mind, even when sitting every day.  The mind is a wild animal at times, and we are required to tame it.  As we tame it, it still runs wild.  The difference between not meditating and meditating is that we are dealing with it on a morning and night basis, directly.  It may still come up, just as much, or more, while we sit.  The good thing to notice is that it comes up less and less because of our work; because we meditate.  Time to sit.

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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