Monday, May 23, 2011


Meditation like many other activities is fine to start with but begins to pall after a while.The pattern is familiar to many: we read the books or hear the inspired talk and think we might just give this meditation thing a bit of a whirl. So we sit and say the word and, just as the book of the speaker says, it works. There is a feeling of well being and in the 23 hours and 20 minutes of the day when we are not meditating everything seems to hum along with a new fluidity and sense of depth, and so we continue, for a week; for a fortnight; or a month even. But sooner or later what began as a novelty and a pleasure becomes a duty; it becomes harder to drag our meditation seat from the corner and easier to find reasons why  it won't matter if we give it a miss, "just for today".

This is where commitment to the regime of silence becomes absolutely necessary. For me, I need to remind myself of the worth of meditation in my inner, daily self talk, and very specifically, when I sit down. At the time before breakfast when i usually meditate I need to remind myself very forcefully that this is the most important part of my day and that nothing takes preference over it. As I first take my seat, I remind myself why I am doing this. Before I close my eyes and say my word, I remind myself that I have all the time necessary and that nothing else needs to be done right now. And then I can relax, and surrender to my little automatic bell  the decision about when I will rise to my feet again

For me, the morning meditation session has proven comparatively easy. Where I tend to come unstuck is the afternoon session, the one at the close of the day. My timetable is so fluid and my days so unpredictable, that it is difficult to schedule myself to be in one set place at a given time every day, and it is all that much harder to commit myself to the discipline of stopping and being still late in the day. By way of compensation, I have tried often, the extend the length of my morning meditation, but it's not the same thing and while it is beneficial to be still for a longer period, there is a benefit to both opening and closing my day in meditation. Bracketed in silence, the whole day becomes in some way a part of my prayer. I find myself more attentive, more  aware in that piece of the day spent between the silences.

In the past short time I have been absolutely rigorous with myself in making provision for the afternoon session and the effect has been not just a doubling of benefit, but a quadrupling.


  1. A pragmatic question or two. Twenty minutes each session? Is this a fixed length of time? How do you 'come out' of the meditation? Do you set a timer? (The ring would make me tense) or do you just end it when it comes naturally to an end?

  2. Ah. Just read your next post about the little timer.

  3. I think that ideally, it would be good just to enter and leave meditation with no external timing. But this leaves too many doors open for my mind to annoy me with questions of the "are we there yet?" variety. I do find that I am developing a very accurate internal clock: I can tell pretty much when 10 or 20 or 30 minutes has passed and the little timer bell is never more than a minute or so away from my estimate.