There are plenty of good reasons to meditate that have nothing to do with Awakening. These include stress reduction, improved concentration, and an uptick in your overall sense of well-being. To get these results, you don’t have to meditate all that much, even as little as ten minutes a day will get you there.
But what if you want more? What if you want Awakening? And what if you want to get there as quickly as possible? What does that entail? What sacrifices will you have to make?
John “Culadasa” Yates is a very popular meditation teacher and former neuroscientist, who just happens to looks more than a little like Yoda. He’s generally low-key and agreeable in his demeanor, but this old post of his shows just how hardcore someone should go if they want to maximize their time and reach Awakening.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“First is your level of dedication and commitment, the priority that you give to practice as compared to the rest of the things that occupy your time and attention. To bring your practice into your life 100% of the time with maximum effectiveness, it has to be the single most important thing in your life.
Be mindful of your motivation. Review it often. Penetrate it deeply. If you find yourself thinking, “I want to experience Awakening”, ask yourself Why? Awakening from what? Awakening to what? What do I really know about how to do this? See what the Buddha and others have to say, then look inside yourself. What is it that you really, really want, and why do you want it. Especially, why do you want that rather than anything else the world has to offer? Whenever there are pressures on your time to do other things, which there always will be, never miss the opportunity to review and ask yourself, “How important to me is this, really? What am I willing to change or sacrifice?”
When others start to describe you as obsessed, then you know you are on the way to 100%. Even 50% is admirable, but don’t cut yourself short. Do you want admiration or Awakening. Go for it!
Richard Hamming had a lot to say about that as well: “The great scientists, when an opportunity opens up, get after it and they pursue it. They drop all other things.” This is absolutely necessary. Do you read the newspaper? Do you watch TV? Do you read fiction? Do you golf? Do you attend movies, sports events, plays, or other entertainments? Do you volunteer your time to organizations for social, political, environmental, charitable, or humane projects? Do you socialize with people who are not involved in the Dharma?
Becoming a full-time Dharma practitioner has a radical effect on a person’s social life. They find they have less and less in common with most of their friends and family, and many of the interests and activities they used to share with those people are no longer important. The relationships they maintain and the time they invest in these relationships becomes more a matter of loving-kindness, compassion, and the practice of fully-conscious, full-minded awareness being applied to the understanding of desire, aversion, delusion and dukha. In other words, the relationships that continue become a part of your practice. You will most likely find that many of your old friendships fade away and are replaced by new ones that are more Dharma related. This can be difficult for some people, and there can be a period of alienation and loneliness before becoming involved in a supportive sangha of fellow practitioners.”
So how about you good folk? Have you made Awakening your top priority? Have you cut off most of the trivial things in your life?
How hard are you really going for it?
If you are going to be meditating for hours a day, you better practice a style you mesh with. Click on this link to my course “Find the Right Style of Meditation for You” and get 50% off.