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Lions Roar : March 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2008 38 meditators you see in magazines. You’re here to work on yourself. Establish that as your focus and keep it strong. ESTAB LISH A R EGULAR R OUTINE You’re in this for the long haul. We all like the stories of sudden enlightenment, but even the most lightning-like insights have to be primed by a long, steady discipline of daily practice. That’s because the discipline is what makes you observant, and being observant is what enables insight to see. Don’t get taken in by promises of quick and easy shortcuts. Set aside a time to medi- tate every day and then stick to your sched- ule, whether you feel like meditating or not. Sometimes the best insights come on the days you least feel like meditating. Even when they don’t, you’re establishing strength of discipline, patience, and resilience that will see you through the even greater dif- ficulties of aging, illness, and death. That’s why it’s called practice. AIM FOR B ALANCE The “muscle groups” of the path are threefold: virtue, concentration, and dis- cernment. If any one of these gets over- developed at the expense of the others, it throws you out of alignment, and your extra strength turns into a liability. SET INTER I M GOALS You can’t fix a deadline for your enlight- enment, but you can keep aiming for a little more sitting or walking time, a little more consistency in your mindfulness, a little more speed in recovering from dis- traction, a little more understanding of what you’re doing. If you’re approaching meditation as a lifetime activity, you’ve got to have goals. You’ve got to want re- sults. Otherwise the whole thing turns into mush, and you start wondering why you’re sitting here when you could be sit- ting at the beach. FOCUS ON PR OPER FORM Get your desire for results to work for you rather than against you. Once you’ve set your goals, focus not on the results but on MAR 18-41.indd 38 MAR 18-41.indd 38 12/19/07 2:34:48 PM 12/19/07 2:34:48 PM