In a recent meditation class here in Hobart I was asked about taking dharma into daily life; how can we integrate that learnt in these sessions into our daily activities. That is, how can we take the insight found whilst our minds are still, and use this in our day to day activities. Good question, I thought. And shows that the inquirer is indeed interested in dharma, over and above the positive affect meditation may have for the hour or so he or she spend meditating. Such questions suggest that this person is likely to be a long-term practitioner simply because he or she sees the connection between what happens on the cushion, and normal walking around. Such people see meditation—or classes thereof—not simply as social events or a time in the week in which they get to chill out with nice people. No. They see the link between meditation and life.
I think the best way to answer the question, “how can I integrate my meditation practice into daily life,” is to reply: you tell me. Seriously, if you are interested in understanding the causal relation between meditation and daily life, you need to see the link for yourself. Such insights arise from critical reflection, not by someone telling you how to think.
Of course, questions, are ways of gaining fresh insights; new perspectives that may lead to new realizations and methods for engaging our practice. Questions are important. There is no doubt about that. But, if they are left at that, then we are simply adopting another persons perspective. This approach, to my mind at least, is a kind of anti-dharma, for the Buddha told his students, “do not adopt what I have taught merely out of respect.”
As I have said before, it is not as if we need to re-invent the dharma-wheel but, it is something we need to experience for ourselves. Critical reflection, therefore, is a genuine type of practice, and moreover, of fundamental importance along the path to enlightenment.
Take this to heart but, do not believe it to be true. Check it out for yourself, by way of critical reflection. As it is this process along that will yield profound insight.
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