Jonathan Foust

September 19, 2008

Setting Up a Daily Practice

Filed under: Dharma, Meditation — jonathanfoust @ 11:00 am
Wow.  Great wall, dude.

The Great Wall.

For those of us living in the world and not holed up in a monestery, contemplative traditions recommend both a daily practice and occasional retreats.  



Here are a few suggestions for cultivating a daily practice:

1.  Develop a practice you can do on a regular basis.  Someone once said, “It’s better to meditate for five minutes a day than half an hour on Sunday morning.”

2.  Keep it Short.  A friend once made a commitment to just sit on her meditation cushion at least once a day.  Some days she’d plunk down, take one breath and hop back up again.  I thought that was a brilliant move.

That inspired me to do the same thing with my yoga practice.  The routine I’ve committed to takes me about seven minutes.  Seven minutes I can do.  My flow includes abdominal stuff, some deep knee bends, some side stretching and a ‘downward dog’ with variations.  It’s fast and it hits all the vital zones.

The way I keep it alive is that I never force myself to do more.  Sometimes, though, I get inspired and actually do more … and it feels great.

3.  Make it a routine.  One enterprising woman at the World Bank developed this flow:  When she boiled water for tea in the morning she’d sit at the table, feel her breath and relax.  When the tea kettle boiled, meditation was over.

4.  Find a partner who will hold you accountable.  As I like to joke, there’s nothing like having a partner who will shame you into meditating on a regular basis. Seriously, though, finding a like-minded person to sit with has huge benefits.  This is what kept me in an ashram for so many years.  When I needed inspiration, someone was around …. and hopefully I did the same for others.

5.  Study.  Read books, listen to talks.  You may find yourself more inspired, more aware of what’s unfolding inside and perhaps a little less stuck when you hit some blocks. 


What’s your practice and how do you keep it alive?


1 Comment »

  1. Weekly practice with my Sangha is invigorating. Also, attending periodic weekend retreats energizes the whole practice.


    Comment by John — September 26, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

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