In short, just do it. Read on for the long version.
Life goes on...
My Tai Chi instructor explained one day that the chi is very shy. If the intellect or the mind makes a move to control the body, the chi will back off and step out of the way. The chi is very patient. It has no where to go, no one to impress. Only when the mind lets go, only when the intellect gives up control, will the chi flow freely.
The same could be said of Enlightenment. It is always here, both within and without the mind and all of these worlds we experience.
Enlightenment has nothing to prove. It just is.
If the mind and intellect want to run the show, there is no problem. Enlightenment is still there, quiet and perfect in the background. The mind believes that it creates experiences. Some teachers say the mind merely filters experience.
Enlightenment doesn't care. It just is.
Buddha said meditation is the pathway to Enlightenment. Suzuki said, "We practice zazen to express our true nature, not to attain enlightenment."* (We don't need to attain something we already have.)
So, if you are interested in Enlightenment, in expressing your true nature, then meditate. Meditate every moment with the confidence that Buddha-nature is in every one of us.
Forget about yesterday and tomorrow. Forget about how you used to meditate. Forget about how you wish you could meditate. Let the mind roam, and just watch. Use music or your breath as an anchor. Eventually the mind will slow and expand. Your anchor will disappear along with you. Then, simply let go into the stillness of Light.
Be conscious of sitting meditation. Be conscious of moving meditation. On the surface they appear different, but are they really different?
So perhaps, you never really gave up your practice at all...you just thought you did!
*from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
The best way to get back on the practice is to set up a meditation schedule. Set aside a certain time of the day that will be dedicated to your practice. The best time to meditate is the morning after you have taken a shower. The second best time to meditate is the evening around sunset, after you come back from work. If you are new to meditation, or if you want to get back on the practice, you should meditate for at least 15 minutes twice a day. Then, you can increase the time to half an hour, then forty-five minutes, and eventually one hour twice a day. Most people find it most useful to meditate in half an hour sessions, but that's really up to the practitioner. When you meditate, it's a good idea to set up a meditation table in front of you at eye level or a little higher. On your table, you could have candles, yantras, flowers, plants, the picture of an enlightened being, or anything else that would inspire you to meditate. It is a good idea to concentrate on an object outside of yourself for the first five minutes to help you quiet your mind. Yantras are excellent concentration tools that will help you quiet the mind. A yantra is a geometrical figure designed in India to help you meditate. When you concentrate on a yantra, your mind connects with the minds of all the Buddhist monks that use yantras to meditate. This really brings your mind to a higher level of awareness.
Then, you should concentrate on your chakras. Chakras are energy centers located in the subtle physical body. The three main centers are; the navel center located about an inch below the navel. This is the center for willpower. The heart center, located in the center of the chest. This is the center of balance. And the third eye, located in the middle of your forehead. This is the center for wisdom. You should concentrate for at least five minutes on each one of this centers. After that, just try to let go of yourself for the next few minutes.
If you follow these simple instructions, your life will become more balanced, more powerful, and more intuitive. (For more detailed meditation instructions, please visit my web site at http://meditationclub.com).
One final recommendation, it is a great idea to meditate by listening to music. The group Zazen has created some wonderful albums to help people meditate. I highly recommend "Enlightenment" for your morning meditation, and "Canyons of Light" for your evening meditation. I also recommend the music by Joaquin Lievano, and some of the albums by Tangerine Dream, Kitaro, Cusco, and Patrick O'Hearn. (Sometimes, it might be a little hard to find Zazen albums at your local music store, however, you can now order their music from Amazon.com or you can special order their tapes and CDs from Barnes & Noble bookstores).
I wish you well on your meditation practice.
Here's what you do, in this order, seriously ;-)
Go see the movie The Matrix.
There are many Teachers
within your sight
But, sit you where
you see the Light.
You may have to search till
you are old
Find you a teacher
where the room turns gold.
If you live near one of the teachers listed here, then sit with one of them and see how it feels. See if you really want to pursue Enlightenment or just want to dabble. Once you know what your heart wants, pursue it with vigor, with enthusiasm and learn what you can.
You can't ever go back to who you were before. It doesn't work--it is something that we've all tried and it just won't work.
What you need to do is find out what has power in your life right now--not what had power when you were first into the practice--and focus on that.
This may or may not involve the daily practice of sitting in meditation.
Anything that you do in life on a daily basis which has power for you is a form of practice. And if you're NOT doing anything which involves pushing yourself hard, then you're definitely NOT meditating.
Let me be clear on what I mean by pushing yourself hard. If you're working long hours at your job that doesn't mean that you're pushing yourself hard. Quite possibly it means that others are pushing you hard.
Big difference. The former has power for you, and the latter does not. You have to find out what your dreams are, and put at least some of your energy into fulfilling your own dreams. Not the dreams of others, not even the dreams of Rama, but your own dreams need to become the focus of your power.
The real practice is finding out what has power for you in your life. Once you've found that, though, it might be time to add a little bit of formal practice of meditation. You probably want to try something a little different than whatever you were doing last, because that didn't hold your interest after a certain point. There are a number of interesting specific meditation techniques in Snowboarding to Nirvana that you might want to try. Or you can seek out a particular meditation teacher and see what techniques they give you.
But above all else, you need to follow where the power is in your life. If you've seen The Matrix--follow the White Rabbit!
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