It’s fun to see all the different trends of diet come and go. And it now seems like a good idea to eat whole food veggies and grains and all that, which we have had here all these time… like for a long long time.
Meditation has been here also for at least 2,600 years. And people started to notice again that it may be a good thing. With the time tested aspects and recent science studies, I think it is a good thing. Experientially I know it is good for me.
I could live without or with little veggies but I may not be in great health. The same goes to meditation. I had lived with very little meditative exercise for 30 years but I was not in good mental shape. Some veggies I didn’t like but I came to like them, like eggplants and kale. Now I mostly eat vegetables, no meat. In a million years, I had never thought I would stop eating meat growing up in Japan. But you never know.
Meditation practice is not always fun or amazing, sometimes even annoying and boring. But I came to enjoy it regardless of how I feel about it that day and just keep going. Just like I keep making choice of eating veggies.
Metta meditation, so-called loving-kindness meditation, is very powerful to make better friends with yourself and others. Basically you send well wishes towards yourself and others by repeating loving-kindness phrases such as may I (you) be well, happy and peaceful. I know it sounds cheesy but it really is a wonderful practice when all those bit$hy judgy voice is going on over and over in the head.
There are many ways to do this practice. I recommend the book Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg to learn more about it. There are classically 6 categories of beings that you send well wishes to: self, teacher, friend or family, stranger, difficult person, and all beings. In the Buddhist scripture, there are 2 categories: self and all beings. Practicing with the classic 6 categories is a great place to start.
Anyways, I live in New York City and commute by subway everyday. This is just a funny way to keep going with the practice outside of formal sitting practice:
- Count the number of stations I have to get to. (42nd St to 66th St on 1 train would be 3 stations)
- I send well wishes to different categories in between stations. (42nd-50th is self, 50th-59th is friend, 59th-66th is all beings)
- Don’t miss the stop!
If I have to go up to 6 stations, that’s great! If more? I sandwich with quick mindfulness of breath to start and end. So that’s 8 stations!!! Wow. That’s Queensboro Plaza to Canal St on N train… Sounds good to me.