600 Meditations In 100 Days

It has been just over 4 years, since I changed my mode of meditation practice. Prior to the change, meditation retreats formed the core of my spiritual practice. The retreats were between 5 to 12 weeks long, and the average year would add up to about 6 months in meditation retreat. That phase span over 3 and a half years.

For the past 4 years, I have practiced at home, on my own. It is quite different to only meditate at home. For one, at retreats you are expected to spend at least 6 to 8 hours in the meditation hall, generally between 4am and 8pm.

It is true to say that the rules put some pressure on you to practice well, which makes it easier to motivate yourself. If you don't show up in the meditation hall as expected, you may be labelled as lazy and get into trouble.

At home, the situation is quite the opposite. The freedom you enjoy at home, makes it much more challenging to meditate for example twice a day, month after month after month. It calls for an earnest commitment and discipline to raise enough motivation to keep up the practice. Or put differently, it calls for an earnest commitment and discipline to let go of your lazy tendencies.

The 3-and-a-half-year phase of intensive meditation retreats, helped me overcome the bulk of my laziness. In retreat, you cultivate a willingness to make effort. This my friend, is the key to successful spiritual practice.

When you are in the middle of it, meditation retreats are downright monotonous. Your life centers around the meditation practice, meals and chores. After a month or two, you are likely to get tired of the food.

There is next to no conversation. Talking is discouraged since it tends to stimulate thinking, for hours after the conversation has ended. Further, you should avoid eye contact and rest your gaze on the floor. You may be surrounded by people, but you are very much on your own.

The willingness to make effort, is one of the fruits of retreat practice. When put to use, the skill propels you forward on the spiritual path. At some point, you will have enough motivation and discipline to practice alone at home, year after year after year.

It is healthy to change your meditation practice from time to time, to avoid getting stuck in habits and routines. That is the topic of this article.

Meditate 600 Times In 100 Days

Over the past 4 years, I have meditated at home between 2 to 3 times a day. For about ten months, I did a minimum of 3 hours per day, but most of the time the meditation practice has taken up about 2 hours a day.

As a rule of thumb, whenever the meditation flows, I meditate longer. In other words, when the mind is really clear, when I am really inspired or the concentration in really steady, I continue to meditate. Why? I consider these moments peak performance. In my experience, meditating at peak performance potentially makes for serious progress.

Seize the moment by making effort.

Living in Buddhist monasteries have made me accustomed to meditating before breakfast. This is a wholesome practice. First you make effort, then you enjoy the food.

Later this month, I will change my daily meditation practice again. This time, I will make near maximum effort for 100 days. The effort will be stepped up from 2 daily meditations to 6. What are the benefits of meditating that often?

The short answer is that it builds up a momentum or mental energy. As the momentum increases, the concentration is strengthened.

Thus, every time you meditate, the practice flows from the get-go. One could say that frequent meditation sessions throughout the day, naturally make for a meditative mind.

By meditating 600 times over a 100-day period, a condition which is most conducive to fruitful meditation practice arises. The mind will be steady or focused around the clock. It is like meditating with a precision instrument, as opposed to one that is in need of calibration.

The willingness to make effort will also be cultivated over the 100 days.

Like you most probably already know, spiritual practice is a 2-part formula. One is the cultivation of awareness or meditation, and the other is to become a better person. Both meditation and moral practice purify the mind. In order to fully experience the mind, the spiritual worlds and the beings that inhabit them, impurities like greed, anger and criticism must be removed from the mind.

To become a better person, entails to do what is good and right, throughout the day. It is not more complicated than that. Deep within, we all know what is good and right.

Normally, I meditate at home 2 times a day. In addition, I make ongoing effort to become a better person. My moral practice usually has a broad focus. By that, I mean that I work on several areas, at the same time. For instance, I may refrain from expressing anger, complaining and work on becoming a better listener. One could call it a broad or general focus.

In an effort to improve my moral practice and to change the routine, I have decided to shift the focus while meditating 600 times in 100 days.

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Guarding Against Criticizing Thoughts

I will go from a broad or general focus to only guarding against criticizing thoughts, that will be my moral practice for the 100 days. This particular area inspires me, which makes for natural motivation.

Remember that it is easy to make progress in morality when the mind is focused or clear. Therefore, it is correct to say that meditation practice supports moral practice.

Likewise, moral practice supports meditation practice. A meditator that always does what is good and right, will not get caught up thinking about guilt and shame, while meditating.

On the contrary, someone who stole his neighbor's lawn mover just before the retreat, may be overtaken by guilt, shame and fear, throughout the retreat. Thus, the unpleasant feelings and thoughts become a huge destraction.

Moreover, it is much easier to become aware of criticizing thoughts during an intensive meditation retreat, than at a time when you do not meditate. That is due to the built up momentum or deepened awareness.

A final note, guarding against criticizing thoughts takes place on two levels. One, refrain from engaging in criticizing thinking, which is useless and steeped in negativity. Two, refrain from any verbal criticism.

It is my hope, that by sharing my plans to meditate 600 times in 100 days, you can draw inspiration and broaden your understanding of intensive meditation and moral practice.

Few live for spiritual practice. What is more, not many have time to meditate throughout the day. I suggest that you sync your meditation practice with your lifestyle. Experiment to see what works for you.

You can commit yourself to 30 meditations in 30 days, or 60 meditations in 30 days. What matters the most is to give steady and relaxed attention to your meditation object. No need to meditate for more than 5 to 10 minutes per session.

After a month of daily practice, you should be able to tell the difference between sporadic and daily meditation practice. Again, daily practice generates a momentum that supports focus or concentration.

Feel free to email me...

Best of luck!

Related:   Daily Meditation   Maximize Daily Meditation   Meditation Retreats

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