Virtues of Meditation
Sometimes I forget, as Buddhist, why I do meditation. Sometimes I just want to shut myself off from the world and to achieve a moment of peace. Sitting meditation is particular good for this and I am grateful for it. But there is more to it than that.
The reason I liked this one-day retreat is because it reminded me that it is easy to get attached to one form of practice. When I am asked to engage in practices that I may not like as much, sometimes I get annoyed but occasionally I realize that my annoyance is something to learn from. Why am I annoyed? What is about this practice that I don’t like? More importantly, how can I transform that annoyance into something beneficial?
I realized this weekend that the great thing about the walking meditation and the listening meditation is that it encourages me to engage with the world rather than shut myself off from it. Further, the water bowl meditation is an excellent reminder that if I can be mindful and move at the same time. The trick is to relax, forget about the bowl and to maintain awareness of the next step.
This practices are important for me because they are stepping stones to bring my practice into my daily life. In daily life I am often moving around. I’m on the MRT. I’m walking to the 7-11 down the road. Walking meditation helps remind me that these moments are all opportunities to practice. Walking meditation helps me remember, every now and then, to bring my attention to the present moment and to my bodily sensations no matter where I am. I can be at peace, if only for a moment, in the middle of Taipei Main Station.
Even better, the water bowl meditation is helpful in engaging with others. I am reminded to stay relaxed and calm, not to be distracted by irrelevancies and to give that person (the path ahead) my full attention. And this, when I actually manage to remember, is what Buddhism is all about for me.