Advice for Daily Practice

On Wednesday night, we had a wonderful gathering at Mindfulness in Healing. Our practice center is undergoing some changes because we are merging with another sangha in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who we call Thay.

We meet in this wonderful Chinese medical clinic, the Pine Street Clinic in San Anselmo. The building is an old apothecary with a large reception and store area where we meet and seven treatment room for acupuncture and naturopathy.

We began with three invitations of the bell and our traditional invocation, which I wrote based on Thay’s writings:

This life is the gift of the whole universe – the Earth, the Sky, and many generations.

May we learn to live in mindfulness in order to enjoy the wonders of life.

Following the invocation, we held the space for a 30 minute sitting meditation that everyone enjoyed. In the context of this period of sitting meditation, I offered some advice for daily practice.

Suppose you meditate for half an hour sometime between two and five times a week. This is very good, but not consistent. In a case like this, I recommend a consistent practice of nine or ten minutes a day for 21 days. This is the period of time necessary to instill a new habit.

After you have experienced this consistency, you can increase it to 15 or 20 minutes a day for another three weeks. Once you have completed this six week period of daily practice, you can work your way up to 30 minutes a day.

It doesn’t matter whether you do it in the morning or evening. Simply choose the time that is best for you. You may even wish to meditate in the evenings during the week days and in the mornings on the weekends or just the other way around.

I sometimes find myself up between 3:00 AM and 4:30 AM. Often, when this happens, I’ll get out of bed and sit in my living room for 30 minutes and then go back to bed. This works for me and it may work for you if you are awakened in the middle of the night.

If you are new to meditation practice, this advice may be useful to you also.

Are you ready for a daily meditation practice? If so, how can I help you?

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