Sunday, April 27, 2008

Meditation for reprogramming your mind

As an effective practice for reprogramming your mind and opening your heart, meditation has no parallel. But traditionally, meditation never stands alone — it’s always accompanied by an emphasis on motivation and attitude (that is, on the qualities of mind that fuel the fires of meditation and keep you going when the going gets tough).
Some meditation teachers may urge you to take a vow to dedicate your meditation to the well-being of others, rather than hoarding all the goodies for yourself. Others may ask you to consider your deepest aspirations or intentions or attitudes — what one Zen master calls your “inmost request.” Whatever the term used to describe it, you need to look deeply into your own mind and heart to clarify the reasons that motivate you to meditate. Then you can consult this motivation when the practice becomes boring and uneventful — which it inevitably does.
You may be driven to meditate by pain or suffering or desperation of some kind, or you may simply be dissatisfied with the quality of your life — the level of stress, the lack of enjoyment, the speed and intensity. Whatever your story, you need to be sufficiently motivated if you’re ever going to take the trouble to change your routine, slow down, and turn your attention inward for 15 or 20 minutes each day. In this chapter, you have an opportunity to face your unique brand of dissatisfaction — and cultivate the motivation that keeps you meditating, week after week.

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