Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to let go of your expectations?

When you invest in the stock market or work out at a gym, you expect results — and you keep checking the quotes or the scale to tell you how well you’re doing. If you bring the same attitude to meditation, however, you’re defeating the purpose — which is to let go of your thoughts altogether and just be present in the here and now. One of the great paradoxes of meditation is that you can’t reap the benefits until you drop all your expectations and accept things the way they are. Then the benefits come back to you a thousandfold.
In the beginning, of course, you’re going to keep wondering whether you’re doing it right. But don’t worry, there’s no wrong way to meditate —except perhaps sitting and trying to measure how well you’re doing! One day you may feel like you’re on top of the world — you’re full of energy, your mind is clear, and you can follow your breath with relative ease. “Wow, now I’m getting the hang of it,” you think. The next day you’re so overwhelmed by thoughts or emotions that you sit for 20 minutes without even noticing your breath. Welcome to the practice of meditation! The point is not to do it right, but just to do it — again and again.
One of my Zen teachers used to compare meditation to walking in the fog on a warm summer day: Though you may not pay attention to what’s happening, pretty soon you’re drenched in dew.

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