21 Aug 2015
It was indeed encouraging as I slowly overcame the challenges of a wondering mind and physical discomfort during the meditation practices (Read: Vipassana Meditation Part 1). Developing greater awareness of the impermanence of not just physical sensations, but also life helps to strengthen one’s ability to maintain equanimity in the face of challenges.
It has been almost 3 months since I left St. John’s Island. We were encouraged to meditate at least twice a day to maintain what we had learnt during the VM course. As shared previously, I had my reservations whether I would be able to maintain the practices. So how do I fare, back to reality with the constant influx of information from mobiles, mass media, books, people around me…
Daily Meditation Practices
Back home, I start and end each day with meditation with reminders from preset alarms. Obviously it started off well, but became more inconsistent over time. It was more difficult to focus on days when there were more distracting thoughts surrounding life events, or when fatigue set in. I have learnt to accept the inconsistent practices and not be overly disappointed. Afterall, there will always be “good” and “not-so-good” days (remember “impermanence”). So just accept these inconsistencies and continue with the meditation practices.
During meditation, my mind often wonders off to daily encounters, such as news, interactions with others, tv programs etc. YES, social connections quickly interfere with my ability to focus! Although there is little physical discomfort (at least this gain is maintained), the wondering mind returned. Although it is impossible to stay socially disconnected, one can minimize possible distractions in life. Hence, I cut down on tv time, work on decluttering and even successfully modified my diet.
After the VM course, I continued to maintain a vegetarian diet during weekdays. Yes, not full conversion, I still take meats on weekends. A challenge some people may face is probably resistance from non-vegetarian loved ones. Fortunately, my mum has been supportive (hmm, as long as it is not full conversion) and she has also joined me regularly as well.
There you have it. There is no magic formula and simply attending a meditation course will not bring about sustained changes. Meditation requires constant practice and possible lifestyle changes. A three-month period is still relatively short, will update again in three months time. Hopefully, I am still able to maintain the meditation practices.
To all the meditation practitioners out there, do share your insights and experiences! Look forward to learning from you!
Keep Meditating, SLC