Meditation and a Long View of Time

March 12, 2019 | By More

By Jessie Carson

A helpful way to approach a meditation practice is to begin with a long-term view of time. This isn’t easy though. If we have a meditation practice or if we’re considering starting, we are probably looking for an end to some kind of discomfort or suffering in our life right now. But, to do anything skillfully takes practice, dedication and motivation. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is basically meditation instruction, recognizes this need for a longer view of time. Sutra I:14 states

Sa tu dīrghakāla nairantarya satkāra āsevitaḥ dṛḍhabhūmiḥ ~ Perfection in practice comes when one continues to practice with sincerity and respect for a long period of time without any interruption. 

What is a long period of time? A lifetime? Or, as Buddha said, we might have to practice meditation for an incalculable number of eons before we reach enlightenment. If our spiritual goal is to attain any kind of freedom or inner peace, let’s give our self some time. 

For me, this idea of practicing for lifetimes lightened the load of practice. My early mornings of quiet sitting became a little less result-orientated and more touched with wonder and a sense of humility. 

It might be easy to fall into the trap of thinking, well, if this is such a tiny part of time, why does this matter anyway? We’re welcome to think that way, but even if it’s true, why would we want to?

The above sutra also asks us to contemplate how we can have a long-term practice and remain sincere and respectful. How might we maintain this in our practice? Sincerity and respect are inner qualities that go beyond the physical act of showing up with the body (although this is a monumental start!). Only we can answer this for ourselves. 

If we meditate with this long view in mind, we will likely find that a regular practice does benefit our life right now. Most of these ways are immeasurable, if we use the methods we often use to measure success, like money, clocks and other material human-made instruments. And, it will likely be the immeasurable ways in which we will eventually gauge a well-lived and meaningful life.

For information on a 6-week Online course on Buddhist meditation, 

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The course begins March 31, 2019 and includes
weekly videos, audio meditations and support calls.

Cost: $180 (if you are interested but are not able 

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Category: Articles, Spirituality & Meditation

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