The true test of the effectiveness of our meditation is how we walk it out into our lives.
Yesterday, I had the most stimulating conversations with two gentleman about focusing and finding balance in jobs that demanded up to 16 - 20 hours a day.
Each time a 20 hour day was mentioned, I asked, "Does it really take 20 hours a day to do your job?" At first the answer was always a firm "yes" followed by a litany of rationalizations. Eventually, we reached, "Well, maybe not. Maybe not if I could focus my energy more efficiently. Maybe not if I could stop projecting my energy into the future. Maybe not if I could become more efficient and effective with my time."
Maybe your job doesn't take all the energy and stress you invest in it. Maybe stress has become your default and you feel more than a little bored and unimportant if you're not busy, busy, busy . . .
For me, morning meditation is the most important time of the day. It allows me to be in a space of balance - even if just for those few moments. The effect is that throughout the day, when life throws challenges my way, it's easier to come back to center if I started there in the first place.
When asked, "How should I meditate? How should I pray? I asked, "What were you taught in your childhood? Do that. Allow that simple practice to be the starting point from which to expand."
However, meditation and prayer are not rituals to be left on the mat as we charge out the door to conquer the world. They are tools that we can carry with us into the car, onto the freeway, through the door of the office, into the conference room, onto the plane . . . And very often, we do not pick up those tools until we have lost our temper, our job, our spouse, our balance - until we face a situation of chaos that causes us to yearn for balance one more.
The true test of our meditation is how we take it into the market place of our daily lives.
Photo by H.Kloppdelaney on Flickr.com