I was in a class yesterday when another student asked the teacher a question about how often you should meditate.
It was an interesting question but my answer might be different than some.
One of the martial arts books that I bought back in the 1970s was "Man of Contrasts," by Hee Il Cho. It was a book about Taekwondo, but at the beginning of the book was a remarkable poem that has stayed with me ever since. Here is the poem:
I can find peace
amidst the cities roar
before the dry, frayed face of confusion,
the exhausted hour.
My peace is cradled within.
This poem came back to me around 1999 when I found myself walking through the crowded sidewalks of Times Square in New York City. People were almost shoulder-to-shoulder, walking in all directions, and instead of being stressed, I found that I was calm, centered, with a feeling of being connected to each person who rushed by -- peace amidst the city's roar.
I began doing qigong in 1987. My goal was to recreate the feeling of inner peace and relaxation, of maintaining my "center," throughout the day.
Most of the qigong exercises I did are on this website in video lessons.
Over time, I found that I did not have to do qigong every day. It had become so ingrained in my thinking and my inner balance that I carry it with me.
Without thinking about it, I have developed a mental and physical balance everywhere I go.
I find myself automatically going to that place in all types of circumstances -- when driving, when hanging out with my wife, even when, as I have done occasionally for the past 12 years, coughing up blood or going to the hospital.
So how often do I meditate?
I am always meditating. The feeling of being centered and balanced is not something that you should attain just during a five or twenty minute period of qigong or TM or whatever meditation vehicle you use. That's just the vehicle that gets you to your destination.
It can feel good to do qigong; to meditate. At the end of a session, you feel very peaceful. But that should only be the beginning. And eventually, you should be able to remain balanced and centered without even having to go through a ritual or a routine. It becomes part of who you are. That is the goal, to find peace everywhere you go. Sometimes we all fall short of our goals, but then suddenly there it is again, that feeling of being centered and connected, even when you aren't trying.
You never really stop meditating. It, along with peace, should be cradled within.
--by Ken Gullette
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