A meditative life is made up of two parts. The first is to gain knowledge from meditation and the second is to put that knowledge into practice.
While most people only look after gaining knowledge from meditation, that’s like winning only a small part of the battle. The bigger part of the battle to win is to put that knowledge into practice. It’s only by putting your knowledge to practice that you know how deeply that knowledge has synced in you and how strong you are from within.
And to put your knowledge to practice is way tougher than you think it to be.
If I were to tell you how often I fail to do the right thing and succumb into the temptation of doing the wrong thing, this article won’t be enough to cover it. For example, just few days ago I found myself saying negative things about a person I know. This was such a wrong thing to do. I knew it was the wrong thing to do the moment before I started saying it, and I knew it was wrong even while I was saying it, but still I went on complaining about the other person and said all that was in my heart.
In short, I failed to act with full mindfulness in that moment. If I had, then I won’t be complaining about the other person. Here knowing the right thing to do wasn’t enough, I should have practiced the right thing in that situation, which would have been to stay quiet and say nothing.
You see, how difficult it is to do the right thing, even when you know what’s right to do.
Our old habits are so hard to kill. I am practicing meditation for more than seven years now, still I fail several times in a day to keep my meditative guard and fall prey to the temptations of my heart and mind.
The truth is it’s hard to live with mindfulness all the time. It’s hard to be in a meditative state all the time. It’s hard to live the right life all the time.
But let that not disappoint you. The good thing is, while it’s hard to be mindful all the time, it does get easier with time to do so. For example, years ago, I used to get stressed out all the time over little things, but now I am in way better control of myself and can handle bigger crisis in my life with ease. This is something I couldn’t do before.
Though we all are imperfect in our own ways, nothing can stop us from trying to be perfect. And that’s why you should continue to put the knowledge you gain from meditation into practice as often as you can.
Practicing what you know strengthens your knowledge, which in turn strengthens your practice.
So, though you may find it hard to put your knowledge into practice, the only thing in your hands is to continue your practice with hope and with complete trust in the process. With time, things will only get better.
I agree it won’t be easy. Yes, you will get angry from time to time. Yes, you will lose your self-control from time to time. Yes, you will fall prey to your temptations from time to time.
But every time that happens, the only thing you can do is forgive yourself, and encourage yourself to be more careful the next time.
If I hadn’t forgiven myself for the wrong things I did in the past, I could have never advanced ahead in my meditation practice. And you, too, have no other choice than to forgive yourself for any past mistakes.
And even when you make new mistakes in future, forgive yourself, and make a fresh start each time, but this time with more dedication than you did previously. If you do this long enough, and continue to improve with each mistake, you will soon see that now you make fewer mistakes than before. And then, you will even have days where you lived the full day perfectly, and won’t want to change anything about it. That’s when you know you are moving in the right direction and you are improving in your mindfulness practice.
Gaining the right knowledge itself is a hard thing to do. That’s why very few people spend their life in pursuit of it. If you have already made the start towards gaining the right knowledge, then you are already ahead of most people around you. But, as you just saw, what’s even harder to do, is to put this knowledge into practice in your daily life. That’s what tests the effectiveness of your knowledge and the strength of your mindfulness practice.
It’s only by overcoming one test after another, moving from one failure to another, that you learn how much you still have to learn about mindful living. Every mistake you make, every hardship you encounter will be worth it if you try to overcome it with greater zeal each time.
Have faith in your mindfulness practice, and keep your guard. Knowing that it’s hard to live with mindfulness all the time, try to strengthen your practice day after day.
Thank you for your time.