is hard enough at home and under ideal conditions – so how do we expect
ourselves to keep it up when we're on the road and off our normal schedule?
I started as a very socially anxious person. So camping recently with a group of non-meditators in Yosemite, I felt familiar pangs: What will they think of me? Will I miss important group time? Will waiting for my meditation be an inconvenience for the group? In the past these worries would have had me quivering. But meditation has given me armor against such enemies, strengthening me to ‘come out of my cocoon’. Camping that weekend, I remembered Easwaran’s refrain:
“Put meditation first. Make it the first priority; everything else can be second. Nothing important will ever suffer by this.”
I woke before the group and enjoyed beautiful sunrise meditations. Early in the day I told my friends about my plan for evening meditation, and when the time came I meditated while others lounged and recovered from a hike. “Wow,” I thought, “as usual, Easwaran was right!” I felt refreshed, and my friends ranged from neutral to inspired.
My actions to make that weekend’s practice go smoothly sound simple, but for me they’ve been the result of years of slow progress. Making meditation work on the road – like most of the challenges of growing our eight-point practice – has been all about (1) the BIG stuff: building habits through repetition, and (2) the little stuff: ironing out lots of details.