Dr Alan Wallace – Meditation for Busy People


Busy busy busy. Well OK, but everybody’s busy, so get over it! We’re all very busy, but what I would say
is we’re all equally busy and human beings have always been equally busy,
because everybody’s doing something for roughly 16 hours a day. And that means
we’re all busy. Some people drinking tea, some people lounging and staring at the sky. Everybody’s busy, and by and large we’re
busy with what we value, and we don’t have time for what we don’t value. If you’re struggling just to exist – roughly half the human population is right there, in poverty or near poverty – and so what’s going to be occupying
their minds is simply making a living. They’ll be very busy with that. But many of
us including myself, we don’t have to spend every waking moment just to get by, food, clothing, shelter. So how do we fill the leisure time? And I
can tell you how: We fill it with what we choose, with what we prioritize. Some people they want to make a lot of money, they want fame, they want influence, they want prestige, they want greater status. That’s going to take up a lot of time. That’s where their priorities are, so if they say “I’m too busy for meditation,” all I say is, “You simply prioritize that more than meditation.” We can ask this question: Why would anybody prioritize meditation? Why take out five minutes, let alone an hour? I meditate normally about five or six hours a day –
that’s when i’m not in retreat. In retreat I’m meditating 12 hours a day. So people are busy but again consider that you’re busy, you’ve made a choice and you’re busy
with what you prioritize and if you are not happy with your choice make a new
one. So if you have only five minutes to cultivate your mind I just have to say you’re not taking
your mind very seriously. Sorry, but you’re not. You’re taking
everything else more seriously – you’re probably taking your teeth as seriously as that, because you spend something like five minutes brushing your teeth. You know,
personal hygiene: a shower, 20 minutes. We do that without really thinking, “Oh I’ve
got a big practice here,” because you value your physical health, keeping clean and socially respectable. Well, if physical hygiene is important, how about psychological hygiene? So what I would suggest is, if all you can manage is five minutes, check your priorities. Do you really want
to be happy and are you already happy, are you sufficiently happy, are you
finding the contentment you seek, in the way of life you’re already following?
If so, then I rejoice for you, but if you’re not content:
consider giving more than five minutes. Whatever you have, whether it’s five minutes, 20 minutes or twelve hours a day, a practice that can be helpful quickly – put in your dollar, you get out the candy bar – because we want quick results…
learn how to calm your mind. Get out of the default mode of rumination, of distraction, of restlessness, feeling ill-at-ease, and learn how to quiet down the mind. And a way of doing that is mindfully attending to the in breath, and the out breath, the in breath and out breath. And release, and relax. Calm down and come to
some inner silence, a kind of composure and be present and you may find that’s
very helpful. You might find it even addictive, and
that may not be a bad thing!


10 Responses

  1. valar

    December 31, 2016 1:25 am

    "Get over it"…What an unhelpful attitude. Meditation has had a 95% dropout rate over the course of one year in both modern and historical times. The student has always been blamed for quitting practice, but when the failure rate is that high, it isn't the student's fault. All traditional Buddhist paths have deep and systemic problems that need to be addressed to make them much more accessible to everyone. Sternly lecturing us doesn't do anyone any good.

  2. upholstery face

    October 5, 2018 8:46 pm

    life is a mess .. and glorious .. and hateful .. and steering through it .. find love .. big breaks .. be in numb, try not to go to beer, porn, lack of exercise .. facing "what dimension" is frightful .. scary "meditation story" taken farther than just "beginnings .." what really is happening on earth, as we drive, and stop for traffic .. we don't get out and sing and dance, in any which way .. we want .. from our minds .. drive ..


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