Breaking retreat and taking the practice home

| Spirit Rock 2015 Retreat Morning Instruction Day 13 (2:08-12:35)

When we talk more, we find that we have more thinking after that as well. And the thinking mind needs to be seen as an object. When there is thinking, that there are thoughts, is not an indication of whether the mind has samadhi or not. Just because the mind is thinking doesn’t mean that the mind has lost samadhi.

Samadhi is in the observing mind; being able to watch steadily is samadhi. If you’re able to maintain awareness, it means that there is samadhi.

In this next day the level of activity is going to start increasing, you’ll find yourself planning more, deciding what to do, there is a lot of cleaning and packing to do; but remember no matter how much there is to get done, you can only do one thing at a time.

How do you do this, go through this day without losing awareness? The mind’s habit is to put all its attention outwards when it feels it has something that it has to get done. We lose mindfulness when we put too much energy into thinking about what to do and how to get it done. But we can do it without losing mindfulness.

So, if mentally we don’t have the sense of hurry, if mentally we can relax and take one thing at a time, then we can maintain awareness. Whatever we do, we can know how we feel as we do it, our state of mind, and what is happening in the mind as we do it.

We have a choice of so many things to be aware of that might be suitable for ourselves. We can be aware of the mind as we do what we do; we can be aware of the state of mind as we do things; we can be aware of the calmness or the steadiness of mind as we do things; it’s our choice.

And we have to do this at home too. This is how we need to continue to practice at home.

To only be able to practice and meditate when there is nothing else to do, that’s for beginners. But as we gain ground in practice, we should aim to bring the practice into all facets of our lives; to become skilful at maintaining awareness in every situation and context.

It is not only when the body is still and not moving that the mind can develop samadhi. We can be moving and still develop samadhi because samadhi is something that is developed through the activity of the mind, not the body. Even a runner probably has great samadhi; if the awareness is there, there will be samadhi.

When we have the right attitude and we are aware continuously, there will be samadhi no matter what work we do. Let the mind and body do what they do naturally; it just needs to be seen, that’s all.