My teacher always said to me from the first time I started practicing in my teens that even when I went home, I must continue practicing. I never understood what that really meant until I was almost 30, I was desperate, I was suffering and I had to do it.
I had no choice; and when I really began to do it all the time, that was when I understood the meaning of bhavana, cultivation.
I have spent time on long retreats – 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, but when I didn’t continue to practice in daily life, then the defilements would overwhelm me.
When I practiced in daily life, day by day, I struggled and because I used every potential – awareness, effort, wisdom – to apply in daily life, slowly the mind became stronger.
Deeper understanding can arise in daily life practice because you meet real situations and real experiences. Real defilements arise from real situations in your daily life.
You must face this real defilement with real awareness, real samadhi and real wisdom – they must match the real defilement.
If your understanding, awareness and samadhi are not real, defilements are not afraid of you. You can see real defilements in your life.
To learn how to live your life a better way, all day long, you check your thoughts, feelings and actions.
A yogi told me he practiced 2 hours sitting meditation every day – 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening – for 5 years. But he noticed that his mind hasn’t changed much after 5 years.