I think what’s important here is to recognize that from one point of view, my view, is we can’t afford not to fit mediation in.  We may think, "Well, I don’t have time in my busy schedule to brush my teeth."  Well, that’s going to have a detrimental impact on the rest of your life, isn’t it?  And so in the same way, really, we should find a little bit of time every day to brush our mind, to clean our mind. 

We wouldn’t think of leaving the house without cleaning the body.  Really, we shouldn’t think about leaving the house without cleaning the mind.  Finding the mind is more important than the body.  The state of your mind determines everything.  

So, we need encouragement to do it though, there’s no doubt about that.  Especially, to begin with because it so goes against our habit and because at this point in time, our mind is often very uncomfortable because it’s full of unhappiness, depression, frustration, anxiety.  So when you sit still, you’re not going to necessarily go to a peaceful place or a joyful place or a loving place, like I was saying.  So you have to expect that.  And in part, that’s why it’s very important to connect with other people who are meditating. 

You know, this is why my teacher, Geshe Kelsang, he’s written books, but the main thing he did, we might say, the main component of modern Buddhism was that he established centers where there are western teachers teaching these meditations and there’s a community of practitioners.  And we need community, for sure, because we need that encouragement.  

Basically my view is if you begin to practice and especially if you find that method of connecting to some community, receiving some encouragement, and you know, these days, you know, it can happen over the internet.  But live is better.  You know, connecting to an actual living community – live interaction with a teacher, always better, of course because there’s something energetic that happens then as well.  But, if we begin to get that taste of meditation we will see it will improve us as a person.  We will be a happier, more peaceful, more kind person.  That will help our relationship, that will help our children, that will help our parents, that will help our colleagues, it will help our world.  You know, we are all interconnected.  That’s also another thing that modern life, I think, shows us.  That’s one of the aspects of modern life, that we’re all interconnected.  And it’s one of the things that Buddha taught, we’re all interconnected and everything you say or do affects everything else. 

 So it's important if we could, so to speak, inject into the bloodstream of all living beings, kindness, wisdom, peace, love, compassion.  It’s clear there’s not enough of that happening and it needs to happen here, in our own heart and then it happens organically and naturally.  So, we can always find the time if we really want to. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock