What you do outside your meditation session affects your practice while meditating. If you struggle to chant or go as deep into the practice as you’d like, this article is for you. Often, while we do our best to concentrate when we sit to chant, but it’s actually what we have done or not done outside that time, which has a great impact on our experience. I want to share five of the most common challenges faced by practitioners and their solutions below. If you find something relevant to you, focus on that one aspect and work on it, instead of trying to do everything at once.
- Routine – Do you go to sleep and wake up at odd hours every day? No fixed time set aside for work, family, chores, study, exercise, meditation etc? If you are not organised, it leads to instability. Instability in life, instability in the mind and instability in meditation. So, try to organise your time, set a routine and stick to it as much as possible. It is best to mediate early in the morning (even better before sunrise!) before all the activity and hustle of the day begins. Make it a priority. It sets the tone for your entire day. As they say, well begun is half done. That is why we teach the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra to provide a solid foundation for the otherwise unstable mind to stand on. It’s an anchor for it to hold on to and steady itself.
- Restraint – Ever let a person, or situation or object get the better of you? Given in to a temptation? Did something you knew you shouldn’t have? You know what happens afterwards. There are consequences. You feel guilty. You feel disappointed. You fail to achieve your goal. And most importantly, you reinforce the belief that you are incapable of discipline. Our senses, desires, emotions are all pulling us in a hundred different directions all the time. Distracting us. Looking for quick fixes, instant gratification, an immediate hit of pleasurable feelings. The more we give in, the more we allow our mid to dictate our choices and actions and behaviour, the more we become a salve to our impulses. Break this pattern. We take strength and find shelter in our chanting.
- Respect – Our busy lives leave us little time for respect. We rush about trying to do this, that and the other like programmed robots. We forget to respect ourselves, our real nature. We forget to respect people for who they are. We forget to respect nature. As a result, our whole being becomes offensive. Abrasive. At odds with the world. There is no scope for higher truths like trust, faith, gratitude and devotion to manifest themselves in our life and in our consciousness. This life, this world, people, are all sacred gifts to us. Meant to remind us of the existence of divinity in our lives. Meant to fill us with wonder, and respect and humility and gratitude. Live in a way that there is acknowledgment and respect for the sacred in us and all around us.
So, there you go. The Three R’s which will help you in chanting Hare Krishna. Follow these and I am sure you will see an improvement. Do let me know in the comments if this was helpful. If there are specific areas of improvement or challenges you wish to discuss, please feel free to write to me. Happy chanting! Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
– Venu Gayak das