Years ago I had the good fortune to be present at a talk given by the Dalai Lama.
Towards the end of the talk he was asked a question:
What’s the most important thing you can do to improve your life and make yourself a better person?
I just knew he was going to say, “meditate every day.”
But he didn’t.
Instead, he said, “Read and study.”
He went on to say that reading and learning about the causes and consequences of our behaviors was crucial to the development of wisdom that leads to greater goodness for individuals and our world.
You can use that advice to help you along if you have been struggling to develop a daily practice to support your personal growth.
I have found that incorporating a little bit of reading and reflection into my daily meditation practice has fueled my motivation to persist over time.
Here’s what I do:
- Each morning I go outside to my treehouse.
- In my treehouse I keep a few books, a notebook for recording quotes and interesting ideas, and my meditation cushions.
- I also have a comfy chair to sit in while I read.
- Depending on how much time I have, I may read just a few paragraphs or several pages of whatever book I’m working my way through. Sometimes it takes me months to get through a book. If I come across a quote that is meaningful to me, I record it in my journal. Or if my reading generates other thoughts, I record those as well.
- Then I set my my timer, climb onto my cushions and spend some time in meditation.
This is my favorite time of day. I don’t view it as a chore that I have to do, or yet another task that must be accomplished.
Instead, I see it as my break from all my chores and jobs. It’s nothing but self-reflection and self-care.
Now this doesn’t mean the meditations are always peaceful. Usually they are, but not always. Sometimes I am restless or sleepy or grumpy.
But still, this time feels valuable and fruitful, and I’ve come to understand that any meditation experience is a good one. They all add to my overall growth.
A strategy for sustaining your meditation practice.
So if you are struggling to build your own daily routine, try this.
- Find a book about mindfulness that interests you.
- Create a comfy place in your home that you look forward to settling into for a short time each day.
- Read a page or two.
- Then spend a few minutes in meditation and reflection.
Some books to get you started
There are lots more great books out there that you might find interesting. So if none of these appeal, google it.
The point is to use a little bit of daily reading to fuel your commitment to your mindfulness practice.
Even a few minutes of reading followed by a few minutes of meditation will lay a great foundation for personal transformation.
Is there a book that has inspired you?
Please share it in the comments below .