August 16, 2012

Working Smart

People often complain that they’re able to get in deep states during formal practice but are not able to maintain those states in daily life. There’s a lot to be said about this but one suggestion I have is to work smart by creating for yourself “challenge sequences.”

The idea is simple. 

Take any meditation technique you relate to and attempt to maintain it through a sequence of progressively more challenging activities. Stay with each stage for however long it takes you to get as deep as you were in the previous stage.

Here’s an example.
1. Lying down
2. Seated eyes closed
3. Seated eyes open
4. Standing
5. Slow walking
6. Faster walking
7. Walking in a sensorily impactful environment
8. Simple exercise
9. More complicated exercise
10. Washing dishes
11. Cooking a simple meal
12. Cooking a more complicated meal
13. Carrying on a vacuous conversation
14. Watching low-impact tv
15. Watching high impact tv
16. Carrying on a substantive conversation
17. Carrying on an emotionally charged substantive conversation

Your goal is to maintain the deepest state you can experience in #1 while in #17. It's like weight training, you build it up gradually. It may seem like an awful big homework assignment but you have the rest of your life to turn it in!


  1. And than say: "Yes"!

  2. Thanx for this advice! My problem seems to be more "tiredness". Hard to seems like having worked all day pysically, but in another way it seems emotional, like not really caring enough to make the effort of awakening deeply to the moment. How can I maintain the attenion - not just in a difficult activity, but day after day and month after month?

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  4. thank you for the challenge. i am starting now with the activity or reading and doing email while meditating.

  5. Very good advice, and essential training to integrate mindfulness skills into the vicissitudes of life. Setting goals to work with gives the mind a bone to chew and makes practice fun! Practice here, practice there, practice practice....

  6. In theory could you use any of your meditation techniques whilst working at a computer based job and some conversations/meetings and still function well at your work all day?


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