Decompartmentalization

We have so many compartments in our lives. How can we bring meditation out of the meditation hall and in to the kitchen,and the office? In the meditation hall we sit quietly, and try to be aware of each breath. How can our sitting influence our non-sitting time? When a doctor gives you an injection,not only your arm but your whole body benefits from it. When you practice half an hour of sitting meditation a day, that time should be for all twenty—four hours, and not just for that half-hour.One smile,one breath,shouldbeforthebenefitofthewholeday,not just for that moment. We must practice in away that removes the barrier between practice and non—practice.

When we walk in the meditation hall, we make careful steps,very slowly. But when we go to the airport or the supermarket, we become quite another person. We walk very quickly, less mindfully. How can we practice mindfulness at the airport and in the supermarket? I have a friend who breathes between tele- phone calls, and it helps her very much. Another friend does walking meditation between business appointments, walking mindfully between buildings in downtown Denver. Passersby smile at him,and his meetings, even with diflicult persons, often turn out to bequite pleasant, and very successful.

We should beable to bring the practice from the meditation hall in to our daily lives. We need to discuss among our selves how to do it. Do you practice breathing between phone calls? Do you practice smiling while cutting carrots? Do you practice relaxation after hours of hard work? These are practical questions. If you know how to apply meditation to dinner time, leisure time, sleeping time, it will penetrate your daily life, and it will also have a tremendous effect on social concerns. Mindfulness can penetrate the activities of everyday life, each minute,each hour of our daily life, and not just be a description of something far away.

Reference: Peace Is Every Step p. 34-35 by Thich Nhat Hanh