Continuing with the theme of Wise Effort in meditation, I wanted to pick up on a thread from Ajahn Sucitto. He writes:
“Energy has to be sustainable. For this reason, it’s good to assess if there are things you’re doing that you don’t need to do, so that your resources don’t dissipate. Even as you meditate, you can ask yourself, ‘What am I carrying that I can put down?'”
This reflection — What am I doing that I don’t need to do? — is an interesting lens with which to focus on various dimensions of life. Personal, inter-personal, vocational, avocational… What am I doing that doesn’t need to be done? Do I need to fire off that text, log-in to Facebook, eat that cookie, disparage that human being, inflict self-critical judgment, order that gadget on Amazon?
I’ve written about minimalism before. See here. And I continue to find inspiration in the ‘less is more’ philosophy, valuing experiences over possessions, savoring contentment with what is over compulsively hankering after the next thing.
Three solid resources (of many) that I’ve found that provide suggestions and structure for evaluating personal resource allocation are here:
Somewhat related, my teacher recently asked me to ratchet up the amount of time that I practice meditation. On good days, I was averaging a decent hour. But for a period of time, he’s asked me to clock three hours. Not at one go, mind you, but spread through the day in a way that fits my schedule.
One unintended consequence of this ‘task’ is much greater efficiency and productivity. In order to get that amount of time in on the cushion and still sleep six to seven hours a night, I have had to overhaul a lot of superfluous habits and time sinks. Sayonara, Facebook. So long, NYTimes ‘most emailed’. Hasta, Elephant Journal.
But the return has been well worth it. “Freedom in frugality” might be a future post, but for now, it’s time to put this down and be still.
Originally published on August 6, 2013