A weekly meditation class and a brainstorming session about making good transitions lead to a deeper understanding of a friend’s illness and death. In doing so, these events reaffirm one of the main inspirations of this ‘Bringing Meditation to Life’ podcast: to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that teachings are everywhere.
On meditation and everyday living.
In Bringing Meditation to Life, I reflect upon the potent intersection of meditation and everyday living. Complimenting my own experience as a household practitioner with wisdom from a wide range of sources, I consider the ways daily living and meditation practice illuminate and enrich one another. Short enough for a single sitting. Deep enough to affect your practice and life.
A instant of ‘fed up-ness’ reminds Neil McKinlay of the fact that meditation does not distinguish ‘practice-worthy’ and ‘not practice-worthy’ moments. In truth, everything in our life offers opportunities for us to return to embodied experience and be curious about what’s happening. Everything offers opportunities to practice attending to this.
“Should my eyes be open or closed?” Using this inquiry as our starting point, this episode of ‘Bringing Meditation to Life’ considers the issue of working with practice instructions. Neil McKinlay looks at how attending to and respecting the interface of offered instruction and personal experience can afford meditation a living presence in our lives.
How do we maintain a regular practice? An appropriate response to this inquiry requires we attend to the ‘enoughness’ of our routine. Reflecting upon his own experience with daily walking, Neil McKinlay affirms that while sometimes a relatively informal approach is adequate, at other times we need to be more definite and rigourous.
In Margaret Laurence’s novel, ‘The Diviners’, protagonist Morag Gunn eventually surrenders to the “necessary doing” of her unique life. Encountering this passage during a recent read of this award-winning work, our host, Neil McKinlay, realizes this inexplicable motivation has played a notable role in his own practice life.
Through meditation, we develop our capacity to resist the temptation of impulse and deepen our relationship with qualities – like clarity – that lay inherent in our immediate experience. Is it possible to develop and deepen like this during everyday life? Can we do this the next time we are stuck in a grocery store lineup?
In the first episode of this podcast series, meditation teacher Neil McKinlay shares some of his story and some of the inspiration behind these recordings. He invites us to loosen our sense of distinction between meditation and everyday living, to discover how life and practice enrich and illuminate one another.
About the Host
Neil McKinlay has long been fascinated by the intersection of spiritual practice and so-called ordinary living. As a partner and parent, author and swim coach, he has sought to understand the ways these roles influence and are influenced by his longstanding engagement with meditation. As a teacher of somatic meditation, he encourages his students to ask similar questions of their own practice and life.