The purpose of meditation is sattvava-jaya, literally, “triumphant clarity”. When we complete a meditation session, it is important to carry the effects into our daily life, so that mental clarity can be established in our everyday existence. Otherwise, we might feel some temporary peace, or some short-lived bliss, but the overwhelming preponderance of our post-meditation activities (both in terms of quantity and intensity) will wear away most benefits.
To maintain the benefits of meditation, it is important to consciously engage in post-meditation practices, in the beginning formally for some time after the meditation session. We can choose to practice these post-meditation components for one hour, three hours, one half day, an entire day, three days, a week, a fortnight, a month, three months, a semester, or a year. Any time segment that is feasible should be our starting point, and eventually we can make our post-meditation practice permanent, both during our waking hours and while asleep.
We can also choose to concentrate on one, two, or more of these practices at one time. It is advisable to at first focus on a practice that is challenging, but not impossible, such as labeling our thoughts (see 1.a below).
Abiding in the View
- Examine the Three Actions
- Thoughts –examine your thoughts in terms of their helpfulness to the happiness of others. Label them, so as to gain some distance, as Helpful or Not Helpful. Cherish the Helpful thoughts and do not dwell on those that are Not Helpful.
- Words –examine your words in terms of truth content and kindness of expression. If truth cannot be expressed kindly, it is best to remain silent.
- Deeds –examine your deeds in terms of their benefit to self and others, both now and in their consequences
- Apply the Five Powers
- Motivation –cultivate determination to bring the qualities experienced during mediation to your daily life, in the certainty that such qualities will produce benefits both for yourself and others.
- Familiarity –practice regularly, so that the mind becomes habituated both to the meditation components and abiding in the view in post-meditation.
- Accumulation –perform positive actions (with thoughts, words, and deeds) that manifest wisdom, compassion, loving kindness, rejoicing in the welfare of others, and equanimity (awareness of natural perfection).
- Purification –scrutinize your thoughts, words, and deeds to determine if and when you may have acted in ways that are contrary to the qualities that you are trying to cultivate, and make amends whenever possible, at least in the mind.
- Aspiration and Dedication –constantly aspire to bring happiness to others, and dedicate any merit accrued by performing positive actions to the happiness of others.
- Observe the Ten Ethical Precepts
- Compassion –refrain from inflicting harm to any living being
- Truth –refrain from speaking untruth, and from speaking truth harshly
- Honesty –refrain from appropriating the resources meant for others
- Propriety –refrain from sexual misconduct (exploitative relations)
- Contentment –refrain from excessive accumulation and hoarding
- Purity –maintain cleanliness, both personally and in our environment
- Satisfaction –learn to appreciate what you have
- Enthusiasm –devote your energy to cultivation
- Self-study –remain mindful of your thoughts, words, and deeds
- Commitment –vow to attain the highest perfection conceivable
2. Manifest the Seven Natural Perfections (in thought, word, or deed, according to your capacity)
i. Heal the sick –provide loving care to those who are suffering
ii. Nourish the young –seek to foster growth and maturation in others
iii. Protect the weak –defend those who cannot defend themselves
iv. Love the beautiful –appreciate the beauty of all entities
v. Serve the good –contribute your time, talent, and treasure to those who are performing beneficial actions
vi. Honor the wise –accept correction and guidance cheerfully
vii. Align with the highest –dedicate yourself to your highest ideal
The purpose of post-meditation practices is to establish the gains attained in meditation in your daily life. Health and happiness are processes, not endpoints, and therefore require constant practice.