Daily Tao / 283 – Duration

moonlight on a wet and wild night

The sun shines half a day,
The moon dominates the rest.
Even contemplation
Should have its proper duration.

Some monks meditate sixteen hours at a time. Some have sat cross-legged so long that they have calluses on the sides of their feet. Others need frames to prop their bodies up, or they rest sticks on the floor with the sharp tips at their chins, so that they are awakened by a stab if they doze off. Is this admirable? Or is it mere obsession?

Meditation should have its proper duration. Once one finds the proper procedures, they should not be seen as an activity isolated from the rest of life. Those who follow Tao hold meditation to be imperative, but not exclusive. The primary point of this existence is to live, and all living things move and grow. Therefore meditation should be integrated with the flow of life. It should not dominate above all else.

There is one exception to this. That is the case where one spontaneously and naturally falls into a long period of meditation. Sometimes this state will last for hours, even days. This is not the same as meditation artificially induced by forced sitting. This is a wholly different type of meditation. One is now with the universe and meditation ceases to be an activity. It becomes a natural expression.

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