This article is about something that is a wonderful part of all our lives. We each enjoy this activity and participate in it regularly, but, unfortunately this activity can be quite dangerous to the health of your meditation, yoga and other spiritual practice. Here is a little story to help shed some light on this curious puzzle.
Monk Tataga was a new member of No Wind Monastery and he was busy familiarizing himself with his new duties and responsibilities. He had been given 2 major tasks to start out with. The first was to be the driver for Zen Master Blumise and the second was to work the front desk and guest reservations at the new Monastery Spa. Both tasks were well within his abilities and he was confident of being able to handle them without much difficulty, except for just one item that was confusing to him. Wanting clarity, he approached senior Monk Tara for clarification regarding it.
“Taraji, one item in my list of responsibilities has me very confused,” he said. “You see, the other day I drove Master Blumise to the city and dropped him at Henry Brown’s house to spend the weekend. This of course would be fine, except that when I work the front desk, it says there clearly that Mr. Henry Brown is not to be allowed into the spa under any circumstances? So I thought he must be a big trouble maker or unwanted person, because, he is the only person who is on the “Do Not Allow In” list. So now I am confused about this whole situation with Mr. Brown.”
Tara had a big laugh and said, “Henry and Master Blumise are actually very good friends.”
“Good friends? Now I am even more lost,” replied a befuddled Tataga.
“Yes, you see Henry has been trying for years to establish a strong meditation practice. He is actually able to get it going, but, Henry loves to go on vacations. Every time his practice is about to take hold, he has an urge for another vacation and when he returns, his daily sadhana (spiritual practice) is back to square one as he is unable to pick up where he left off. So Master Blumise has spoken to all the places he likes to go vacationing and gotten him barred from everywhere.”
“Well, Master Blumise certainly is an interesting friend to have,” acknowledged Tataga now having understood.
Vacations: Wonderful… absolutely, but, it’s the one event I have seen time and again be a disruptive force in the establishing of a spiritual practice, especially for beginners. Does this mean you should get yourself black listed from all your favorite vacation spots. Well… no of course not. What this means is you need to be cognizant that vacations can derail a bourgeoning meditation, yoga, health, fitness or other such practice. One of the hardest parts in these practices is establishing consistency and early in the life cycle, when inspiration is high, is a key time to make it an integral part of your daily routine. You may be about to get there, where a day without meditation or yoga feels incomplete and then comes the trip to Disney Land and when you return you are back where you started from.
If possible, of course, continue your practice while on vacation, but, often I find these good intentions to be a bit unrealistic. So, go on vacation, but, on your way back home hone your intent to immediately get back to your beautiful practice. There may be a whole slew of excuses just waiting to challenge you when you return, so it could take a bit of willpower to put it back on track initially. But just do it. I guarantee that you will be glad you did.
Summer here in the North Eastern US is vacation season and I have several excellent students who are enjoying holidays in all corners of the world. I am keen to see them back on the path when they return. Lets see if they are able to survive the dangers of vacation :-)…