For best results, Buddhist teachers advise us to meditate regularly. Most of us already have busy schedules, so what strategies can we use to integrate daily meditation into our lives?
After trying the meditation on the 16th Karmapa in a Diamond Way Buddhist center, what next? If you like the general feeling of this main meditation and the people in the center, it means that probably Diamond Way meditation methods suit you. All of our centers offer the meditation on the 16th Karmapa at least once a week. And we can also use these methods at other times.
It makes sense to take refuge first thing in the morning – to open up to the goal of enlightenment, to the teachings that bring us there, our friends on the way, and our chosen teacher. Turning our mind towards lasting values, and strengthening the wish to be useful to others, sets an excellent frame for the day. Having taken refuge, we can use brief moments throughout the day, when the boss has gone out or the children are sleeping, for informal meditation sessions. Performing a shortened version of the meditations on the teacher that we have already learned and practiced formally is a great way to step off the treadmill of our ordinary attitude.
And of course, including a formal meditation session at the beginning or end of each day (or whenever possible) ensures that we are not only growing older, but also wiser.
After learning a meditation by getting the explanations and meditating it through with someone in the center, you can practice it home or anywhere, not only in a Buddhist center.
Most Diamond Way practitioners combine both — the comfort of meditating at home and the support of meditating in the Buddhist center with people doing the same meditations. In the Buddhist center, someone is always available to answer questions we might have about our meditation practice. This is especially useful if we decide that we want to take Diamond Way Buddhism as our path and start the Foundational Practices.
Being around the sangha (Buddhist practitioners) is a great way to strengthen friendships as well as our practice. Rich human exchange with friends who are on the same path as us is a real gift and is a helpful mirror to our own development.
Meditation courses offer the chance to practice more intensively, or to learn new things. In Tibet, the Karmapas and other Kagyu masters would often travel from one place to another with hundreds of their students, meditating with them and giving teachings as they went. Travelling to meditation courses/events, near and far, whether small events with a handful of friends, or large international courses of a several thousand people, is very common among Diamond Way Buddhists. It always brings an enriching exchange with the teacher and fellow practitioners. A great opportunity to meet Diamond Way Buddhists from all over the world is to attend the annual Summer Course in the Europe Center, which always has a full program of meditation and teachings or empowerments by high lamas.