In the last posting I mentioned the skills that are needed to become compassionate. It is rare for anyone to just “turn on” these skills and start being compassionate even though we innately all have these skills. Most of us have to learn and cultivate these skills. If we want to be compassionate we can begin with learning to be “present in the here and now. This is the very basic requirement one need to become aware of the “right concentration”, “the right action”, “the right livelihood”…etc and the best way to learn it is with the practice of meditation.
Meditation is just a tool for building concentration and learning to be in the present moment; but there is a lot of misconception about it and sometime it scare people; they think it’s some exotic eastern religious practice. It’s true that lots of eastern religions use meditation to further their spirituality, it is a very precious tool; and now has become integral part of religious practice but it is not a religion by itself. If you decide to take up meditation in preparation for mindfulness the simplest one is the type where you sit down in a quite place and notice your own breath going in and out of your body. When the mind wonders off to daydream about something else and is no longer noticing the breath going in and out we gently notice this and ask it to come back again to noticing the breath. One can sit for 1-2 minutes to begin with and gradually increase it by few minutes every week until you have reached about half hour per day. The most important thing is to do it everyday without fail, even if it only for one to two minutes a day. Overtime you will begin to notice subtle changes, like the mind seeming to be more clear and uncluttered, allowing it “room” to be creative.
If you can find a teacher to teach you meditation, that would be the best way. Resources on the “Youtube” may also be useful to begin the practice. I have posted one below.
Once the concentration improves and you start becoming aware of your own mind we can start cultivating other skills I mentioned.