For the next few weeks this blog will include teachings and tips from the book Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You, by Lama Willa Miller. Everyday Dharma is designed to be akin to a spiritual manual. We invite you to read along with us during the seven weeks. and you can catch up on previous weeks here. And be sure to comment below and let us know how it’s going.
“Step three is to create a sacred space, a place of retreat and inspiration where you can go to meditate, contemplate, and pray.” – Lama Willa Miller from Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You
When trying to establish or renew your practice, it can be helpful to create a special place that calls you to sit. View our blog post that includes tips for building a home altar and creating a meditation space. After creating your special area of inspiration, you will be ready to work with your meditation practice.
At this point Lama Willa suggests that we practice in order to cultivate wisdom and love. These two traits will help us to stay on track with our spiritual journey, as we learn to intuitively feel and know the right thing to do. Lama Willa goes on to say that “Introspective practices that deepen wisdom and love are helped by taking an interlude of seclusion, silence, and mental solitude.”
Exercise: The Three S’s by Lama Willa Miller:
Practice seclusion. Move your body to a place where you are alone and away from interaction. Practice silence. Turn off all sources of sound around you. Enjoy the silence. Practice solitude. Drop thoughts about the past and future. Enter into the timeless present, the fourth time. Give yourself permission simply to be, and enjoy your own company.
Use your meditation time to learn to relax deeply and let go. When you let go, your wisdom-nature comes forward on its own. Remember, learning to relax is a skill, developed through repetition. Once you develop it, life becomes much easier, and you find a new sense of spaciousness and clarity of mind.
Dharma Tip: Making an Offering by Lama Willa Miller:
The ritual of making an offering to your shrine can become a daily practice. For example, light a candle on your shrine before meditating, or offer a cup of tea. Some Tibetan Buddhists fill seven water bowls on their shrines every morning to begin the day with an act of devotion.
Where do you go for solitude? What places are sacred to you? Are there rituals that you do daily? Please feel free to share how you are doing with Week 3 in the comments below.
Willa B. Miller, PhD is the founder of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston and Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, New Hampshire. She is on faculty with One Earth Sangha’s EcoSattva Training and is a member of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future. You can read her Buddhist advice regarding climate change on lionsroar.com and listen to her guided meditation on the Three S’s for free on iTunes.