How Long Did You Meditate Yesterday?

How Long Did You Meditate Yesterday?

A couple of years ago while I was studying, my teacher came to me and said ¨how long did you meditate yesterday?¨ I knew the answer to this simple question, so very quickly and without hesitation I confidently responded to him, ¨I meditated for 2 hours.¨

He paused looking at me for a moment and then asked again ¨How long did you meditate yesterday?¨

I was surprised that he was repeating the same question and thought that he might not have heard my answer, so I simply repeated with the same confidence ¨I meditated for 2 hours.¨

Looking into my eyes he insisted ¨I am asking you how long you meditated yesterday.¨

My confidence diminished as my confusion increased. But I still knew the answer, so  I reconfirm to him for a third time explaining myself. ¨Teacher, yesterday I meditated for 2 hours, just like everyone else here in the Ashram. One hour in the morning and one hour in the evening.¨

My teacher then averted his gaze from me and tried to clarify his question: ¨I am not asking you for how long you sat in meditation, I want to know how long you meditated.¨

His question humbled me as I remained silent, not knowing the answer.

My teacher waited in silence for what felt like an eternity. Then he turned to face me and very kindly explained, ¨My dear, when a person truly meditates, there is no sense of time. The process can last one minute or 24 hours; for the person meditating it will feel exactly the same. When someone tells you that they have meditated for an hour, it is guaranteed that the person sat, fighting with his/her own thoughts for that entire hour. Measure meditation not by time, but by the sensations experienced and the acceptance of the lessons brought to you through that meditation. Time is a measurement that the free mind does not understand, as the free mind has no attachments and units of time are just one more form of attachment.¨

The next time that someone asks you how long have you meditated, you can simply answer, ¨The right amount.¨



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