I’ve been getting quite a few queries about “technique time” from readers of Rose Rosetree’s blog.
She recommends a maximum of 20 minutes a day of “spiritual” practice. That includes anything that takes your attention away from your physical life.
I recommend an effortless meditation like TM, normally done 2 x 20 minutes a day. Other things would of course be on top of that.
My position is that 40 minutes a day is no problem when it’s balanced with normal daily activity in the world. Where it becomes a problem is if we’re spending much of our attention on remembering experiences, daydreams, seeking guides, and other things that take us away from living our life.
The more time we spend “elsewhere”, the more ungrounded we become and the less growth we’re able to integrate. We become “mushy” and stop growing even if our day is filled with “spiritual practices”, formal or not.
One key is our approach to the practice – are we using it as instructed or as an escape to dreamland? Or did we turn the practice into a lifestyle at the expense of work and a social life?
Many New Age practices have fallen into the same boat. Guided meditation and prayer are forms of hypnosis. Where are you being guided? The Law of Attraction is often used as wishful thinking. All sorts of things can be co-opted by a mind looking for an easy escape.
This can lead to what I call astral entanglement and Rose calls spiritual addiction. This has become increasingly common as group consciousness rises and the astral has become much more accessible. If our life isn’t going the way we’d like, it is much easier now to escape into la-la land. But this doesn’t solve problems. In fact, it can make things worse.
Unrealistic ideas about life, ungroundedness, financial problems, health issues, bad choices, and an inability to get results are just a few issues I’ve seen with friends. (and my own phase of this)
In the world but not of it is not the same as not in the world.
If such issues are arising, then I fully agree with Rose – you need to cut way back on technique time and get real in the world.
To understand this better, it’s worth noting how much things have changed. Back in the ’60’s, long periods of retreat and meditation where recommended*. In the 70’s that gradually dropped to 8 and then 6 “rounds” of meditation a day on long retreats. About a decade ago, it became 1 extra a day. On the retreats I go on now, where many people have woken up, they recommend no extra meditation. Just socialize with the awake. Enjoy!
Group consciousness has risen substantially. Long hours of spiritual practice are no longer necessary in most cases. The way we’ll evolve fastest is by living in the world – with skill.
Self authority, recognizing the stories we tell, finding OKness and gratitude with our life, healing, and working to fix what isn’t working – these are practical things for quality of life.
Remember that enlightenment is not a goal. It is a foundation for improved quality of life. We don’t wait for it to live, we live now and use spiritual development tools to enhance our quality of life. Then we have a foundation for enlightenment to build on. If we spend too much time escaping into woo-woo land, our development will stall out, along with our quality of life.
Heaven and hell are not somewhere else. They’re lived right here in the world.
* The song Dear Prudence comes to mind. Prudence was a course participant with the Beatles in India. While the Beatles encouraged her to join them for their jam sessions, she spent as much time “rounding” (cycles of yoga and meditation) in her room as possible. Hence the lyrics.