We don’t have to remind you how toxic our lives can be. Stress at work, arguments with loved ones, poor diets, and too many hectic weekends conjure daydreams of Himalayan caves—guaranteed not to have cell phone reception. But in reality, even that retreat you’ve been planning for years feels like an impossible commitment.
Balancing a commitment to becoming more compassionate and wise with the responsibilities of a family, a career, and a checking account is a near-constant dilemna for many practitioners. To help, we’ve teamed up with one of the West’s foremost Buddhist teachers, Sharon Salzberg, to create an intensive meditation program designed for your busy schedule. No steep retreat fees, no putting newspaper delivery on hold, no out-of-office replies required.
Our twenty-eight-day Commit to Sit challenge puts that daydream of an intense daily practice to the test. How different will you feel when you meditate every day for a month? What happens when you commit to the five traditional Buddhist vows for laypeople, including refraining from intoxicants and minding your speech? The meditation instructions provided here come out of the Vipassana tradition, which can be traced directly to the way the Buddha himself practiced. The program schedule is based on Vipassana retreats popular in the West and has been constructed to encourage and support your practice.
Whether you have months of retreat under your belt or have never been able to keep up a regular meditation practice, the simple structure of the program and accompanying instructions will help you to deepen and reinforce your practice. We have combined introductory teachings with guided meditations and a simple practice schedule so that anyone can participate in the challenge. However, people with an extensive daily regimen already in place may want to practice for longer periods than recommended, or include elements from their regular practice.
Begin whenever you want. Everything you need to experience this at-home retreat is contained here, but for those of you with Internet access, further teachings and resources are available at tricycle.com. On our website you will be able to listen to inspiring dharma talks, read more detailed meditation instructions, and join discussion forums allowing you to communicate with fellow Commit to Sit participants—including members of the Tricycle staff—about your hurdles and successes. And for the month of March, Sharon Salzberg will be available to answer your questions online.
Good luck, and remember: this is a challenge. It is a structured four-week program intended to give you a taste of the benefits of intensive meditation training. Everyone will struggle to follow the program perfectly. Do not let missed meditation sessions or broken vows discourage you. Just return to the practice. As Sharon Salzberg often tells her students, it’s the coming back that deepens our practice.
—Alexandra Kaloyanides, Senior Editor
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