The most important moment in meditation

“ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE EVENTS in your meditation career is the moment when you first realize that you are meditating in the midst of a perfectly ordinary activity. You are driving down the freeway or carrying out the trash and it just turns on by itself. This unplanned outpouring of the skills you have been so carefully fostering is a genuine joy. It gives you a tiny window on the future. You catch a spontaneous glimpse of what the practice really means.

“The possibility strikes you that this transformation of consciousness could actually become a permanent feature of your experience. You realize that you could actually spend the rest of your days standing aside from the debilitating clamoring of your own obsessions, no longer frantically hounded by your own needs and greeds. You get a tiny taste of what it is like to just stand aside and watch it all flow past. It’s a magic moment.

“That vision is likely to remain unfulfilled, however, unless you actively seek to promote the carryover process. The most important moment in meditation is the instant you leave the cushion. When your practice session is over, you can jump up and drop the whole thing, or you can bring those skills with you into the rest of your activities.”

Bhante Gunaratana, from “Mindfulness in Plain English”