Eventually the monastery will come to you

I’ve been really enjoying the podcast 10% Happier, where the host Dan Harris interviews people from all backgrounds who meditate. I loved this week’s episode with Shinzen Young. I’m always on the look out for how mindfulness and meditation intersect with chronic pain, and my ears perked up during this week’s episode. Shinzen is involved in Japanese Buddhism and talks about challenges he did as a monk, such as bathe in ice water every day 3x a day in winter. But he says it isn’t necessary for everyone to do these things to deepen their practice. We will all face hardships and “eventually the monastery will come to you.” He just did these extreme practices as a vaccination to be prepared for future discomfort instead of waiting for life to come to him. We can maintain our mindfulness practice while going through hard times (like chronic pain), and this can actually help us learn that happiness doesn’t need to depend on conditions. We can learn to be available to life in a new way.

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