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Meditation in Daily Life

Meditation in Daily Life

(p.71) 4 Meditation in Daily Life
Michal Pagis
University of Chicago Press

This chapter tracks how practitioners use vipassana in ways that make it relevant to their lives outside of the meditation center in two contexts: first, in the relatively compartmentalized daily meditation sittings, and second, while acting and interacting in the world. In both contexts, meditators use vipassana to bridge the shocks and splits of the self as they move between social situations and relations—from work to home to driving to job interviews to romantic dates. Daily meditation sittings turn into spaces where one “cleans” or “processes” emotions or pauses from daily life and social judgments so as to return with “charged batteries.” Brief moments of observing breath and sensations while acting in the world are used by practitioners to withhold their routine response to situations, or in their words, to “check” and “catch” themselves. The chapter illustrates how the technique that originally helped monks to disconnect from the taken-for-granted reality of daily life is now helping individuals to maintain daily life, offering solutions to this-world concerns.

Keywords:   meditation, vipassana, self, daily life, this worldly, interaction, social relations, emotions, breath, sensations

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