How to bring out meditation in our daily lives?


So often those of us who are interested in meditation ask ourselves – does meditation help us when we are not actually sitting on the cushion? Does meditation help the attitude we take when we are doing things in our day-to-day life? Is there an overflow of training our mind that we can actually deepen in everyday thoughts?


It seems great meditators of the past and present all have the same questions. The Buddha’s solution to this question was to teach on how to hold a ‘vow’. A vow is an intention that you keep for a period of time. A mental intention, that will help guide your actions. In Buddhism this is often called holding the ‘view’ or ‘a view’. In a similar relationship your eyes look in the direction that you are moving or wish to go.

Do you keep that intention forever? Usually you try it on for size and renew it daily to see if you really want to shift your intention in that direct. Like exploring a new neighbourhood or deepening a new relationship or training a forgotten muscle.


What is that direction? That is the 84,000$ question. What intention or direction does one actually want to take? It actually begs the question what direction am I taking right now? Or did I ever set an intention? Am I simply operating on ‘reaction’? Or are we being propelled by our habits? Who would have thought that embracing a path of meditation would lead to philosophical questions like where am I going and how do I get there? The mindfulness movement stops at this point and suggests – stay. Be in the moment. Good advice! The Buddha took it further with the intention of actually getting beyond cyclical existence. [but that is another blog…]


The vow that the Buddha created is called ‘refuge’. Taking an intention that is ‘a refuge’ from the karmic waves of birth, old age sickness and death or suffering. It is like a life raft in an ocean. The way to get on that boat is to have a view that directs you to it. The view of Buddhism is called or illustrated as the ‘three jewels’, the teacher, the teachings and the community that practices.


This path is now called Buddhism and is treated as a religion. Shambhala is a secular version based on the same principles but without the need to become a Buddhist when you go to a hospital (which is when religion seems to count nowdays…)


What is the vow or view that people who practice Shambhala meditation look into? It starts with a proclamation that one is basically good. That one can see clearly and move forward with vision. What is the refuge that one puts trust in to get there?   It starts with oneself. I can do it. I will fully appreciate and engage in my life. I will delight in my fellows. I will reflect on profound wisdom daily.


What do you want to add? What is a vow you would like to uphold? Like exploring a new dimension of ones life, one can try out different scenarios. Do the scenarios that you posit benefit others or simply yourself? Are they a deep wish or simply something that changes day to day? Is it something simple that each day you contemplate it or bring it into your life it deepens your understanding and affects your actions?


Vows can be tested out like a new set of clothing. Initially when you put on that new dress it may not feel like you. You may want to be more amazing than you are. You may treat people differently. You may not feel worthy of it. You may feel like people are reacting to you differently. How can taking on an ‘intention’ change your perception of yourself and how you think others perceive you? It is because we are taking meditation off the cushion and working with mind in everyday life.

The more we take on an intention, the more it embeds itself in our being. The more it radiates out of us. Deepening a vow is done by repeating it and contemplating it often. How often is up to us. Forgetting to set an intention lets us be propelled by habit. Where is our habitual mind directing us?


Thoughts as I contemplate the Shambhala vow on spring day. Any errors are my own, any wisdom is due to my teachers.  Kristine, March 2019




“During my retreat, I composed two vows in response to the overwhelming wish for some tangible way for people to express their commitment and courageousness in bringing about the Shambhala vision. The first is the Shambhala vow, which will enable anyone who so wishes to acknowledge and proclaim that basic goodness is the nature of humanity. As Shambhalians we often talk about basic goodness, but there has never been an opportunity to take a vow of commitment and to publicly proclaim our trust and faith in this magical gift we all possess.

-Excerpted from, Answer of the Golden Sun by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *