Meditating on Sudafed

Now is the time of the year when thousands of Buddhists across the world undertake the heroic New Years resolution to meditate every day. Time to get back to business. Nothing will stand in our way. This is where my father would say something like, “You’ve made a New Year’s resolution to sit on your ass and do nothing?” Exactly. So how hard could it really be?

There are a number of traditional bad habits that I trip over. The number one bad habit is staying out late. This stumbling block is naturally reinforced by friends. (“You’re no fun!”) Even if I’ve been really good about meditation, I’ll crawl back home late past midnight and tell myself, “I’ll just meditate tomorrow.” We all know what happens tomorrow. Or rather, what doesn’t happen.

But there’s one foe that I haven’t yet learned to conquer: sickness.

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A Handy Mala

I always loose my malas. I only ever accept these as gifts, so I can never replace them when I lose them. I think these are very useful devices, and so one of the techniques I’ve used in place of a mala is by counting on my fingers.

I count the segments of the fingers instead of the actual fingers. (I know these are often called phalanges, like the bones, but I prefer segments.) With three segments to a finger (sorry, I don’t count the thumb), there are twelve to a hand, and so you can count up to 12 on one hand or 24 on both hands. This is especially useful for counting seconds of minutes.*

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