This is a guest post by Zen Master Bub In (Peter Taylor, author of ZenMister.com)
The practice of meditation can be boring and uncomfortable, yet it provides, unfailingly, instant gratification. Every time you sit down to meditate, meditation provides the experience of the present moment. If you find the present moment boring and uncomfortable, that is why you are meditating. Meditation has immediately met your expectation. You are instantly gratified.
Meditation does not always provide just what you want. It provides insight into where you are. If you sit in meditation to escape the tedium and pain of the present moment, you will find tedium and pain in meditation. If you sit in meditation to find the bliss at the core of life, you may experience that in mediation too.
It is far more reliable that you will find yourself exactly where you are when you sit to meditate. Meditation is good that way. If you are sad, scared, bored, or in pain, that is what you feel when you meditate. Meditation has ample space for all of those feelings. Whatever you happen to be feeling in the instant, mediation will illuminate for you. Recognizing where you are, and meeting your expectations in any instant is gratifying, if not comfortable.
We emphasize our expectations so much, that we will feel the satisfaction, the gratification of being right, even as we experience the discomfort of being miserable. We bring expectations to each moment and each moment provides an opportunity for us to meet those expectations. As we practice being aware and compassionate in the present moment we will lower the discrepancy between where we are and where we wish we were.
Meditation provides long term as well as instant gratification. When we sit in mediation we are instantly enlightened. We are bravely facing the present moment in all its glory, shame and discomfort. The present moment contains far more than discomfort. It provides an opportunity to feel gratitude, to feel whole, and to feel alive. The only place to find that is in this instant. Over time, as we meditate, we get better and better at seeing that delightful aspect of the moment.
In meditation and in our daily life, as we practice awareness of the present, if we notice our suffering and discomfort, we can consciously bring compassion to ease our suffering; if we experience the pleasurable emotions such as gratitude, and the joy that comes with acts generosity, we can increase our capacity to generate those feelings.
As you sit in meditation with sleepy mind and sore back and legs, feel the discomfort and make room for compassion to arise. Check in with your breath and posture and see what the instant holds for you. If you want instant gratification, feel that NOW.