How to Meditate Like a Monk

Buddha statue against red, twinkling lights

Many -- maybe even most people -- who start meditating believe that they will remain at a beginner level forever. After all, reaching advanced and sophisticated levels of meditation requires years in a monastery, epic marathons of hours of meditation, and impossible to access meditation tools, right? And really, who's got time for that?

Not quite! It is true that devoting a year (or a few!) to meditation training can greatly advance your practice. And it's also true that "duration training," or sitting for up to several hours at a time, can be a good technique to deepen your practice and learn how to meditate like a monk.

However, meditation isn't about divorcing yourself from everyday life. The point is to change your relationship to your own mind in every circumstance. In fact, every emotional and cognitive challenge you experience is an opportunity to experience reality and to develop a deeper relationship with it.

This is why all meditation teachers emphasize that insight happens right where you are! There's no reason you can't make good progress as a "householder," the traditional Buddhist term for a working stiff.

Meditating just a few minutes a day can benefit you in many ways, and Brightmind can help you with that. If you’re willing and able to invest more time, though, you can accelerate your practice while going about your daily life.

To make consistent progress in your daily life, you’ll need to be strategic about how you train, and you’ll need a few different meditation tools.

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A Brief Outline of Practice

First, one meditation tool you can use in your daily life is to include a 30-minute (or longer) seated meditation in your daily routine. Sitting allows for more focused, deeper work.

Second, you can take "micro-hits" of meditation throughout your day either by pausing or by meditating in motion. This helps bring what you experience during meditation into your daily life.

And finally, if possible, you'll want to attend one retreat per year or several, shorter weekend retreats. This includes home retreats like staycations but for meditation. These give you that dedicated "monastic time” and exposure to techniques including how to more closely meditate like a monk.

Simple, right? Let's explore these meditation tools a little more in depth.

Buddhist monks walk down a forest path

A Powerful Rhythm

As you can see, these meditation tools range in their time demands from the micro to the medium, to hours or days of work. This range of variable time periods keeps meditation flowing through your life. Used together, these varied times form a powerful temporal rhythm.

In fact, traditional monasteries work on pretty much this principle! When thinking about how to meditate like a monk, many monks actually have a dedicated practice time but are also pushed to bring that practice into their daily chores at the monastery. Once in a while, a monk will attend a longer retreat.

On the other hand, these varied times can be scheduled flexibly into your day so meditation doesn't "become your life" and crowd out your other passions and obligations.

With these meditation tools, you can commit to your practice, but you don't have to commit to a monastery! You get to have your cake and eat it too.

How Brightmind Can Help

As an easy-to-access guided meditation app, Brightmind Meditation can help assist you in incorporating these meditation techniques into your daily life by introducing you to a systematic, gentle progression through a variety of practices integrated from traditions around the world. The skills you'll develop from the uniquely systematic curriculum at Brightmind will help you to further utilize the crucial meditation tools we spoke about above.

For your half-hour or more of dedicated meditation time per day, Brightmind has guided sessions that will help you easily accomplish your goals.

In addition, Brightmind teaches a variety of techniques which can be used in different parts of your day. As a result, you can choose a meditation technique that fits in easily with your everyday life, giving you the tools you need to practice meditation even while you're working or doing chores. This really helps you to bring the benefits of meditation into your daily life.

For instance, if you're driving to the grocery store, you might choose to use meditation tools like “Noting” and “Labeling” as you focus on a “See Out and Hear Out” meditation technique. If you don't understand what those mean, don't worry! The Brightmind app will teach you in a pain-free way!

By working with daily sitting meditation and by incorporating moments of meditation throughout your day, you'll be prepared to conduct weekend retreats or a longer retreat when you can find the time. On those retreats, you'll work to deepen the same skills and meditation tools you've already developed with Brightmind's guidance.

Beyond the Monastery!

With the tools that Brightmind gives you, you can incorporate meditation into your daily life in a time-efficient yet powerful way. If you’re already meditating daily, adding microhits and longer meditation periods will radically accelerate your practice, bringing the experiences you have during meditation into your regular life. Using the science of meditation, you can learn how to meditate like a monk to significantly deepen your practice.

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