Almost two years ago, I went to my first Yoga class in years, and for the first time I felt an actual connection to it. Everything from the studio, to the teachers and the form made me feel like I had finally found my perfect place to practice.
I saw that the studio was also offering meditation classes and so I signed up. As someone who has been meditating for years, I never stuck with it consistently. That is until I found my purpose. For the last ten years, I’ve been meditating with the idea that this is for my benefit – to strengthen my mind and my soul. But before we began our practice, our teacher gave us four pillars to meditate on – one being that it is not just for our benefit but for the benefit of everyone around us.
When we were done our practice, we did a dedication of merit by reciting the words below. This is a ritual in Tibetan meditation, where Buddhists end their daily practice with a dedication prayer. The belief here is that prayers, meditations and other Buddhist practices are positive actions that generate merit. And this merit in turn leads to positive outcomes, such as a good long life, a better life in the next one, or as the seed of enlightenment. When we offer this dedication, we are asking that the good merit generated from our practice be directed specifically to enlightenment for All beings. So now I had a greater connection to my practice and every morning after that day, I woke up and without effort spent a few minutes in meditation.
They say it takes twenty-one days on average to form a habit, but as someone who hasn’t been able to stick with any practice for long, I wanted to challenge myself by doubling my time. However forty-two days later, it still didn’t seem like a challenge at all.
I realized that when the purpose of my practice included the benefit of others, that’s when it really stuck with me. It’s just like my favorite Wayne Dyer quote :
“When you seek happiness for yourself, it will always elude you. When you seek happiness for others, you will find it for yourself.“
Here’s the Dedication of Merit for all you aspiring meditators and yogis. I hope it brings you a closer connection to your practice as it has done for me :
By this merit, may all attain omniscience.
May it defeat the enemy : wrong doing.
From the stormy waves of birth, old age, sickness and death;
From the ocean of samsara, may I free all beings.