So, yes – routine is important. Whether you practice sitting meditation, taiji. qigong or tennis, whatever. Whether you live in Chicago, New York or Jaipur.
If you want to get better at something, you have to practice. And practicing with a regular routine makes a big difference. But here’s the rub.
If you get too stuck on the routine, so that you’re addicted to the “rules,” that’s no good either. That’s like having form but no substance.
Is it nice, is it beneficial to meditate every morning? Yes.
But if conditions make it clear that you need to tend to the children first, then it’s best to do that.
Ultimately, practice of meditation shows us that what an enlightened person does is very simple – they only do this – the next appropriate thing. Not based on desire. Not based on ego. Only based on what will next be the most beneficial thing.
The left hand is on fire. The right hand reaches in and pulls the left hand out. Period.
The Zen master asks, ” Have you eaten your breakfast?”
“Yes,” the student replies.
“Then wash your dish.”
That is enlightenment. That is practice. Do what is necessary without struggle of mind.
Is it easy? Not always. That’s why we call it practice.