How to become a Meditation Master: Flow vs. Deliberate Practice

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About midway through my time in Myanmar, I was on a bus sitting next to my teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya.  In the background was the cacophony of talking voices, traffic horns and music blaring from cheap speakers.  It was very different from my quiet monastery.  While I tried my best to stay aware, I was easily pulled from my meditative state.

I turned and asked him, “Sayadaw, do you find all this noise and activity distracting?”

“Not distracting,” he said in his broken yet clear English, before adding, “awareness is always there.”

Around that time, I was very closely observing him.  I knew his teachings, but how did that translate into how he lived?  How was he while conducting a group interview?  While eating?  While casually talking?  While on a bus? Continue reading