“God gave you a gift of 86 400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you ” ― William Arthur Ward
I came across another talk by Matthieu Ricard, this time talking to the actor, Richard Gere about Altruism. During the talk, there was an opportunity for people in the audience to ask questions and one was asked by a ten-year-old girl. The question was “What was the one thing we could practice every day that would help us be more compassionate and altruistic?”
Matthieu talked about the fact that as we grow up, we learn new things, sports, playing the piano, learning to read and write. None of these things happened just like that, but over time. So like any of these things, becoming more altruistic and compassionate takes time.
Matthieu then said that the other secret is the 10-second meditation. He heard it from a friend at Google. That sounds nuts? 10 seconds of meditation is going to make a difference? Come on? But wait a moment and think about it.
If you do something and repeat it many times, it starts to become a habit. Think about driving a car. You certainly did not start knowing how to change gears, going round corners, or reverse parking. Instead, you learnt each of these skills by repetition, constant repetition over a period of time. And even when you eventually passed your driving test, it takes years to become proficient at driving. So the 10-second meditation does sort of make sense.
So how does it work. For 10 seconds, maybe every hour or whenever you have a moment during the day; just pause, look around and when you see someone, say to yourself:
- May you be safe and free from suffering
- May you be as happy and as healthy as it is possible to be
- May you have ease of being
He then goes on to give the analogy about a bottle of perfume. You open the stopper and just let the perfume out briefly. You do it often enough and the perfume begins to pervade the space around you. So to, if you do the 10-second meditation often enough, the feelings of altruism and compassion will begin to spread and be pervasive around you.
So does it work? Yes it does. I have been practicing mindfulness for a long time and the noticeable difference it makes to you and how you interact with other people is amazing. At work, in social situations and with my family and friends. Everyone has noticed how different I have become. Go on give it a try. After all, what have you got to lose? 10 seconds, that’s all.
By the way, if you want to watch the YouTube video I mentioned at the start, even for the section on 10-second meditation, then follow the link below. The 10-second meditation question and answer is at the 55-minute mark.
I leave you with the following quote:
“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.” ― Denis Waitley