Many friends and I have all checked out this great smartphone app called Insight Timer, which lets you keep really good track of meditation sessions and connect with other meditators around the world. IDP has several online groups on this application including the one called Daily Sit IDP, which already has a lot of members, which have come together very quickly. If you have the app, please join our group. One of the more interesting features of the application is that it includes “milestones”. Milestones are ways that we can chart our progress for consecutive days of practice, or total days that we practice. Milestones are good motivators, and it seems very useful to always have an intention or aspiration with practice. In fact, the milestones give you gold and green stars for achieving goals, in terms of how consistently we are able to hit the cushion. That’s right, folks, gold stars for your meditation practice. Remind you of elementary school?
This obviously brings up a lot of questions, because we definitely need good motivation to do something that is good for us, such as meditation. But at the same time, many traditions such as Soto Zen say that we should have “no gaining idea,” no sense of getting we’re achieving something solid and permanent out of our practice. So my question for the day is this: is handing out gold stars beneficial for our dharma practice or a hindrance? I tend to think it’s a good thing. 🙂