This Is Not Just to Feel Better
I've seen people who have years and years of practice and it may have helped them a lot but they can't convey it to anybody, whatever it is that they have learned. They have nothing to pass on to anybody. They just keep practicing by themselves, and that's okay, but the point of doing this is not just to feel better ourselves. It's not just a self-improvement thing that's going on to make us feel better. If practicing is of any use, use in this world and on this planet, it's knowing how to use it and that is not guaranteed from just sitting.
If I was going to put a sign up for the meditation room, I would put it on this side of the room [in the dharma room.] I wouldn't put it outside the hallway for people coming in. I would put it right here: this is where you practice and that [points to the hallway] is where you try to do it! This is only practice for that. Lots of times it is the other way around, and that's okay too, but that's not the most valuable piece of it. If practice doesn't help us with our relationship with our family, with our work, if we are not generating some kind of clarity and compassion that shows up in all those things, then we're not meditating correctly. I live in this community of people that practices together. We get up every morning and do that; then we walk out the door and the business starts and we get to see instantaneously whether we've been wasting our time day-dreaming or sleeping or if we've been practicing sincerely. You get instant feed-back and that's necessary somehow. You don't have to live in a Zen center to do that, but that's what practicing with other people can do.