Thoughts determine the effects we have on others.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Inclusion
By choosing your thoughts, and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your Light.
You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life.
~ Gary Zukav
What's within us affects what's without us.
You're thinking of the opposite of what I said.
We can learn to let what's without us not affect what's within us by letting go.
I said the opposite:
What's within us affects what's without us.
That's why we should try to leave the world better than we found it.
Yes, many things can overwhelm us... as well as underwhelm us. A daily practice is one of many antidotes to cure such divergent experiences. Without a daily practice to guide us we have to find other ways to deal with our own unevenly evolving potentials of being distracted and captured by illusions of dwelling on things past or soon expected, instead of being fully present and participating with life as it is in each moment to moment.
And like any great adventure of a thousand miles, daily practice begins with a single step... and even though a practice continues by seemingly the same single steps over and over again all along the way, it's amazing how fast the scenery can change.
Daily practice starts as intentional work, then becomes effortless play and then simply becomes who you are. It's quite easy... once you learn how to do it. Is it worth your time and effort to learn?
Only you can choose...
Allow me to change metaphors regarding meditation, or anything else chosen as daily practice...
First let's think of the act of daily practice like a well chosen place setting on a table that draws your attention to sit down, use silverware and eat in a contemplative, participatory and enjoyable way with a cherished guest. This effort of producing and participating in an intentionally designed meal is a powerful experience that produces a much different effect than standing in front of an open fridge and rifling through containers, munching on anything that easily comes to hand. Yes?
The act of simply choosing to have a daily practice is the most profound choice one can make. It might have little or great influence on whatever you then choose regarding your method of practice. Many divergence of choices can be ascribed to culture, personal tastes, affordability and even temperament for expedience or indulgence in how and where you choose to practice.
That said, if meditation is what serves you best then choose to meditate. Whatever you choose, choose it because you enjoy it, because it comes easily to your effort, or for whatever other ineffable reason it makes sense to you because you are sure to get progress by doing it. If you are not clear you are getting results, or if progress doesn't come however grudgingly, then you must--absolutely must--seek out a different practice to occupy that space of your daily commitment--do not suffer a grinding practice or one that lacks observable, measurable progress. And do not waver in your commitment to practice from lack of seeking out any variety of experience so that you might find a consistent daily practice that works for you. This is the closest thing to a fundamental law as I've ever found: it is a most improbable opening to progress that manifests only once one has woven enough consecutive days of practice on end together--every day, day after day in a deliberate, methodical and focused way.
Unfortunately batching practice efforts or supplementing missed ones (i.e. practicing one day for an hour, missing a few days and then practicing for several hours the next time) doesn't work the same as a daily practice consistently achieved of somewhere between 45 and 90 minutes. An hour often seems ideal. In any case, the form of daily practice is as much a part of the function as the method you chose to practice.
Like finding and enjoying good meals you might have near infinite options to discover what serves you best. As it pays to eat out once in awhile, you might also try something different than what you already know, such as tai chi, yoga, martial arts, water polo, walking, community service, painting, working with the blind, breath work, improv theater, anything, etc. A finger point that might help you narrow your choices is to get clear on whatever you intend and expect as your most desired result from your daily practice. If your choice of practice method is well aligned to produce the results you desire than you're quickly on your way. If not, you might have to redesign your choice of practice method, your chosen desires, or both.
I cannot tell anyone what results they should chose, or any best methods to achieve their heart's desires... I can only say they're likely to be better off by choosing their results intentionally, finding a practice that fits them well at their current state of evolution and then actually doing it.
I second that emotion. Thank you Rob!