28-Day Meditation Challenge: Day 28, Keep It Going
February 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
As we come to the end of February and the end of the 28-Day Meditation Challenge I am thinking about techniques to keep the practice going and alive in our daily lives. As Sharon Salzberg writes in the final chapter Keeping the Practice Going the main point is “just put your body there”. Assuming the meditation posture, upright, heart lifted, sits bones grounded, relaxed and alert, is often the most challenging aspect of a regular practice. But once you’re there, the rest just flows.
Making a commitment to practice regularly, whether it’s daily or twice a week, for a set amount of time, whether 30 minutes or 5 minutes is also helpful. Then we get to watch what happens to our mind when that commitment is challenged. And we learn about ourselves… How do I treat myself when I “mess up” and renege on my commitment to practice? Do I hear the angry judgmental voice? Or the whiny self-pitying voice? Do I sense the exasperated eye-roll? All all of that and more?
As we become scientists of the mind, explorers of our inner landscape, we learn to navigate our consciousness with more vigor and confidence. We also develop compassion because it’s easy to see that other’s shortcomings, lateness, and excuses so much mirror our own.
I’ve found it helpful to contemplate the usefulness of my meditation practice. In thinking of ways my meditation experience has made me a more empathic, open and accepting person I am inspired to keep going. Even on days when I really don’t feel like it, when it’s rainy, when I’m cranky, when I have a cold and there just isn’t any time for it… I can take a few minutes to sit with my thoughts and my breath and my body, aching as it may be.
“What’s really transformative is our willingness to keep going, our openness to possibility, our patience, our effort, our humor, our growing self-knowledge, and the strength that we gain as we keep going.” -Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness
I am also starting to apply the principles of meditation to my work. My goal is to set aside a block of time for each project, and for the set block (be it an hour or 10 minutes) I will practice bringing myself back to the project at hand, over and over (and over and over). I am going to explore how I can treat my work as a mindfulness practice.
I actually first typed mindfunness instead of “mindfulness” in the sentence above… and when I noticed it made me smile. Mindfulness IS fun! Let’s infuse joy, exuberance, enthusiasm and vibrancy into all our tasks and projects no matter how stressful or mundane. We can do it by bringing attention to the details and letting go the thoughts of past failures and future hopes.
Meditation is fun. And life is fun. Even when there’s pain, sorrow, heartache, there’s a kind of appreciation that can arise because all those experiences are real. In a sense the difficult situations and emotions are their own kind of fun.
I am looking forward to the next month of discovery, intention, success and failure. Perhaps my next column will be dedicated to tools for encouraging creativity and productivity via mindfulness, meditation and relaxation.
Check out all The Interdependence Project Blog team posts for the 28-Day Meditation Challenge.
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I just posted about my year-long meditation project: http://nathensmiraculousescape.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/year-40-meditation-report/