Today I complete 300 consecutive days of daily meditation. I practice Vipassana, a silent unguided meditation. I embarked on this journey on January 31st 2018 when I went to my second 10-day silent retreat. As I left on February 11th, I decided I want to continue this practice for at least a 100 days. When I reached the 100 days, I felt that 180 day / six months would be the next step. But when I hit 130 days / 4 months, I knew I had to go for the 365 days – an entire year of daily meditation. Now, as I near my goal of 365 days, I am convinced I want to continue this practice for life. Nothing has brought me as much joy, peace and balance as this has.
At the retreat, they said an ideal practice would have an hour each in the morning and evening (2 hours a day). They also said that it may be a lofty goal, so sit for at least 20 minutes a day. I felt I could easily be somewhere in between and decided to meditate for at least 30 minutes / day. I have successfully done that and gone on to meditate 2 hours / day several times. May be in the next year, I will firm up this goal. I will see where this journey takes me.
I wanted to summarize what enabled me to easily accomplish this particular goal, so here goes:
A. Knowing my values and how this specific goal would allow me to live them out each day
B. Keeping the goal realistic and being grounded in the present
C. Limiting my daily task list to just a few tasks
D. Sharing my goals with those important to me, i.e. my husband
E. Prioritizing meditation each day, even on vacation
F. Documenting my journey in a journal (separate from social media posts)
G. Celebrating victories along the way
And here are some of the attitudes that aided the process (and got stronger each day as I meditated)
- A beginner’s mind – not expecting earth-shattering results
- Curiosity – gentle pushing towards sitting for a longer time
- Detachment – not analyzing the meaning of thoughts / experiences
- Acceptance – of negative and positive thoughts as they arise and abate
- Forgiveness – others and myself through this process
None of what I have learned is rocket science. But till I actually experienced it, it may as well have been. Here is my experiential learning summarized:
#How we spend our days will determine how we spend our lives!
#Habits are created based on what we practice every single day.
#Transformation requires openness to change who we are intrinsically and that can mean giving up things we hold close to our hearts.
#Compassion is a journey and not a goal.
#Peace is a practice and an outcome.
#Cut out the bullshit. So here’s to a 2019 without any social media! (Blog excluded)