How to survive 365 days of meditation

I have a sweet meditation set up. There's a cute little mirrored altar table, a pretty patterned cloth, a picture of my grandma, candles, Ribbit the frog and in the summer, fresh tulips or dahlias. I recently bought a cherry blossom-print meditation cushion filled with cushy buckwheat.

But do I sit? When guilt takes over, yes. That is to say, very, very rarely. Motivation comes in weird spurts. I went to a daylong retreat with teacher Howard Cohn of California's Spirit Rock in November. He explained so many things so well. I vowed to sit again. I sat once.

But on New Years Day, something lurks in the air deeper than ordinary guilt. Resolutions and I have a fraught history, but my meditation practice needed an intervention. At 11:40 p.m. on 1/01/11, I sat my butt down on that cushion. I told myself I would do this not just tonight, but every night. There's a movement among yogis on Twitter to practice yoga 365 days this year. Real life has a bad habit of getting in the way of even the most dedicated yoga practice, and a 365-day commitment to daily asana practice seemed like lunacy. But meditation? Sweet, sweet meditation can be done anywhere where you won't be interrupted for 15 minutes. I don't know what has come over me, but apparently 2011 will involve a lot of time sitting. It's Day 3 of 365, and I don't have anything to confess. Yet.

If you're new to the practice of meditation, here are a few tips to help get you through a 15-minute sit.

1. Find a comfortable seat on a block or a chair. Set an alarm.
2. Don't try to "meditate." Just sit, and breathe.
3. When your mind starts making up stories about how bad you are at meditation, politely tell it to shut its trap, and sit and breathe.
4. If your foot falls asleep, just sit and breathe.
5. If you are wondering if your 15 minutes are up yet, they aren't. Sit, and breathe.

Happy New Year!


Post a Comment

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr