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Hit the ground sitting! Day 1 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge

100 day mediation challenge 001Welcome to Day One of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge. The aim is to develop a strong habit of meditating daily through committing to sit. To support you, you’ll have an opportunity to share how things are going, and to learn from others.

Three “rules.”

  1. Sit for a minimum of five minutes. We hope you’ll sit for much longer — 20 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour — but if you sit for at least five minutes you can put that day in the “done” column.
  2. A “day” is the time between getting up and going to bed again, rather than clock time from midnight to midnight. So if you’re up late and don’t manage to sit until after midnight, you can count that “day” as one in which you’ve meditated.
  3. Walking meditation “counts.” And you can count one yoga session a week as part of your meditation practice, but we do want to focus on sitting practice.

If you join us late, that’s fine!

Some advice:

Redefine yourself
If you sincerely want to develop a habit of meditating, it’s going to take some work, but this can be easier than you think. Here’s a post I wrote on the topic of Becoming a rock-solid regular meditator. It’s worked for me.

The short version: tell yourself repeatedly, “I meditate every day. It’s what I do. It’s just who I am.” There may be a little voice that says “that’s not true!” Acknowledge that voice, but choose not to believe it. It’s true from now on. What we need to do is to change our self-definition from “someone who can’t meditate regularly” or “someone who meditates most days” to “someone who meditates every day. This affirmation is a way of imprinting a new sense of who you are and what you’re capable of. It’s just a temporary thing; once you’ve used this affirmation for 100 days you probably won’t need it any more. You’ll just be someone who meditates every day. It’ll be part of who you are.

Say it now: “I meditate every day. It’s what I do. It’s just who I am.” Say it often. Say it at the start and end of your meditations.

And you’re not alone. Post a comment below, or on our Facebook page or official Google+ page to let us know how you got on.

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About Bodhipaksa

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Bodhipaksa is a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, and a published author. He founded Wildmind in 2001. Bodhipaksa has published many guided meditation CDs and guided meditation MP3s.

He teaches at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire. You can follow Bodhipaksa on Twitter, join him on Facebook, or hang out with him on .

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Comments

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 1, 2013, 8:55 am

1/100 Last night I sat for 40 minutes, starting just before midnight, because I wanted the first thing I was doing in 2013 to be meditating. By the “rules” of the Challenge this counts as yesterday’s sit, since it took place in yesterday’s waking and sleeping cycle. So I’ll be sitting later on today as well – probably mettā bhāvana. Last night’s sit was pretty enjoyable considering how late it was. I had periods of lucidity, energy, pleasure, and happiness in between periods of dreaminess. I hope not to miss a single day of meditating this year. I think that’s doable.

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Comment from David
Time: January 1, 2013, 9:02 am

1/100 Sat for 10 min this morning … Feels great to start a new year !

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Comment from Heather
Time: January 1, 2013, 9:14 am

I went to the New Year’s Eve celebration at the Manchester Buddhist centre last night. We did a meditation on reflection over the last year, then my first puja for about 10 years! It was absolutely amazing. Then we woke this morning and did the metta bhavana which felt really great after such a fantastic night. I’m coming back to meditation after a long break, and exploring buddhism to a deeper level so will definitely be taking part in this challenge. I haven’t felt this calm, happy and optimistic for a very long time! Wonderful way to spend new year’s eve.. and no hangover!!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 1, 2013, 10:25 am

I thought only I could avoid pujas for years at a time, Heather! 10 years! I’m impressed.

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Comment from Jill
Time: January 1, 2013, 10:36 am

20 minute sit. Hastening slowly. When I haven’t meditated regularly and I do again it’s always, “You feel so much better when you do why on earth do you stop?”

Pujas are avoidable. Not a big fan myself.

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Comment from nikki
Time: January 1, 2013, 11:12 am

Seeing as this was my plan anyway, it’s nice to have a voice telling me I’m on the right track!

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Comment from Andy
Time: January 1, 2013, 11:21 am

Hi, Bodhipaksa. I think there’s a typo in Rule 2. This sentence doesn’t make sense:
> So if don’t manage to sit just after midnight, you can count that “day” as one in which you’ve meditated. <
Perhaps 'just' should read 'until'???
And the word 'you' is missing after 'if'.

Your friendly copy-editor,
Andy.

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Comment from Andy
Time: January 1, 2013, 11:36 am

This is a lovely idea, Bodhipaksa. I’m in, as the saying goes.

I’ve bought the ‘Insight Timer’ app which I hope will help – seeing the sessions I’ve completed there in black and white, etc. Although the stats currently show Days=1, Sessions=1, Sessions per day=24. Wow, I’m well ahead of the game, aren’t I?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 1, 2013, 12:09 pm

Thanks! That’s fixed now.

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Comment from Patty
Time: January 1, 2013, 12:21 pm

Thanks, now I have a resolution that I feel I can accomplish. And one I hoped to accomplish anyway!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 1, 2013, 12:26 pm

One day at a time!

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Comment from Svetlana
Time: January 1, 2013, 3:05 pm

Here is mine: http://journeyviamediation.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/day-1-of-100-2013/

I have started to use Insight Timer.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 1, 2013, 3:18 pm

Last night’s sit was really 0/100. Even though most of it took place today, I’m counting “today” as the period between waking and sleeping.

So, 1/100 was a 50 minute metta bhavana. It was quietly effective, with lots of warmth in the fourth stage. Actually, I let it morph into a karuna (compassion) bhavana since my stage two friend is having a hard time at the moment. I just went with that and particularly called to mind the sufferings of the other people in the practice. The sit was a little dreamy because I was woken up by the kids several times last night and didn’t get much more than six hours sleep in total. One of my three new year’s resolutions is to get more sleep. Another is less screen-time in the evening to help that happen. The third is of course 365 out of 365 days of meditation.

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Comment from Alicia
Time: January 1, 2013, 10:21 pm

Great idea! Just what I need! Thanks!
Day 1 –check!

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Comment from Andy
Time: January 1, 2013, 10:27 pm

Where can I find out more about karuna bhavana? I suspect this might be particularly helpful regarding certain people in my life that I’ve been including in my metta bhavana practice.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 1, 2013, 10:33 pm

I guess I need to add a new section to the site! But basically, it’s just metta bhavana but you’re aware of other’s suffering. There can be an extra stage between self-metta and the friend, with a “suffering person” (someone you know whose suffering is obvious — there are many people we know who suffer but we imagine them to be happy).

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Comment from di
Time: January 2, 2013, 10:23 am

yes on the 2nd I’m joining you.I was a meditate every day person but lately thjs has not been so. i’ve been reading ‘Buddha’s brain’ and the a0uther — Rick Hanson seems to have lots of good advice.

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Comment from Becky
Time: January 2, 2013, 10:15 pm

Beginning 2013 in meditation was also a delightful experience for me, and I hope to continue my meditation practice into the new year, no matter how much I might have ‘strayed’ in the past. Thank you for providing an online gathering place to share this commitment with. Namo Amitofo!

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Pingback from Hit the ground sitting! Day 3 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge | Wildmind Buddhist Meditation
Time: January 3, 2013, 12:02 am

[...] Hit the ground sitting! Day 1 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge [...]

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Comment from Bev Roo
Time: January 4, 2013, 5:28 pm

Hi Bodhipaksa I’m joining at Day 4. Better late than never!!!???

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 4, 2013, 7:17 pm

Absolutely :)

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Comment from barkingbuddhas
Time: January 7, 2013, 9:46 am

Hi, I have always wanted to ask this question, because I’ve never heard an answer that makes sense to me. I’ve been meditating for over 10 years, not everyday. I have my months where I sit every day, and then they morph into “no-every-day”, then morph back into every. Why is that “wrong”?

Sure, I notice a difference if I go from “once a day” to “once a week”, but if I go from “once a day” to “5-6 times a week”, I don’t notice it. I’m sure you can say I’m just not seeing it, but is there any real reason why once a day is the dogma?

And yes, I feel like this once a day saying is dogma. There’s no reason, and no discussion – you are just told to do it. Is there a reason, someplace? If it’s once a day, why does 5 minutes count? Is it the act of *choosing* to sit? Is that what’s important?

What if you say mantras but you are hiding out in a conference room at work? Does that “count”? What if you mindfully eating your lunch at your desk with no distractions, does that “count”? What if you think of the lojong slogans before you go into a tough meeting? I guess I’m wondering if 5 minutes on a cushion is the only thing that counts, what about these other things? I might be able to count some more days then… :)

And why is the saying once ever 24 hour period? Why not ever 6 hours? Or 48?

Finally, why is this question even asked? Other than unless you’re talking to a meditation instructor? Isn’t feeling some sort of pride that you meditate daily and others “just aren’t that committed” your own private thing to deal with? Or at least, some form of spiritual by-passing? I don’t understand the many people who would sound like they’re boasting if they said ” I worked out 40 minutes today and I do that every day”. Why is it ok when it’s meditation? No offence – you all sound great, but I am fascinated by this fascination with the frequency and length of mediation talk.

PLEASE understand I’m not trying to be a smart alek- I have truly always wondered this. Yes, I do *try* for once a day, but why am I trying… what is so bad about my natural rhythms…? I really thank you in advance for any clarity you can offer!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 7, 2013, 11:48 am

I find some of the things you say rather puzzling. No one is telling you to meditate every day. No one has said it’s “wrong” not to. No one has expressed any disdain for people who do not meditate every day. I presume that these are judgments you’re making of yourself, and are projecting onto others.

Personally I find it beneficial to sit every day, after almost 30 years of meditating more erratically. It brings a sense of clarity, and of commitment. It makes meditation a more central part of my life, rather than something that gets squeezed out by things that seem “more important” at the time.

If you don’t want to meditate every day, that’s fine by me.

As for the “rules” — well, you have to define somehow what it means to meditate every day. Of course as soon as you clarify the guidelines, the way is open some someone to come along and question them. The rules are as they are because that’s how they were (arbitrarily) chosen. If you’re not participating, it’s presumably irrelevant to you.

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Comment from barkingbuddhas
Time: January 7, 2013, 11:56 am

Sorry- I really have heard these things before from practice centers and mediation teachers about meditating every day (that’s my “who said”) and was just trying to understand them more. Sorry if I came across offensive. I just thought with the sit for 100 days celebration you might be able to shed some light. I really do try to allow it to be my experience, but I really have had some people say these things and I simply don’t understand. I thought maybe some of you had heard some of these and could explain. I was simply trying to understand why this seems to be so important to others and to the vast majority of teachers and to hear others’ experiences. I really didn’t mean it as a knock – I really was trying to see if anyone could maybe point to an experience. I guess until I’m meditating for 30 years every day I simply won’t understand. :)

Sorry if I offended! I would delete my post but I can’t figure out how. I really was trying to gather information, not push you. :)

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 7, 2013, 12:04 pm

I understand where you’re coming from. I can’t explain why people I’ve never met have said these things, or displayed the attitudes you’re describing. You’d really have to ask them.

All I can do is tell you that I’ve definitely benefited from meditation daily for the last few months, having been erratic for the 30 years before that.

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Comment from Andy R
Time: January 7, 2013, 12:33 pm

Hi, barkingbuddhas

It seems you have met some very “prescriptive” teachers, but Bodhipaksa is not one of those. This whole idea arose from his own experience of setting himself a target to consistently sit every day and see what benefits it gave.

He blogged about it – follow the link where it says “Becoming a rock-solid regular meditator”. He then shared it as a friendly “challenge” with the rest of us. The so-called “rules” are really just there to help motivate us.

Personally I find that the more consistent I am in my meditation practice the better things go. Just like exercising the body, the more often it is done the greater the benefits. So I really appreciate this “challenge” as a framework to help me motivate myself for 100 days. It’s a way to establish a Good Habit, which hopefully will continue afterwards.

I suppose the teachers who told you that you must meditate every day thought it was the best way to motivate people.

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Comment from barkingbuddhas
Time: January 7, 2013, 12:55 pm

Ah! Your use of the term motivate- that I get. :) And framework. That helps define the “rules”. And thanks for the clarity on the non-prescriptive aspect. All of this rings much more true in my experience, and yes, having a framework is very helpful to me. But since I can border on self -flagellation when I miss something, I’ve always had a hard time with a “rule” with no logic. I personally don’t like it when I sit less than 5 days a week – I get all “ick” with everything and everyone. :)
Thanks – I am trying to work on setting up a morning and evening routine, so I am very interested in what people do and such to help me create something. :) So I really appreciate this!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 7, 2013, 1:06 pm

Motivation is very much what it’s about. Like you, I find my life goes more smoothly when I meditate regularly, and the times when I’m least likely to sit are the times I most need it! I’ve found the 100 Day challenge very useful so far in keeping my motivation up — especially with the Google+ Community I’ve set up, where people are being very supportive and expressing in a very honest way their own struggles. It’s been very inspiring.

Outside of this challenge, I always say to people that any amount of meditation is better than none. If people only manage one day a week, that’s better than nothing. I encourage people to do more if they can, but I understand how hard it can be to set up a new habit.

It certainly isn’t helpful when people have judgmental attitudes about our meditation practice, or any aspect of our lives, really. Most of us are perfectly capable of beating ourselves up without any outside help! One of the advantages of “just doing it” is being able to leave all the self-judgement behind.

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Comment from Shane
Time: April 7, 2013, 12:15 pm

I am beginning the 100 days today April 7th ~ Does anyone know if wish there is an online Sangha, maybe on Skype? Namaste _/?\_

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: April 8, 2013, 1:02 pm

Hi, Shane.

We have an online sangha that meets on Google+. I also do classes using G+’s videoconferencing, which is much better than Skype. Come and check out the group.

Incidentally, we’ll be starting a new 100 Day Challenge in a few days. You may want to hold off until then!

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Pingback from Day 100: Just do it | Wildmind Buddhist Meditation
Time: April 10, 2013, 1:25 pm

[...] since the first of January this year, a bunch of us have been encouraging each other to stick to meditating daily. We “hit the [...]

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