The benefit of meditating regularly

February 4, 2013

100 day mediation challenge 035As a long-time meditator who has never established a daily habit, I’ve been questioning the value of the 100 day challenge and asking: does it matter if I miss a day?

In the great scheme of things, it probably doesn’t. But although the ‘great scheme of things’ is a handy minimiser at times, its distant perspective doesn’t help much with detail.

The truth is that if missing one day turns into missing another and then another, I find it strangely difficult to get back to meditating. It’s as if an invisible membrane forms after the first lapse, which grows thicker and thicker as the days pass until it has separated me completely from my practice … Read more »

Being mindful of the effects of your thinking

February 3, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 034Some kinds of thinking are helpful in terms of what we’re trying to achieve in the meditation, and some kinds aren’t.

So in mindfulness of breathing the counting (which is a form of thought) is helpful. In lovingkindness practice the phrases that we say (“may you be well,” etc.) are also helpful. And less “programmatic’ thoughts can also be helpful in bringing about greater attentiveness, relaxation, calmness, or other qualities. You can recognize these by their effects.

But generally, most of the thinking we do is concerned with worrying, doubting, arguing, criticizing, yearning, etc., and most of that thinking perceptibly stirs up suffering of one sort or another.

I’d simply suggest looking at what your … Read more »

Day 33 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

February 2, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 033Sometimes people have problems with the final stage of lovingkindness practice — developing goodwill for all beings. Because how can you possibly relate to all beings! It’s impossible!

I think the language of “all beings” can be misleading. We can’t literally have metta for all beings because we don’t know who they are, or where they are, or even if they are!

The final stage is called, in the commentaries, “breaking the bounds” and I see it as breaking the bounds of one-to-one relationships. The middle three stages all include a one-to-one relationship with someone: a friend, a neutral person, and someone you have difficulty with. A visual comparison (not that I’m saying it … Read more »

Day 32 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

February 1, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 032Kevin, one of Wildmind’s Google+ Community members, writes very movingly about why he meditates.

I sit so I can stand.

I am a novice meditator, having stumbled upon the practice while looking for some strength and solace in the face of an enormous emotional trauma. I can say without reservation that my practice has kept me sane and perhaps even alive. I do not claim to be an expert meditator, whatever that may be. Many days, much of my time on the cushion is spent trying to find a comfortable posture. I can’t do a body scan to save my neck. My mind races and the emotions sometimes utterly overwhelm me. Sometimes it feels like

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Day 31 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 31, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 031David St. Michael, from Wildmind’s Google+ Community, looks back on where his practice has taken him so far:

I enjoy my morning meditations. It’s a ritual that is deeply a part of me. I used to, for many years, wake up feeling depressed and angry and stuff. Most of that is crap I learned from childhood abuse and growing up in a messed up family.

However, about three years ago, I started morning meditating in direct response to my demons, as it were. I wanted something to do that would help calm my mind, but not put me to sleep, and meditation fit the bill. It’s perfect, really.

Anyways. In the last three years

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Day 30 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 30, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 030Emily Schudel of our Google+ Community shares the following account of her progress to date:

The mind wanders into very interesting corners, but I am learning to patiently let it go and return to the breath. I find the practice creeping into my workday as well. I have an app on my computer that also helps (called Stillness Buddy) – pops up on my screen at intervals for a variety of stillness pauses in the day.

One thing I am really trying to be mindful of at work (and in life) now is getting away from multitasking. So many people seem to think doing many things at once is important, necessary and showing of

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Day 29 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 29, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 029From Lisa L., on Wildmind’s Google Plus Community:

Meditating daily as part of the 100 day challenge has been very powerful for me. Practicing daily makes it clear that good sits and bad sits happen, which makes it much easier to sit even when things are difficult. I don’t worry anymore if I’m in the ‘right frame of mind’ to sit. I don’t worry about whether I’m ready to face the focused mind in my sitting. I just sit, and bring whatever I’ve got/dealing with, with me. And some days are a real struggle, but not necessarily the days that I expect to struggle. Some days are a joy, but not necessarily those days

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Day 28 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 28, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 028How’s the 100 Day Meditation Challenge going for you?

I confess we rather threw this project together at the last moment. Someone had mentioned in Wildmind’s Google+ Community that they’d just completed 100 straight days of meditation, and someone else said “Hey, what about a 100 Day Challenge,” and I said yes. This was all in late December!

One thing I didn’t take much time to think about was the stated purpose of the challenge. One soul on Facebook thought we were running some kind of competitive meditation event, but it certainly isn’t that! The original aim was to encourage people to set up a habit of meditating daily by sitting every day (or aiming … Read more »

Day 27 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 27, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 027Nicki, from Wildmind’s Google Plus Community, offers her take on “how it’s going so far” in the 100 Day Challenge:

The first thing I’ve noticed is a welling-up and outpouring of compassion. In interactions with friends I’ve been almost wholly focussed on them, their lives and interests and how to help them, rather than caught up in some internal dialogue with myself. And the compassion also extends more widely into the world.

Last week I was buying lunch in a takeaway shop, and saw an elderly man sitting slowly cutting and eating a piece of roast chicken (with apologies to vegetarian readers). It was obvious that the movements were difficult for him, and that the

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Day 26 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

January 26, 2013

100 day meditation challenge 026Here’s a quick “How it’s going for me” from Peter, who is on Wildmind’s Google+ Community.

A little over 7 months ago, I lost my partner (of 44 years) to cancer. I struggle with my grief and realised I needed to find some spiritual solace.

I had meditated on an occasional basis over the last few years, mainly trying to deal with any anxiety that I found in life. I tried returning to my childhood Christian tradition, but found this did not answer my need.

I returned to meditation which had always been guided by Bodhipaksa (his ‘Guided Meditations‘ from 2005), and found greater peace and some quietening of my anxiety through this.

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