Your ability to stick with something varies from activity to activity. For example, when playing Scrabble or a computer game, or watching a movie, you no doubt have thoughts about unrelated things, but you keep coming back to the activity. But in other things, like meditation, you find it more difficult to stay focused, and may even give up.
This all suggests that “attention span” is a question of how you relate to distraction, rather than some intrinsic quality of the mind.
The difference is often to do with rewards: in Scrabble, you naturally get a reward when you’ve completed a word and score points. That gives you a little dopamine hit—not just when you … Read more »
Although I’ve been meditating for over 30 years, I have to confess (and have done so often) that for most of that time my regularity was erratic. It’s only the last few years that I’ve been a rock-solid daily meditator. Unfortunately I don’t think any advice I was given (or gave, in classes I taught!) on meditating daily was of any use at all, and I had to figure out my motivation for myself.
Maybe that’s true for all of us, although it seems a lot of people have found my “I meditate every day” mantra useful.
A friend wrote to me and talked about a “good” meditation he’d had, and contrasted it … Read more »
Sometimes I find it hard to set up a good habit. Other times it’s easy. I’ve been wondering if I could look at a habit I’ve found easy to set up, and then apply those principles in other areas. Now I already meditate daily, but perhaps this is something you’ve found difficult and could use some pointers with, or maybe, like me, you’re already a regular meditator but have other areas you need to be working on (and let’s face it, who couldn’t). So I thought I’d share my observations and reflections.
One good habit I’ve been successful in setting up is going out running three times a week, with the aim of building up … Read more »
I’m just getting over a bad habit relating to meditation that’s plagued me for over thirty years.
It was reading a blog post on developing good writing habits that helped me. The idea came from Brett Cooper who, like me, found that he tended to write in fits and starts, with long periods of non-writing, followed by spurts of intense production.
Two ideas came to his rescue. The first was that he realized he needed to establish “a small, non-threatening daily writing habit,” and that a goal of 100 words a day was innocuous enough to be doable.
The second idea was the realization that he needed accountability. Left to our own devices, it can … Read more »
Our 28 Day Meditation Challenge, called Sit : Breathe : Love, started on January 1, with well over 1000 participants.
The aim is not just to try to meditate every day, but — far more importantly — to work on setting up the habit of daily meditation.
A few times people who are reporting on how they’re doing say they meditated, but it was “only” for 20 minutes or “only” for 15 minutes. I’ve said similar things myself.
But that word “only” bothers me. Using the word “only” is a great way of taking something you’ve done that’s good and making yourself feeling bad about it. Compare “I exercised three days this week” and … Read more »
I used to write regularly for this blog. Pretty much every month, for years. But then last summer I went through a major house move that totally disrupted my life and brought my writing to a halt.
But that’s really just an excuse. I’ll admit it’s inertia and my inner critic that’s getting in my way now. Despite my wanting to do it, I’ve always found it hard to write. And when I fell off my routine, and weeks and months passed, it just got harder and harder to get restarted.
I’m wondering if this sounds familiar to any of you out there. When it feels like YOU are the main thing getting in your … Read more »
Yesterday someone posted a comment about their “failure” regarding a 100 Day Challenge (not Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge, however):
I’ve stuck to my challenge only once — ONCE! — in the past 12 days. MASSIVE failure.
Sorry. It wasn’t a “failure.” It was a “MASSIVE failure.” Yikes!
My immediate thought was that this labeling is very, very counter-productive. This particular person wasn’t trying to set up a daily meditation practice, but the principle is the same. If you aim to do something like meditate every day, and only manage to do it one day out of 12, why not regard that as a small success, rather than as a failure (massive, or otherwise)? After … Read more »
The particular approach I was taking hinged on the key element of self-definition. We all carry views about ourselves. These views are often not consciously articulated, but they run very deep and shape our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions.
What I decided to do was to consciously take on the task of redefining myself as a daily (no exceptions!) meditator, by repeating to myself phrases like “I meditate every … Read more »
I really admire those few people I know who can honestly say they’ve been meditating for 10 or 20 years, and that they’ve never missed a day. I’ve been meditating for 30 years, but I’ve never been able to attain that kind of regularity. Sure, I’ve had periods of months at a time when I’ve never missed a day, but eventually I get tripped up and start missing days here and there. It doesn’t help that I have two young kids and that my sleep is often interrupted.
In some ways this irregularity might not matter. I’ve made progress. I’m kinder than I used to be. I’ve experienced all kinds of meditative states, including the … Read more »
There’s a lot of confusion about whether goals have a place in Buddhist practice. Buddhism’s about “being in the moment.” right? And if you’re in the moment you shouldn’t be thinking about the future. And goals are a form of clinging, and we’re not supposed to cling, and so therefore goals have no place in spiritual practice. Right? Well, not so fast.
Sure, there can be problems with goals.
Goals can be something we cling to inappropriately, and so we end up giving ourselves a hard time when we don’t meet them.
Here’s something I’ve experienced, and that I’ve seen happen with many other people:
Early on, when I’d not long learned to meditate, I … Read more »