As 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 and from that part of me that values meditation and longs to be more consistent. I have to burst back through it. My first meditation after a gap usually feels like coming home and I can’t imagine why I resisted for so long.
This time I’ve let myself get to nearly 90 consecutive days on the timer I use (Insight Timer). There have been some ‘dry patches’ along the way where my mind has refused to settle, even for a second. But I’m trying not to expect immediate emotional or spiritual payoffs from my sits and just do them on trust, the same way I clean my teeth every morning. In a strange way, that lack of expectation makes it easier to ‘just do it.’
So for me, the benefit of being consistent is that it leads to more consistency. Whether there’s any other benefit, I’ll be very interested to see.
Conversely, doing something consistently, even if it’s just as a placeholder, forms a membrane that strengthens with repetition. Don’t have time to sit, walk, etc. for 30 minutes? Do it for 5 or 1 or whatever it takes to keep doing it.
I couldn’t agree more, Cathy. Thanks for commenting.
I am on my 46th day in a row. Could it be I am actually building a habit? To my delight and surprise, I find myself looking forward to my next meditation, every day. I really enjoy Insight Timer; I feel connected to a community while I sit solitary.
Good for you Andrea!
Been about a week for me now and I keep putting it off. Tonight sat surfing the net on the iPad and drinking beer when could have easily used the time to meditate – it is a bizarre mental block – I want to do it, but at the same time it feels like a chore.
You might want to read this article on setting up a regular practice, Neophyte. It’s helped a lot of people.