100 Day Meditation Challenge

Hit the ground sitting! Day 5 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge

100 day meditation challenge 005Yesterday I talked about the need to remind ourselves of our intention to meditate daily. I’ve also talked about how we can use an affirmation to embed into our sense of ourselves that we are, in fact, daily meditators, and that the habit of meditating daily is just a part of who we are.

Today I want to talk more about reminders. I call these reminders “mindfulness triggers.”

The Vietnamese Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh suggests posting little notes that will remind you to smile and relax. You can post notes so you will see them first thing in the morning, helping to set the tone for the day.

Sticky notes, placed in prominent places, like on your bathroom mirror, or on the front door where you’ll see it as you leave the house, or on your car dashboard, or somewhere in your work area, will help you to cultivate mindfulness. They can say something as simple as “breathe” or “smile” or “remember” or “relax.” It’s good to have several in different places, and to have them say different things. As you see them, you’ll remember to step back and be aware of how you are and how you’re being, and you’ll find that you have an opportunity to adjust your attitude.

If you have some post-it notes available, why not go off right now and make some mindfulness triggers for yourself? And then maybe you could share in the discussion forum what some of your words are, and where you placed them.

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Hit the ground sitting! Day 4 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge

100 day meditation challenge 004Building a habit of meditating daily often starts with a burst of enthusiasm, and then a few days in you realize that the habits of your normal life have taken over and you just forgot to sit.

So you’re probably going to need some reminders to help establish the awareness, I meditate every day. The most helpful thing is having a regular time to meditate. Then it’s just “time to meditate” and you do it.

That doesn’t work for everyone, though. So you might want to set up a reminder in your computer or smartphone calendar to prompt you to meditate every day, or place notes and reminders around the house or in your car or office.

Having a place set up to meditate helps, too, especially if it’s a place you’ll see when you first get up.

If you’re participating in our Google+ Wildmind community, then you’ll also get emails whenever someone posts there, which can act as a reminder to practice.

So it takes a little effort to establish this new habit. And you may find there are some days you just forget, but you can congratulate yourself for having identified a weakness in your reminder system. Just pick yourself back up and see what you can do to create better internal and external reminders of your intention to sit daily.

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Hit the ground sitting! Day 3 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge

100 Day Meditation Challenge

Welcome to Wildmind’s first 100 Day Meditation Challenge, which has been set up to encourage people to establish a habit of daily meditation. For background on the challenge, including the “rules,” check here.

A lot of people think that they have to sit in some exotic position to meditate, but you don’t have to sit in lotus position or even cross-legged. In fact you don’t have to sit on the floor at all.

I’ve never had the flexibility to meditate for more than a few minutes in a cross-legged position, and usually use a meditation bench. Some people I know use chairs to sit in. When I’m teaching classes on Skype I’m usually in an office chair.

I’d encourage you to check out our posture workshop to explore the variety of ways that you can sit to meditate, and for trouble-shooting common problems.


You can use the comment form below to let us know how the Meditation Challenge is going for you. Have you managed to sit every day so far? How long have you been meditating for? What’s your experience been like so far. Remember: if you miss a day, just pick yourself up and carry on!

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Hit the ground sitting! Day 2 of our 100 Day Meditation Challenge

100 day meditation challenge 002Welcome to Day Two 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:

Fall down, get back up
Don’t turn a minor setback into a major setback. If you miss a day, then just pick yourself right up, forgive yourself, and keep on going. Self-forgiveness could be defined as giving up all hope of a better past. You can’t change the past, but you can make the most of the present moment and set up the intention to create a better future for yourself. You missed a day? Let’s just learn from that. What stopped you from sitting? What can you do to make it more likely that you’ll get on the cushion today and in future days? Aim to sit for every future day of the remainder of the 100.

Rejoice!
Our minds are prone to negativity. We sit for five minutes, and then we say “Yeah, but it was only five minutes. I bet other people are meditating for much longer. Besides, I was distracted most of the time. I’m not a real meditator.” Screw that. You meditated for five minutes? Punch your fist in the air and say to yourself “I meditated for five minutes! I rock!” Seriously, it’ll make you feel great, even if you just imaging doing this. If you don’t feel it, do it several times. Celebrating even our short meditations helps us to feel positive and confident and joyous about our meditation practice. Are you really going to want to do something regularly when your self-talk afterwards can be boiled down to “I suck”? No, punch the air! “I meditated! I rock! Yay, me!”

Use supports
Lastly, we have a ton of meditation instruction on this site. Here’s a link to our guide to the mindfulness of breathing practice. This is the most basic form of meditation, where we simply pay attention to the physical sensations of the breathing. This guide includes a number of audio guided meditations that you can stream.

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

Buddha statue in summer woodland

Welcome 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 to let us know how you got on.

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Join us for Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

100 day mediation challengeWe all need encouragement with our practice, and many of us need help in meditating regularly. So to provide some support that will hopefully continue long after other new year’s resolutions have worn off, we’re running a 100 Day Meditation Challenge, starting January 1, 2013.

The aim is to support people to meditate daily for 100 straight days. There aren’t any “rules” as such, but we suggest that a “sit” should consist of a minimum of five minutes of practice, which could be sitting or walking practice. Ideally, though, you’d do at least 20 minutes of meditation a day. A “day” counts as the period between waking and sleeping, so if you sit after midnight before going to bed late, that still counts.

If you have the Insight Timer app for Android or iPhone, you can use that to log your meditations.

You can let us know how you’re getting on by posting on Wildmind’s Facebook page [we subsequently withdrew from Facebook, disturbed by the negative effect the company was having on society] or our online community.

I’ll try to create a 100 Day post each day of the 100 Days, so that you can post there what sitting you’ve done. There will also be opportunities to post on Wildmind’s blog, where I’ll create special 100 Day posts.

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