I just finished sitting still for ten minutes, for the thirtieth day in a row. My first guided meditation retreat is complete!
I haven’t written much if anything about my decision to set aside ten minutes a day for the last month, mostly because I didn’t want to jinx myself. I knew there was a real possibility of failure and didn’t want to have to be publicly accountable for my commitment. I put enough internal pressure on myself as it is; sometimes it’s in my best interest to keep my intentions quiet. But now that I’ve officially succeeded, I can talk about why I did it, and why I’ll do it again:
Self-discipline is crucial, and I want to cultivate it in myself. I read a refreshingly accessible book on how and why meditation aids in achieving self-discipline, and so I decided to try my hand at sitting still. Setting aside some time each day to notice my breath and my thoughts.
It’s simple enough in theory, sitting for a few minutes a day. But every day is different, and it’s not always easy to find the space for stillness. Some days I downright despised the notion of “wasting” ten minutes in the morning that could seemingly be better spent with the snooze button. But under the terms of the guided retreat, if I skipped a day, I would have to start over–and while the book assured me that would be absolutely fine, the fact remains that I don’t like to fail.
Of course in reality it is impossible to fail at meditation; the book makes that much clear. The point is just to become aware of how the mind is functioning, so that I have the choice of changing. And I understand that motivating myself with the threat of failure is not a compassionate technique. I’m working on being kinder to myself, but I have a ways to go. Which is why this first thirty-day journey won’t be my last.
And even though I’ve done it imperfectly, I’ve proven that it is possible to meditate for thirty consecutive days, and that is pretty cool. That’s more than I’ve ever meditated before: 300 minutes I’ve given to myself, that I’ve invested in my own development and well-being. I feel good about what I’m doing, and I can tell that sitting down each day is getting easier, feeling like less of a chore and more of a privilege. Practicing patience, ten minutes at a time!