February 01, 2013

Meditation Month Begins Today!

It might not say this on your desk calendars, but it's Meditation Month here at Tricycle! That means that starting today, it's time to join the Tricycle staff in making the commitment to sit every day of February—no exceptions and no excuses. We'll be blogging our triumphs and tribulations here and at Vipassana teacher Sharon Salzberg's "Real Happiness" website throughout the month. We'll also be sharing videos, audio interviews, articles, and tips from well-known Buddhist teachers that will help you develop and maintain a meditation practice. To start things off, you can download last year's Meditation Month e-book, Tricycle Teachings: Meditation, here

Beginning Monday, February 4, you'll be able to:

Are you excited? I'm excited! Here's a sneak peek of Sharon doing her thing so that you can get even more excited:


All the excitement notwithstanding, I have to be honest. I might be talking a lot of big game about Meditation Month ("no exceptions, no excuses!"), but my 28-day challenge is already off to a rocky start. I promised myself last night that I would wake up early in order to meditate before work this morning. And did I? Of course not.

But I'm determined to sit before the day is done. During last year's meditation challenge, I found that if I could at least sit down on my cushion every day of February, then actual practice would inevitably follow. It's a little trick to overcome whatever resistance you're throwing up against yourself. "Okay," I tell myself, "I'm not going to practice. But I'm just going to sit down on my cushion for a sec..." That turns into, "Okay, I'll practice for 5 minutes, since I'm already here, but that's it..." which soon becomes a genuine half-hour meditation session. And if you can build the habit of doing this throughout the month, eventually you won't have to use the trick at all. Like Sharon says above, it's all about patience and consistency.

Another thing that helps, at least for me, is to make myself accountable to another person. This year I decided to tell my roommate that I would be participating in the challenge, and asked her to be my own personal nagger. She's doing well so far! (This morning it was: "Did you meditate this morning? No? Weren't you supposed to?" Which was exactly what I wanted her to do. Thanks, Molly.) So now that I know she's keeping tabs on me, there's a greater chance I'll make it to my cushion. Because who wants to be nagged at every morning? This strategy might not work for everyone, but it might be worth a shot if you find yourself continually making excuses to avoid practice.

Let us know if you're planning on meditating with us this month. We'd love to hear from you!

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DharmaHero's picture

I just want to say thanks for the motivation to sit that this online retreat has provided me with for the last couple of days. It's come at an appropriate and challenging point in my life where I needed it. As much as I find meditation really helpful, and as much as I find much wisdom and resonance with the dharma, I also find I can be extremely resistant to the practice. I am an avid reader of buddhism and meditation, but you can't read your way to liberation / enlightenment / whatever ample and well documented mental and spiritual health benefits that the practice has to offer. I wish all the best to the others involved in this virtual sangha, and I am off to sit for a while. Peace and good will to all.

sharkriver's picture

Commit to Sit always coincides with my one month Florida vacation. It's like a vacation within a vacation. I enjoy the retreat videos and the comments. Nice to be part of a community.

Tom Kelley. Ding.'s picture

Two years ago i participated in the challenge, and it changed me for the better. Slowly, i became "busy" and "distracted", and my practice fell away. Always waiting for me, but consistently ignored. What a relief to finally pick it back up! I'm grateful for this challenge, and for this thoughtful community. Thank you!

nilanealy's picture

I'm now meditating daily. In fact today marks my 6-month anniversary of doing so. Still, I want to join the community of February daily meditators. So count me in. Thank you!

Peter L. Albrecht's picture

Another late entry - but fretting about being "on time" - whatever that means - may just be another form of worrying about whether the cat has been tied up or the dog let out or ..... whatever else I can find to fret about! My advice to myself: "Shut up and sit already!"

Dominic Gomez's picture

Don't worry. It's the thought that counts.

DharmaHero's picture

Late entry for me too. But I am here now. Thanks for the encouragement. Happy sitting to everyone.

kirkdemlinger's picture

I am grateful for another way to keep my practice flowing.

gzetzel's picture

This will be a great way to keep my practice steadier. I'm in.

Raleigh's picture

I'm in. I may be late but there is no time like the present.

rcksolie's picture

I'm in. Looking forward to being part of a larger community.

ntrudd's picture

I'm starting today, hopefully this will get me on track again!!

flomi's picture

On my mark, get set. sit!

linlen's picture

OK, let's do it.

mikael.paavola's picture

I'm in! Thank you.

lindahhi's picture

I'm in. Starting today. My intention is to make this a daily routine. It's great to be in a community.

Rehn's picture

I attempt to sit twice everyday--sometimes that's imposible--but I can count on one hand the number of days I've missed in the last few years meditating at least one during the day. So, I'm with everyone here. Make meditation a part of your life. The first "challenge" that Tricycle had a number of year ago pushed me into meditating daily. And I'm so happy it did. Thank you Tricycle.

thibbs35's picture

I'm just starting today. I've never been very consistent about getting my butt on the cushion; hopefully, this will develop a much needed new habit.

jennyhighstreet's picture

Getting a bit of a late start but starting the challenge today. I love the commitment of it as I've been irregular about sitting. I sat today and cut my nap short before going to work thinking that it would lessen the time I needed to sleep because of the peace I would feel. I had intense pain in my legs, a wild racing mind, was crabby, and hated it. BUT I DID IT! Whoo hoo. Looking forward to tomorrow. Thanks for the community. Peace and love.

mattorero's picture

I'm in! What a great way to enjoy the winter ;)

martinfbauer's picture


Hanny2's picture

just noticed this (nothing like mindfulness practice!) and am glad there's still space on the trike. and could there be a better valentine gift than sharon? i think not. i think not.

Hélène Authier's picture

i wiil do it!

Dechen Khadro's picture

I am in-- Nice to have the online Sangha. Namaste to all.

mindynewman11's picture

I am in starting today. Thank you for this much needed encouragement! Best wishes to all other participants for success in their practice.

sandrabehnglez's picture

Late but IN!

robren5936's picture

I have been away from my practice since mid December; what a great "excuse" to return to my practice. I will join everyone by returning to my cushion after my workout tonight! This will be a great month for sure!

atsauls's picture

Okey dokey. I'm in. late, but in. AND going public with it! Thanks for this challenge.

Reggie Sanger's picture

I am in. Thank you

greentea420's picture

I'm all in!

p_mccarthy's picture

Better late than never! I will join, too.

AMY.PENNE's picture

I'm joining--commit to sit and do and be nothing. What a glorious thing to do for humankind.

lpartin21's picture

I am joining! Thank you for the ability to do so.

ABYNORMAL's picture

This is exactly what I needed, and when, too... thank you, Tricycle! Namaste, one and all...

mortensteiniche's picture

Happy to be part of Tricycles meditation month :-)

And thank you so much for the e-book. Can't wait to read it!

ross lumpkin's picture

I have been meditating daily for a while, but the old resistances have raised their voices lately, so this comes at a good time. Thanks, count me in.

jfsawyer's picture

Ah, just found out about this today, but I will start immediately. I sit often, but it's fun to be part of a community action. Nice to know that you are part of a greater Sangha, all doing this together.

In Peace

vrholbrook@gmail.com's picture

I'm ready to begin.

tinalear's picture

I've come to realize that one of my obstacles is *where* I sit. I have an altar downstairs in our basement, and it's beautiful and meaningful to me. Sitting somehow was attached to things being "just so," location, candles, incense, etc. Of course, in my mind, that involves preparation and forethought, and TIME. Plus going down there created some anxiety about *what if the dogs need to go out and I can't hear them* (I have one with prostate cancer, and he needs to go out a lot), etc. So I let go of all the preciousness around where to sit--gave myself permission to fall out of bed, and sit right there next to it, on folded up pillows...and my sitting practice started getting traction. The physical details of my sitting practice were becoming an obstacle, and now, they're not. It's a wonderfully freeing feeling.

Winterfeast for the Soul, an worldwide meditation event which started on January 15th, is a commitment to sit for 40 minutes every day for 40 days. I'm in the middle of that, and am so happy this is going on as well. So I'm committed in both places. I have divided my 40 minutes into two parts: 20 minutes of sitting practice, and 20 minutes of yoga--both of which require presence in the moment. Don't know if this is kosher, but it's the way that speaks to me. Namaste everyone.

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Your story reminds me of that old tale (I'm not sure what its origin is) of the monastery whose cat made so much noise while they practiced that they eventually tied it outside to a pole so they could concentrate. They continued to do this every day, until eventually no one could practice unless the cat was tied to the pole first.
I almost always practice yoga before I meditate too...I think it's totally kosher!
Thanks for joining us this month.
-Emma V.

kateccsmith's picture

I like to incorporate yoga with each morning session too, it's kosher by me at least! Glad we're all in this together, which of course we are...

lbaccash's picture

I do too. On days I take a class, I sit longer. Works for me!

LRVINEBERG's picture

Just finding this now, but will start today. This is GREAT! THANK YOU, TRICYCLE! I LOVE community initiatives. Will also try to sit twice a few times to make up for lost days :) . Check in soon. Metta.

kenneysusan's picture

I am ready to begin again

acoldiron's picture

I'm in, and it's a big challenge right now due to health problems/chronic pain. I'll be "sitting" sometimes in bed (hoping that's not going to be a hospital bed, but even so), sometimes in a chair, and who knows if ever on the actual cushion... but I'll be mentally "sitting" even if stretched out, each day. Perfect timing---thanks.

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Hi acoldiron, thanks for joining us! If you have problems with chronic pain, you might be interested in this week's community discussion about dealing with pain while meditating: http://www.tricycle.com/community/sitting-pains-meditation-month-discussion.
I "sit" lying down sometimes, too. I've found that it works much better for me to do body awareness practices (body scans, etc.) in that position, rather than sitting.
Best wishes for your health from all of us at Trike.
-Emma V.

Mike Heffner's picture

The e-book, on Meditation, chapter 2 has some interesting info about pain. I read it this morning before meditating, and it helped me.

fionacnly's picture

I will do my best!

donna10707's picture

I have been sitting regularly for 2 years,but I am looking forward to maybe getting some suggestions regarding the issues surrounding my practice! Thank you for the opportunity.

greggomccrary's picture

I am all in. Thank you for this additional motivation.