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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:
- watch our online retreat with Sharon Salzberg, "Real Happiness," and ask her questions about your practice
- download our new e-book, Tricycle Teachings: Meditation, Vol. 2
- participate in a discussion with Youth Yoga Dharma founder Cator Shachoy on handling pain that arises during meditation
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!