February 29, 2012
Today marks the end of Meditation Month. For the past few years, the February meditation challenge has lasted 28 days, so I'm taking today--February 29th--as a special bonus day, a day to reflect on what I've discovered over the past 4 weeks and to consider how I might sustain my practice in the coming months. I read through Tricycle's "Commit to Sit" special section and found Sharon Salzberg's advice for the final day of Meditation Month:
Congratulations on completing the Commit to Sit challenge. But don’t stop here. The challenge now is to incorporate your newly cultivated wisdom, peace, and diligence into your busy life. Reflect on your efforts this month and think about how the process has unfolded for you in ways both expected and unexpected. Can you sense any change in your thought patterns and quality of attention? What commitments to meditation practice and ethical conduct would you like to keep? Take what you have learned about the practices and yourself and formulate a daily practice that works for you, and if you’re still feeling adventurous, look into other kinds of retreats you might like to try.
It has been a challenge to sit everyday—an emotional rollercoaster of drowsiness, anger, joy, and even some broken glass. But as I reflect on the last 28 days I realize how far I've come. I have a developed more patience toward myself and a deeper sense of awareness of the relationship between my body and mind. I have found teachings that support my daily practice, and I plan to return to them whenever I have difficulty getting on the cushion. I've managed to let go of the expectation that I will achieve something when I sit—I'm content to rest in the present, paying attention to the thoughts and emotions that arise from moment to moment.
If you joined us during the Meditation Month challenge, share your challenges, successes, and experiences with us. How do you plan to sustain your practice in the coming months? If you were not able to participate in Meditation Month, you can still download our Tricycle Teachings: Meditation e-book (free for supporting and sustaining members!) for useful practices, tips, and guided meditations from well-known Buddhist teachers.
See you next February!