September 25, 2012
The Best of Andy Puddicombe
Why We Don't Do It, When We Know It Feels Good
Just recently I received the following tweet...
“Just finished today’s Take10. I might find daily excuses not to do it, but I’ve never not felt better after it...”
I love this tweet, because it echoes a sentiment that I hear from people all the time, and I think it perfectly sums up both the challenge and the paradox facing anyone trying to establish or maintain a regular meditation practice.
It’s the craziest thing, right? We’re talking about 10, 15 or 20 minutes a day. This is an amount of time that we wouldn’t think twice about putting aside for a cup of tea, a sitcom, or book, and yet when we think of meditation there’s all of a sudden just not enough time in the day.
And of course we are masters at this self-deception. We might even have a protracted discussion in our mind about how we are so busy, that there is just no time, how maybe we’ll squeeze it in later. In fact this internal conversation might sometimes take as long as, oh, I don’t know, say 10, 15 or 20 minutes?
Maybe it’s because sometimes we think of meditation as a chore. But it would be far better to base your opinion of meditation on your experience rather than a projected idea of what it is. It’s simple, really: you try it, and if you feel better, you will probably want to do some more. That way a very healthy relationship with meditation develops, one which is sustainable.
That brings us to this curious paradox mentioned in the tweet. Even though we know it makes us feel better, we don’t necessarily do it. In fact I often speak to people who have fallen off the proverbial meditation wagon, and they will say, “wow, I used to feel so good when I meditated every day,” and I’ll say, “sure, so why don’t you still do it now?” and they’ll usually say something like “hmmm, good question, not sure really."
Hence the importance of taking time to reflect exactly how you feel after each meditation. Because the mind—if it is anything like mine—is not always so quick to learn. It sometimes needs prompting, prodding, reminding, and reflecting in order to actually establish that this is something positive, something that leaves you feeling physically more relaxed, mentally more calm, and emotionally more grounded and in touch with how you feel.
So, let go of any lingering self-deceptions and commit to a daily practice. You know you want to and you know you’ll feel better for it, so why would you want to do otherwise?