I once participated in a 28 day meditation challenge and about halfway through it, I asked a friend who was also participating what she was experiencing and she replied, “I already meditate every day, so…” I was a little surprised – and envious – at her dedication. EVERY DAY, she said. You know who else meditates every day? David Lynch, who says he hasn’t missed a meditation since 1973. Wow.
You know who DOESN’T meditate every day? Me.
I wish I could say I do! Now, sometimes I will accomplish it for several weeks at a time, but often, I’ll miss one day… or two… and then maybe even a week goes by. Oops. Now, someone might think this isn’t a good trait for a meditation teacher to have. How can I teach meditation or mindfulness if I am not dedicated to it – if I am not experiencing the full benefit? That is a great question.
There are a large number of us that have a hard time establishing a habit or making the self-care effort. It’s so much easier to sleep late, waste time on social media, or pour a glass of wine than it is to sit quietly for ten minutes. Despite our best efforts, we neglect to do it one day and then it becomes much easier to “forget” the next day, and the next.
Here’s the thing: I am not a guru. I am just like my students.
Many of my students, and other meditators that I’ve talked to, express that they aren’t meditating as much as they could or should. And because I have my own bad habits and temptations that keep me from doing it – that’s exactly what makes me an effective teacher. I know, as well as anyone, how hard it is to find that motivation. This means I have made it my mission to identify our roadblocks and to keep chipping away at them, until meditation becomes effortless. Until you don’t even have to think about whether or not you meditated yesterday or the day before – because you just do it.
One of the most important things we need to remember if we DO skip meditation is to not judge ourselves harshly. This only serves to create a cycle of guilt that does nothing to motivate us. Instead, approach it with beginner’s mind – start each meditation as if it’s your first. Don’t worry about how long it’s been since you last meditated. Just sit.