“Look at all those people sitting there with their eyes closed. I wonder what they’re doing,” I thought to myself as I ran past a big, pink ramada at the nearby park in Buenos Aires.
I went home that day, researched the benefits of meditation and soon after, purchased a book called “Los Tres Pilares del Zen.”
That was my first interaction with meditation.
I returned home to the States from my semester abroad in Argentina and began my meditation practice with the goal of achieving stillness in my mind and kindness in my heart. I also hoped it would help me listen better.
After a few years of meditating in the solitude of my room, I remember thinking, “I wish I had friends who did this.” Instagram must have read my brain because around that time I saw an ad for a “free meditation course” through an organization called Namchak. I clicked on it and thought, “I like to learn. Why not?”
Hence began my journey as a Namchak community member. I found that the teachings of Shamata and Tonglen by Lama Tsomo seemed to stick with me.
I decided to incorporate meditation into my daily practice as part of my morning, and sometimes nightly, routine. Some days I’d do it. Other days I would forget.
Then in July 2017, I promised myself to do it every day with the goal of doing so for a whole year.
What works for me today?
Fast-forward to today. I have meditated for 526 days in a row. Although the amount I meditate can vary by season, these two strategies have helped my practice stay strong over the last year and a half.
Using Insight Timer to hold myself accountable
Although some may see it as a game, using Insight Timer’s day-counter as an “accountability system” positively influenced my practice. I knew that if I skipped, I would break my streak. There are other ways to maintain accountability, but this has worked for me.
“Sandwich” your meditation between two other habits
I’ve tried meditating in the morning and before bed. Both have worked. What do they have in common? They’ve always been sandwiched between two other habits like brushing my teeth.
It is a difficult task to establish a new habit. But if we take habits that already exist–such as working out in the morning, or journaling before bed–it can be easy to incorporate meditation into that routine.
Currently, I go to the gym in the morning then come home and meditate before hopping in the shower. Because I already established the daily exercise-and-shower combo, it was easier to remember to meditate by squishing it in between the two. I remember this by telling myself, “First, I clean my mind (meditation) then I clean my body.”
I hope sharing my experience with you helps better solidify your own practice. Feel free to reach out to me if you’re interested in joining our virtual Learning Circle meditation study group!
Email: [email protected]
Joe received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and now works as a digital marketer/web developer. He’s been meditating since 2013 and now leads a virtual Learning Circle via Google Hangout.
Published on Apr 04 09 : 00 am