By Jonathan Kaplan, Ph.D.
That's it! We did it! We all committed to practicing meditation for 28 days and we acted on that commitment. Some of us might have meditated for daily for the entire 4 weeks, and now we're basking in the glow of our achievement--essentially, taking the contemplative equivalent of a victory lap. Others of us might have missed some days and feel somewhat disappointed in our performance (e.g., "I'm not really happy and it's my fault!"). Regardless of the degree to which we fulfilled our intended commitment, we can learn a lot from how we approached this challenge and how we treated ourselves during it. Did we treat ourselves with loving-kindness, for example, as we tried to meditate consistently? Did we make space for our judgments, emotions, and other experiences, and explore them with curiosity, compassion, and acceptance? What about if we ever "missed the mark" in some way? How did we treat ourselves then?
If you ask me, I think it's pretty impressive that so many of us were interested and willing to explore meditation as a way to settle the mind and feel better. As many of us likely experienced, meditating is not always a really happy endeavor. It can be challenging, stressful, and difficult as well as pleasant, boring, blissful, and nice. So, offer yourself some love and congratulations for what you've accomplished. Of course, the real question from here is, "What are we going to do tomorrow?" In some respect, whether we're self-aggrandizing or self-deprecating relative to our fulfillment of this challenge, it demonstrates that we're still attached to our judgments and our sense of self. Rats! I thought we'd be done by now. Enlightened! Awakened! Free! < sigh > Ah, well, I guess we'll be seeing each other 'round the cushion.
[Before signing-off, I'd like to thank many folks. Thanks to Sharon for writing this wonderful book and bringing us all together to practice together. Thanks to Ambika for making this whole event possible. Thanks to Gina and Jenny for their support and contributions. Finally, thanks to all of you for reading my posts--or at least this one anyway--and being intrigued by the practice of meditation. May your practice be profound, insightful, and--ultimately--liberating.]