Meditation Challenge 2015 Comments Page

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This page is for comments related to the 2015 Meditation Challenge. Please feel free to join the conversation…

  • Looking forward to the 2015 challenge!

  • Guy Dugan

    What does the commitment involve? How are the books used? Can you please describe the structure?

    • Hi Guy, more of the structure (which is loose) is described in this post: http://ssalzberg.wpengine.com/realhappinessblogambikawelcome-and-info/

      The commitment is to daily meditation practice (or as close to daily as you can manage) for the month of February. There is a set format in Sharon’s book, Real Happiness which is easy to follow. In Real Happiness at Work the structure is a bit more loose so that people can structure their meditation practice to work with their jobs. Guided meditations are included in each book

      Let me know if that makes things more clear for you.

      In Peace,

      Ambika

  • Pingback: Welcome and Info - Sharon Salzberg()

  • CB

    Will instructions be posted online daily for those of us who do not have the book?

    • We don’t post daily instructions since this challenge is based on the books, and the books each have a lot of instruction. Sharon does write a post at the beginning of each week to help us with the week’s practice. If you already have a meditation practice you can do your practice daily and post reflections and questions here, as well as read posts from others and comment there. You don’t need to read the books to join us in that way.

      The basic structure for the month is posted here: http://ssalzberg.wpengine.com/realhappinessblogambikawelcome-and-info/

      Ambika

  • Caroline Altmann

    Hi Ambika, Hi Sharon, Hi Everyone,
    Smiling and grateful to be part of this community. Maybe all beings be free from suffering, be happy, be healthy and (drum role) live with ease.

  • Marissa Caldeira

    Hi everyone! I’m excited to share this experience with all of you. My intention is to increase my concentration and develop a solid daily meditation routine. I think it will be helpful to share this 28 day meditaion challenge. Happy practice!!

  • Sally

    Hi everyone – I am excited about something my co-workers and I are doing as part of the meditation challenge. We have organized a group of people at my office who are going to read Real Happiness at Work together throughout the month of February, talk about the things that resonate the most with us, and some also will do the daily meditation challenge. It is such a great opportunity for those of us who work together to be supported by Sharon’s work and all of your work and to support each other. It will enrich my experience to share it with others.

    • sarah jacobs

      I wish my office was conclusive to doing something. Like this.

  • Beth

    Glad to be participating. This is my first time and your posts are inspiriing. I will be posting for the first time tomorrow with the NY Insight Meditation Center. – Beth W.

  • Hi, I look forward to participating this year with all of you! Happiness at Work fits nicely into the journey I’m on currently to reinvent my career, as well as hopefully help others do the same, by discovering how we can do what we love. The timing of this challenge couldn’t have come at a better time 🙂 I saw in one of the comments that there is a kick-off party sometime today. Could you please post the link to it? Thanks!

    • Hi Chris,
      I’m sorry the launch party is full. We will be recording it and the audio will be available on this site soon.

  • Tesselate

    Morning .. I have just completed my first meditation using the breathing meditation on the CD that came with the book. I found myself easily distracted every few minutes .. maybe seconds .. and a little drowsy .. also a few physical itches. I succeeded in being gentle with myself and starting over .. but i did wonder about the physical distraction .. if it’s not painful, do we ignore and it will pass? sometimes an itch is SO compelling! Thank you

    • Tesselate

      p.s. where is the week one posting from Sharon .. would that be here, via email or on her fb page? thanks

      • Just posted. It is on the home page and on the meditation challenge page.

        • Tesselate

          thanks Ambika

        • Marissa Caldeira

          Rough beginning to meditation challenge! Fell prey to anxiety very quickly…continuously starting over..returning to breathing..I am anxious today.

  • Steven Bend

    Hello all. It was a beautiful snowy day in Western Pennsylvania to start my 28 days. I sat for 40 minutes. A lot of sadness came up, and some sleepiness. Strangely, though, I think my sadness was “happy” to have some space to come up. I don’t always give it the room it wants and needs. It will be interesting to see what comes up tomorrow. Take care, Steven

  • Harlemesque

    First day and since i’ve not meditation in a disciplined way on my own in awhile i found it difficult. I only sat for 10 minutes! And during that ten minutes I kept thinking about my iPod, iPhone, my laptop, my kindle, my kindle fire. Argh! Spending almost every minute of my day in front of a screen, it’s hard focus on anything else. I’m super glad for this challenge : )

  • Kiyoko

    did a drinking tea meditation. Thank you for the audio! Now I remember I love tea so much. I attended yesterday’s meditation launch party. Inspired. So excited about this challenge.

  • Jeanne

    Winter is the perfect time for meditation. The yin season calls for going inside. Happy to be sharing this learning with all of you. Excited to witness the changes this commitment could bring to me. I added the suggested closing and found myself feeling happy thinking about how the actions I take toward the good impacts us all. Peace, love and joy to you.

  • Jerry

    Hi All,
    As I sit here overlooking a snowed in Brooklyn backyard, I remember a snowfall at IMS just after my father passed away. I was understandably jangled up….a mess… but Sharon assured me “just do it”. After days of silence, this beautiful snowfall like the one we had today came and marked the end of the retreat. … and now, here I am with that same silent, soft snowfall feeling… the stillness snow brings that can outlast the sirens wailing in the backround.
    I couldn’t be more exited to be a part of something BYS and Sharon are doing with us. We are all together on this endeavor, how wonderful. I’ve felt you with me for the second day now, and I’m getting so used to it, so quickly, it’s surprising! In Peace, Jerry

  • Cynthia Brewster

    Hello everyone — my first time here; starting my second year of meditation. Wanting some structure and community to keep me focused on daily practice. For months now I’ve been using Sharon’s recorded Breathing Meditation once a week to remind me of the basics. Yesterday it seemed easy, today was jumbled … the typical up-and-down, back-and-forth of the practice, it seems. Happy to be here with all of you!

  • Julie

    Hello everyone. This is my second time doing the challenge. Over the past year I have been in crisis and very recently the end of a long-term relationship. To sit with myself on Day 1 was really hard, and today too. I am facing my personal emptiness. Hoping that this will change. Thanks for the sense of community here. PS: I want to work where “Sally” who posted just before me is working; sound like an amazing work environment. 🙂

  • María María

    Hello everyone!
    I’m ready and looking forward to sharing this experience with all of you!
    I will start listening the recommended book Real Happiness. Blessed and happy to be able to be here with all of you!

  • sarah jacobs

    found myself feeling very grumpy most of the day. I didn’t have any new assignments for Yemi or Rickey which left me to obsess about lack of development training options for non-supervisors. I keep reminding myself it’s not appropriate to make a life changing decisions after a big loss but how much longer do I need to feel trapped? > > On a brighter note, I took the 5 flights of stairs three times and I power walked to ten metro with nothing in my arms.

  • John

    Hello Everyone. The comments posted here are helpful to me. I am new to this. I did the tea meditation two days in a row. Concentrating on the tea’s aroma, its heat, the shape of the mug and its weight in my hands all helped to bring me focus and a calm settled in. I look forward to tomorrow and to reading more experiences of others. I’m happy to be here.

    • sarah jacobs

      I’ve never done this challenge before. Where are the assignments?

      • John

        Far as I can tell there are no exact assignments, except following the structure in Sharon’s book Real Happiness at Work seems to be the only guidance. I just began with the tea meditation as a place to start till I get the book.

  • Keith Villanueva

    Hi Ambika. I am lost in here, lol. Is there a place to post about your daily practice or experiences? Ram Ram Ram

    • Hi Keith – you can post right here or email me if you want to blog this year and I will send you instructions.

      • Keith Villanueva

        OK. I would enjoy blogging. Thank you. =)

  • Julie

    Hi Everyone – I have meditated for 4 days. This is a season for feeling “disconnected from all that was good with my life” as Sharon put it in her blog “Healing Through Adversity.” (Even though I know that I will heal and that time is on my side.) Would anyone like to speak on meditating through tears and sadness? Thank you.

    • Hi Julie, Sharon spoke about this a little during her Dharma Talk at the launch party, so that might be a place for you to find some resources. Link for that is here: http://ssalzberg.wpengine.com/real-happiness-2015-meditation-challenge-launch-party-sharon-audio/

      Also here is a post Sharon wrote in the 2013 challenge about working with emotion in your practice: http://ssalzberg.wpengine.com/realhappinessblogsharon-salzbergweek-3-mindfulness-emotions/

      You can also skip ahead in the book “Real Happiness” as there is a whole section there on emotions. Let me know if you need any other support!

    • Hi Julie, There are different aspects to working with difficult emotions skillfully. One is, as with everything, we try to be with what is with some kindness towards ourselves. That is helped by becoming mindful of the add ons…thoughts like “This is going to last forever,” “I shouldn’t feel this, I should be beyond it,” “This is my fault,” “I’m the only one who feels this,”…or any of the many similar thoughts we all have. If we can see them, we can gently let go of them, rather than taking them to heart and adding a lot of self judgment and stress to what is already a painful or tender emotion.

      The other thing is to remember balance. We’re not trying to conquer anything, or get it all done at once…it’s better to switch attention to something that is easier to be with (e.g. listening to sounds, walking) instead of sitting there for a long time only with he sadness…it’s not wrong to do that, but it tends to be exhausting, and it’s considered better to build in balance all along the way by consciously moving our attention to something easier to be with. this is not a cop out, or cowardice..it’s being skillful.

      • Julie

        Thanks so much.

  • Mary Linn

    Hi everyone. I was so glad to receive the invitation to join this year’s meditation challenge. This has been just the nudge I needed to sit again after my six-year old daughter was killed by a reckless driver on December 22.

    What I’m noticing most after the first seven days is a shift in my relationship to impermanence. Just as I cannot hold my breath and expect my body to remain in balance, so I cannot hold anything in my life. Change comes, even in ways I never would have thought possible. As I sit, I learn to soften my breath and allow it to move freely. The flowing river of impermanence moves like my breath, and I learn to surrender my expectations of what I think should be and live peacefully with what is.

    • I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. In Buddhist countries, it is believed very strongly that the strongest connection we can have with someone after they have died is through our own good hearted ness..that is, the positive energy generated when we are generous, or kind, or we meditate (even if it feels really like a “bad” session), can be offered to someone who has died. Because they believe so strongly in rebirth, this is considered a help not only to ourselves but to our loved one. And in Tibetan Buddhism the bardo, or state in between lives, usually lasts about 29 days…which is today. Tell me your daughter’s name..I’ll also share my merit. You can write to me directly through contact form on the contact page of this site.

  • ken

    Posting this here at the suggestion of Ambika. Hoping to get some guidance on an issue that keeps arising. I’ve been meditating for approx 3 weeks.

    The past week or so it seems (at least to me) that I am going (for lack of a better word) deeper into a meditative state. At the same time I now keep having a constantly recurring thought arising that I am going so deep that I may never come out of it.

    When I’m not meditating I know logically that I’m not going to be able to meditate myself into a coma. But, while I’m in the meditation it feels extremely real and extremely stressful to me. I refocus on my breathing but the thought usually reoccurs several times and it gives me very unpleasant reactions of alarm. I’ve also tried accepting that it is just an anxious thought, and I’ve also tried noting some of the physical sensations that arise from that thought.

    I have had other anxiety inducing thoughts occasionally come up during meditation but they have never been a real issue and this seems very, very different. Those other thoughts did not involve thinking about a severe negative consequence of continuing the very thing I am actually doing (meditation) at that moment and continue to do despite the fact that my mind and body are sending me danger signals.

    This is making me hesitant to sit down and meditate, although I am already seeing noticeable benefits. The nearest (imperfect) analogy I can give is if I did not have any of the physical manifestations of sleep deprivation but I know that I need and want the benefits of sleep. It is as if I also know that sleeping will invariably cause a reoccurring nightmare to appear and scare the bejeesus out of me while I’m asleep.

    • Hi Ken,

      Some of my response is really based on your knowing yourself. Your instinct seems quite good..you need to establish a calm, clear look at that thought (which, by the way, doesn’t reflect reality.. All states change so you won’t float off into a permanent coma).. So how do you come to a balanced awareness of that thought?

      Some of it is sensing how you are out of balance (believing the thought? Resenting the thought?) some of it is developing skillful means to get back to balance. Is it having something of a sense of humor? Is it welcoming the thought as a guest? Is it reminding yourself that everything changes? Is it giving that thought a persona, maybe an image? Of course we try many things in the spirit of experimentation, but that can be a good process too.


May all beings be happy ♡