Just finished Day 1 meditation. My partner and I intend to do the daily Real Happiness meditation followed by 20 minutes of silent breathing meditation for 28 days. Our goal is to re-establish the habit of daily meditation after a few months lapse.
That’s what we do. We are committed for a few months; then things come up, we miss a day or two that stretches into a month or two or three. It seems that sustaining the practice is just as hard, or harder, than getting started.
It’s not that I don’t know meditation is good for me. It’s not that the benefits aren’t evident. That should be enough to keep me going, right? Apparently not. I have the same challenge with healthy eating and regular exercise, even sleep. So what’s going on?
I’ve wrestled with this question on and off for a long time. I try not to be judgmental of myself. I tell myself “It happens. That was then, this is now.” And then I choose to do something other than what’s healthy anyway.
I want to figure out what’s going on in my head that has created this barrier. If I understand what keeps me from maintaining my practices then maybe I can learn to be more disciplined.
When I’m honest with myself, I know I’m behaving as though I’m not worth the effort compared to other things I “should” be doing. Things for other people — family, friends, kids — and work always come first. I crave the approval of other people and discount the approval I give myself when I practice. Oh right, I don’t give myself approval. Maybe it comes down to this. I don’t feel worthy of taking care of myself. When I don’t take care of myself, I don’t feel worthy. It’s a vicious circle.
So what am I going to do with this insight? Maybe I’ll add one thing to the challenge. At the end of each meditation, I will validate myself for participating. Like the teacher did in elementary school, I’ll put a sticker on the calendar every day I meditate. And I’ll work on developing the habit of noticing when I do practice, instead of focusing on when I don’t.