"It's completely possible to start over. Wherever we've gone, we can begin again." – Sharon Salzberg in Real Happiness
In week one of the 28-day meditation program, the emphasis is on concentration, which is cultivated by relaxing into the feeling of the breath in the body, noticing when our mind has wandered, and returning to the breath. In meditation, as in life, these moments of awareness are what allow us to start over and "begin again."
One of the amazing things about a meditation practice is how it can reveal a sense of freshness in life. There are always new layers of experience to uncover, and it is usually the case that just when I've resigned myself to predictability that something unexpected will reveal itself and I'll think "ah ha! it's not so predictable." The same could be said for meditation practice as a whole — it can feel frustrating, dusty, unexciting and possibly even a waste of time, especially when we are first getting our practice off the ground.
So as Week 1 is coming to an end, some of you may be thinking that this is too hard, or you can't do this. But the start of week 2 is another opportunity to "begin again" with the practice as a whole. I've been practicing for six years and I still come up against doubts and resistance to practice, and sometimes it takes a friend, teacher, or a line from a book to energize my practice again.
Now is an opportunity to let go of whatever successes or failures we may have experienced in the first week of practice and start from square one. Whether you've been practicing for one week, three months or six years, here's another chance to begin again, again.
Patrick Groneman is a meditation coach, artist, and aspiring organic gardener. He is formerly the director of the Interdependence Project and has a special interest in applying the practice of mindfulness to everyday life. He currently lives in Ireland and New York City