Xavier Jared

TwoShay

Two brothers on personal development, philosophy, and being awesome

Mindful March Recap

Xavier,

I meditated every day last month. Starting with just five minutes a day, I quickly jumped to ten then to fifteen after the first week, where I stayed for the rest of the month. This post is a collection of thoughts and experiences from the month.

I kept a log of my sittings, consisting of just a time and few words of comment. Total time meditating: six hours, fifty-five minutes. Looking back on it after a month, I didn’t quite capture what I was after—I have which sessions were good and which were bad, but little about the circumstances of those sessions. I will be adjusting what I write going forward.

Incense
My monthly ration of incense. From Janne Moren.

Anecdotally, meditating directly after waking was often sloppy, and post-shower pre-breakfast seemed to be a good time. Sitting in the sun, when available, was always a winner. When I was really inspired or excited by an idea awareness was tricky because my mind was so active. I found it easy to let go of negative thoughts, but letting go of positive thoughts too was hard because I really quite enjoy them.

I added incense to my sittings half way through the month. I like how it helps establish my “meditation space”, so have continued to use it. It was especially pleasant on crisp mornings.

Progress

Meditation is still somewhat of a leap of faith for me. I am not noticing direct benefits yet, though I know from practicing more external skills such as piano and juggling that you don’t get better everyday, but practicing everyday improves your skills in the long run. It sounds like an obvious point, but recognizing this motivates me when I am having an otherwise ordinary session.

Juggling provides obvious feedback on progress: Last week I couldn’t do a trick, this week I can. I have had small moments like that with meditation, but they are internal and hard to put in to words or even recognize as “progress”. Thrice towards the end of the month I experienced a very calm state of mind where I was watching my mind and was able to identify thoughts bubbling up and corral them away into a corner. This felt right. I don’t try to make this happen, but it is nice when it does.

I planned to seek out some kind of formal instruction, but this never eventuated. It is something I am still keen to do since I believe it would be beneficial not just for technique but for motiviation.

Fifteen minutes a day isn’t very long, so it’s easy to find time to sit everyday. I am curious about a fuller immersion into meditation—I know people who meditate an hour a day and a couple of times a year go on multiple day retreats. What would that be like? What affect would that have on my life? This curiosity inspires me to keep discovering meditation.

Support

Though I didn’t receive personal formal instruction, I did seek some educational material. I read “Mindfulness in Plain English” at the start of the month, which was beneficial. It is available online, though I read a soft-cover version. The image that stuck with me the most was a glass of muddy water. If it sits still, the silt falls to the bottom to reveal clear water at the top. I return to this metaphor often while sitting.

I also found Jon Kabat-Zinn speaking at Google to be very informative, and the guided meditation he runs excellent. Thanks Kim for recommending it, and for lending me his book “Full Catastrophe Living” which I hope to read this coming month.

Another monk
Another monk in a cave. From Steven Belcher.

At the start of the month I created a Mindful March mailing list, which quickly swelled to fifteen people. In the back of my mind was a concern that the extra “noise” of a support group would actually be detrimental to my practice, though this concern was not realised. The list was very low traffic, and provided very interesting material to incorporate back in to my sittings. Being new to meditation, I appreciated being made aware of different tips and techniques that I could choose to utilize. I believe the others on the list found it valuable also, and due to its low traffic I see no reason to close it down now the month is over.

I feel I have only scratched the surface of what meditation has to offer, and so will be continuing with my practice through April.

Hand-picked related writing

Discussion

We don't publish comments here on the site, but that doesn't mean we don't want to hear what you've got to say! Write something on your own blog, on twitter, or send us an email.

Get more

Email

Sign up to our mailing list for notification of new posts

Feed

Subscribe to our feed for irregular new posts

Twitter

Follow Xavier or Jared on Twitter

Facebook

Friend Jared on Facebook