“This year I’m going to start meditating regularly.”
It sounds good, but in the real world we rarely follow through.
Maybe we meditate a few times and nothing exciting happens. Or we make some progress. But after a few days, a week, a month, we stop. It doesn’t become a regular part of our life.
It doesn’t become a habit.
If you want to get the benefits of meditation, talking about it with friends, reading about it on Facebook and Reddit, and meditating “every so often” is not going to cut it.
It’s time to start thinking about how to turn it into a habit, robust enough for the long run. We know meditation is a practice much like exercise (it only works if done consistently) – so treat it that way!
Today we’re going to abolish the casual: “ughh, I need to meditate more.” If you ever expected to evolve from a Facebook-addicted mind to a Zen master in a matter of weeks, this article is for you.
Meditation is amazing – it rewires our brain, literally building gray matter and undoing years of conditioning.
That’s why today I’m going to give you a blueprint to actually make meditation a part of your life.
Words often limit us in ways we don’t even know. That’s why I love words like schadenfreude – apart from just being plain fun to use, it helps illuminate the limitations of language itself.
The way we talk about things has a profound impact on the way we think about things – and ultimately – the decisions we make… even how we act without realizing it. Words are powerful, even when we don’t realize the power they have over us.
Today I want to talk about one instance where the power of words often secretly sabotages our mindfulness and meditation practice: the lack of a coherent way to distinguish between experiential knowledge, and intellectual knowledge
In the simplest terms, think of this as the difference between knowing what [the western version of] love is (scribe), understanding it through pop culture and worldy observations… and feeling love. Being in love (warrior).
We usually think of ourselves as having one mind. You’re you. I’m me. We’re each one person.
But if you’ve ever set your keys down and realized you have NO idea where, weren’t sure if you left the iron/stove on, or skipped ahead and lost time because you went into “autopilot” mode during a commute, you should know your mind isn’t so simple.
Sometimes, our “observing” mind takes a back seat entirely. Othertimes, it’s there, but without any power:
- You look back and get angry at yourself for watching TV instead of doing work. In fact, you feel guilty in the moment, but just keep going!
- You rationally KNOW and WANT to exercise more or eat healthier, but when the time comes to make a healthy decision, you just can’t make it happen.
- You know you need to start that big project, but… you will in an hour. Promise.
Most of us can intuitively conclude that something tricky is going on here.
When I first started meditation, I simply followed whatever the guided meditation, book, or instruction I had in front of me.
I had no idea there were different types and categories of meditation, and that they differ significantly in their approach.
If you are working within a tradition – these distinctions and categories may be irrelevant. Learn from a legitimate teaching source completely, and just do it.
But many in the West are cobbling together and learning on their own, and may be conflating two common meditation techniques: concentration (or Samatha) and mindfulness (or insight).