My Second Retreat 2013
first retreat was a great way to be around young, spiritually minded men and
women. Even though I didn’t meditate after the retreat, I still wanted to go
felt an inexplicable draw back to the retreat house environment, and I knew
that I wanted to be around the same people again. I felt guilty that my
motivation seemed more social than spiritual, but looking back, that was
perfectly OK – I had to be around such spiritually driven people to finally
begin my journey.
attended my second retreat, and got even more out of it. This time, I went back
home, meditated every day for a week, and grew so restless with energy that I
tried to meditate again several times, but each time, I'd gain a sudden spurt
of restless energy. Two months after the retreat, I wasn't even trying – I
stopped meditation altogether.
I Really Started to Meditate! Late 2013
10 months after my second retreat, I went through yet another set of personal
and professional crises one after another.
overwhelmed, I finally decided to meditate, but remembering the advice at the
retreat, I channeled my post-meditation restlessness with exercise.
Playing Games With My Mind
of committing to meditating every day for the rest of my life, I decided to
meditate for 30 minutes just once a week for a month, at whatever time I could.
I'd couple every 30-minute meditation with 30 minutes of exercise.
if I'd set a meditation goal for myself and failed to meet it, I'd use my
failure to reprimand myself further and not meditate any further. To work
around my then inability to deal with failure, I set a goal simple enough that
I could be sure I met it.
this time, a friend taught me about the value of having a daily routine. As an
experiment, I tried to begin and end a weekend day with the same routine: 30
minutes of meditation and 30 minutes of exercise in the morning, and 30 minutes
of reading Eknath Easwaran before bed.
did this just once a week, but soon, others around me started to notice a
dramatic change in my behaviors during the week. Strangers commented on how
calm I was. Situations that would have provoked me into rage and fury seemed to
have a weaker hold on me.
Results and More Experiments
I decided to expand my experiment to doing meditation for one whole week if I
could, but if I couldn't, I told myself that was OK too.
time, I meditated three or four times in a week – so I actually could not keep
my week-long streak. Because I'd given myself an OK to fail and to only try my
best, I soldiered on. I decided to experiment again for another week.
after several months of experimentation, I caught myself meditating every day
for a week. Inspired by this success, I wanted to try and extend it one more
week, to see if I could beat my mind's resistance. And I did – soon, I had two
weeks of meditation every day!
one whole month seemed like a lofty challenge, but I was enjoying playing this
game with my mind. After several false starts, setbacks, and pauses, I hit my
one-month mark of meditating continuously.
I still wasn't a regular meditator. After a month, I took a break for weeks,
and then I went back into it. But once I'd meditated for a month, I felt that
I'd tasted something so sweet that I wanted one more taste. I picked up my
meditation habit again, and I went one more month.
I started to meditate every single day. Today, I don’t begin my day without