The end of meditation or just the beginning?
Mindful in May, the meditation program I’ve been following for the past month with varying degrees of success, ends this week. Thousands of keen meditators and their friends — maybe including you — have raised precisely $78,746 so far to help bring clean water to some of the world’s poorest areas. What a feat!
That’s not all these focused individuals scattered around the globe have accomplished. They’ve also (I hope) achieved space in their lives. That time they’ve set aside to focus each day on their breath or extend lovingkindness to the world may have either reaffirmed why they practise meditation or, if they’re new to this meditation gig, helped entrench a positive practice in their lives. Isn’t that cool?
But what does one do now that 31 practices have come to an end?
I’ve been asking myself that question this week. I’ve meditated on and off over the years, but my commitments never been that solid. I’ve meditated, relapsed and recommitted more times than I can remember.
Until this May. And what a wonderful experience it’s been.
What benefits have I noticed from having such a regular meditation practice? After meditating of a morning I feel calm. I feel focused. I can hear my breath over my thoughts. As much as I love the smell of coffee, I’ve even been able to step back from my regular morning cup in the past week or so because I don’t want to interrupt that calm. During the day that feeling sticks with me and, when I get angry or upset, I bring my focus back to my breath and everything’s OK.
When I’ve chosen to meditate at night, before I go to sleep, I can separate myself from all of the thoughts and worries and busy-ness of the past day. At times it’s been tough to concentrate on a chosen focus point, but the practice (yes, practice — there’s no perfection in meditation) helps me calm down nonetheless.
Isn’t meditation brilliant? It’s a remarkable relaxation technique. It costs nothing — nada, niente, zilch. Anyone can do it. Plus, it’s great for your health.
So, I’m going to take my previous meditate-relapse-recommit cycle and raise it one. This cycle seems to be a normal process with any life-long project — no one is perfect, after all, and aiming for that doth not a happy person make — but I wonder what would happen if I make meditation a routine? Like brushing my teeth every morning and night? I figure it’s worth a shot, so I’m going to keep meditating daily. Maybe just for 5 minutes, but that’s 5 minutes of space I wouldn’t otherwise have, and tiny steps up a mountain still take you towards the sky.
Want to join me? I so hope you do.
PS If you read this today, May 29, there’s still time to donate to Charity Water, the cause associated with Mindful in May. You can donate until June 15.
And, if you want to get involved in this program next year, keep an eye on the Mindful in May website.