Focused Living, One Month at a Time

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Challenge #12, June 2012: STILL SITTING STILL


I will meditate for 15 minutes every day (déjà vu, right!)

Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose.
-Eknath Easwaran

Highly recommended reading:  Last month’s entry on this exact same subject, sigh.  I should actually rephrase the challenge:  I will catch up with my incomplete meditation month of May because I really want to get through it - and 30 days worth of meditation over 60 days should still count for something, right?

Here’s the Thing
It wasn’t any damn easier this month, it sadly just wasn’t.  Sitting still and quiet and trying to empty my head of all the extra-busy-lately swirling thoughts (pesky hamsters!) and focus on breath and just letting all kinds of brilliant revelations, epiphanies, and answers to all my worries and wonders appear in my brain DID NOT WORK.  Sooooo I made my peace and abandoned any hope of enlightenment, inner peace, salvation, blah blah blah. I instead used the time (alone, quiet, away from the computer and the smartphone) to do important stuff like:
·      Make a mental list to write down later of all the things I needed to get done that day,
·      Writing email responses in my head,
·      Picturing what the scale would read if I did lose that other 5 lbs. I’ve been meaning to,
·      Trying not to fall asleep,
·      And often, figuring out what I was going to eat for dinner.

Or, I often procrastinated/abandoned the meditating assignment by
·      Folding laundry,
·      Organizing my dresser drawers,
·      Checking Facebook,
·      Cleaning my desktop (either real or on the computer),
·      Or going for a walk (which often produced the same results).

How I (Barely) Got Through It
·      It was uncomfortable to sit in that cross-legged pose, I mean really now.  I just don’t have the stretchability to get there, so I stuck with my improvised pose – sitting on the floor against the couch, knees bent and arms wrapped around them - it was indeed relaxing after I settled into it.
·      I bargained with myself a lot, i.e.:  “if I don’t do 15 minutes today, I will do 30 tomorrow” – which was more than twice as hard to sit still twice as long.  But that is what I ended up doing more often than not, about every other day for 30 minutes straight.
·      Remember last month when I accidentally napped during a horizontal meditation attempt?  I actually closed out the month with my last session today with a nice 35 minute nap, and I am counting it, damn it - there was just no way I was fit in a real meditation session into my jam-packed day, and I needed the rest!
Conclusion:  Although there may be some value to it, I don’t see meditating becoming a long lasting regular habit for me - rather an occasional break.  I do, as I did last month, feel more relaxed and more energized a the same time after this month – less worried about stuff that generally bothers me, and more excited about my work and other projects.  But I don’t know if this is a side effect of the limited meditating I’ve been doing or not.   Does anyone meditate consistently every single day, for 15 minutes or more?

What’s Next
July is gonna be a piece of cake compared to this…well, a piece of cake made without eggs or butter, because I’m going vegan!  Vegetarian has been easy for the past 30 years, but now me and one of my favorite foods (dill havarti, smoked gouda, and bufala mozzarella to name a few) will try to live without each other.  I splurged on a “healthy” serving of gorgonzola tonight to hopefully tide me over until August 1st.  Let’s see how it goes…


  1. 15 minutes sure can seem like a long time. My friend Charity recently told of the success she's had with her fledgling meditation practice of 15 minutes a day by setting a timer... Hmmm. I haven't tried that but I think it's very admirable to commit to 30 days of meditation, or anything for that matter.

    I'm looking forward to hearing what August's 30 challenge will be and perhaps joining in.

  2. Valient and persistent experiment! The closest thing I have to meditation is yoga. The yoga is so intense that it naturally clears my mind and creates a new kind of liberating focus/freedom. You'll love it! P.S. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who finds sitting still to meditate nearly impossible.