The benefits of mediation is in the long game. I can agree with that. You can’t meditate once for an hour an be Buddha, and you won’t be able to bend spoons with your mind just because you are sitting in a cross legged position. You do it often successively over long periods of time, and you’ll start finding yourself sleeping better, being calmer, not reacting as strongly to problems and obstacles. And a general well being starts flowing through your body.
Meditation is great and it’s become more popularized lately. It’s a tradition over 4000 years old, and now people everywhere who read one book or meditated for a month are telling you exactly how to approach it, and how IT WILL ALL FAIL if you don’t do it exactly “this way”.
“You have to sit cross legged, otherwise you are not respecting the tradition”
“You have to still your mind, and not think about ANYTHING.”
“You’re eyes have to pop into the back of your head, otherwise you are not truly in a meditative state.”
But most common and most discouraging is: “You have to do it every day, otherwise it doesn’t work.”
Missing one day
This misconceptions has made me fail many times. With failing I mean completely fall out of my meditation habit, just because I missed once. “Fuck I lost it.” I think and I just don’t meditate the next day either. This is because it’s not fun to keep doing something when you know you’re doing it wrong. It’s the same reason people stop exercising if they miss one of their gym days.
Now, stop for a minute and think about this. Try to think as rationally about this as you possibly can. Ask yourself: Is it really that bad if I miss one day?
Also: Is breaking a streak exponentially hurting my long term progress?
There’s a chance many scientific articles would argue that yes, the psychological cons of letting yourself think it’s ok to miss a day is detrimental for your progress in the long run. That is why if you miss one day, you are more likely to miss the next and so on so on so on so on….
It makes sense, but isn’t arguments like that in themselves the reason we get discouraged?
Introducing James Clear
James Clear is the author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. I have to admit I haven’t read the book (yet), but his messages keeps popping up everywhere.
The one lesson that’s really stuck with me is his rule of don’t miss twice. The idea is that we are all human and we will miss a day eventually when trying to stick to a habit. There is scientific evidence that missing a habit one day won’t affect your future execution of that habit in any way at all.
So as a general rule, Clear tries to “not get two X’s in his calendar in a row. That simply means not missing a habit twice. Ever since I started to follow this rule, I’ve been kinder to myself for missing habits.
At some point, life will come and slap you in the face, and your close relative will get bad news and your dog will die. It is hard to meditate then. But that’s no reason to stop your streak of three months. You go at it the next day.
Don’t miss meditation twice
Meditation is supposed to be peaceful. You should feel invigorated and in harmony with yourself after sitting. There is no point at all if meditation is just ticking a box off a to do list for you.
Meditate when you have a bit of extra time in the morning or evening or want to get away for a short break at work.
I would suggest to not schedule your meditation. Do it when you need it, when you feel like it.
Of course, if you never feel like you have the time or feel like doing it, I would probably suggest being a little bit harder on yourself in the beginning, at least until you’re starting to feel the benefits.
But don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t do it every day.
Read: 5 Pillars of a Good Life
This article was originally posted on www.stillstupid.blog