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Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

Duration of today’s sit: 60 minutes

Things got very challenging for me early last week. My notion of self became acutely painful. And I “gave up” on my morning sits, even going so far as to hide that fact from my accountability partner. When I get in that sad and hopeless mindset, it’s extremely hard to see the value in sitting. That mindset is a place of despair where no action seems meaningful.

The main motivator for sitting today was the completion of the 100 days. The idea of not sitting on Day 100 was more painful than the thought of sitting.

My plan is to review these notes from the 100 Days over the next week and summarize what I’ve learned, and also choose how I want to continue this practice. I am clear that the practice of sitting is valuable and meaningful to me. This past week showed me that I don’t get anything valuable or meaningful out of not sitting.

One insight I had during today’s sit: There seem to be three dimensions of life experience. There’s the sensory dimension (what I experience through my five senses), the representational dimension (how I represent life to myself in words, images, and other symbols), and the observational dimension (how aware I am of these three dimensions). At any given moment, one of these dimensions will be a person’s primary focus.

For me, it tends to be the representational dimension. And the habits there tend to be self-critical. I see sitting meditation as an opportunity to focus more intentionally on the other two dimensions.

Finally, here’s the graph showing my progress over the course of the 100 days (for a total of 42 hours, 3 minutes of sitting meditation):

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Duration of today’s sit: 40 minutes

I called my friend and accountability partner this morning and thanked him. Both yesterday and today, I’d pretty much talked myself out of getting up at 6:30 to meditate, and the only remaining buttress against the flood of sloth was my phone call to him. Some would see this as a failure in willpower. I see it as a victory in knowing oneself.

Much of the sit today was challenging. My mind was agitated and I found it difficult to concentrate. My ego mind loves to find little insults to get worked up around. Today it was a client who hasn’t paid me. It could just as easily be a friend who I imagine is critical of me in some way. Or some other story of how I’ve been hurt or wronged. Seeing this as a pattern of the mind frees me from the emotional grab of the details.

I had a period of grounded concentration somewhere in the second half of the sit, I would guess. I also explored emptiness of time, with some insight. The next time I meet with my meditation coach, I will ask him to review the instructions for some of the emptiness meditations. I feel a little lost and unclear on how to proceed.

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Duration of today’s sit: 40 minutes

I did not want to sit today. It seemed like I could better use that time for sleeping or working or even just watching mindless television! That’s how lost I can get. Fortunately, I had my accountability partner to call. 🙂

I fell into a relatively concentrated state within five minutes, I’d guess. My staying was continuous and relatively complete for a short while. Then I slipped into a mentally agitated state for a good period, finally settling down again towards the end.

Concentrating felt like work, in a good way. I had the thought, “okay, I’m ready for this to be over,” and a few seconds later, the closing chimes sounded.

Two compassionate insights:

  1. I’ve spent my whole life “practicing” mental agitation and non-presence. It’s okay if it takes a while to break that habit.
  2. The more skillful I get, the greater my awareness of subtle mind activity, so as the mind quiets it may seem like there’s “more” obstacles to concentration, but I’m just seeing more.

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Duration of today’s sit: 30 minutes

This accountability structure I’ve set up to call a friend at 6:30 each morning has created a nice shift. It’s got me making different choices in the evening in order to get to bed by 10. For example, last night I knew I was going to be out until 9:30 or 10 watching my nieces, so I brought my bathroom bag with me so I could brush my teeth and all that jazz at my sister’s house. That way I could go to bed as soon as I got home.

Tonight will be a late night, so it’s going to be interesting to see how I respond when my alarm goes off tomorrow morning.

During my sit today, I recognized that my awareness of the experience is extremely high. From the mind perspective, I observe what my mind is doing, what kinds of patterns it engages in, what emotions that stirs up in the body, etc. I’ve got this awareness thing down!

So, using the teachings from my book Peaceful Productivity Now, today I consciously moved from the practice of awareness to the next practice, acceptance.

It’s interesting to me that I’m on day 51. Clearly, the first half of these 100 days was about awareness. I have learned so much about how my mind constructs my experience of life. It seems fitting that I begin the second half of this experiment with a clear and intentional focus on acceptance.

Whatever happens on the cushion is good. I’ve said this before, but I intend to emphasize it much more from this point forward. Acceptance, especially self-acceptance, is my edge. It’s a challenge. Progress in this area will help me in all aspects of my life, I’m sure.

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