A new year

Some of us have a quite regular meditation practice including sitting, walking, chanting, bowing, or other activities. Many of us struggle with keeping our practice regular, or perhaps we’ve given up the attempt. Since the beginning of the year is often when we consider making changes, one reasonable goal is to commit or re-commit to a daily (or almost daily) practice.

A resolution is a commitment – not just a verbal promise, but a long-term activity that might include a way to measure our success and which leaves space for adjusting or refining what we do to accomplish the goal. With challenges like quitting smoking or drinking, or establishing a regular meditation practice, sometimes we have to start over several times.

When we’ve got an important goal, we look to both external circumstances and internal factors. We may need to re-think our work schedule or living situation. A good living arrangement can be an enormous help and a bad one can be an enormous hindrance. Knowing our own weaknesses, we can build corrective elements into our plan. The most fortunate among us find a support group that provides regular encouragement and feedback on whatever path we’ve chosen. Personal contact is preferable to electronic because it’s harder to ignore. Virtual support is better than none, but established relationships with humans we feel we know usually have more potential.

Another key to creating new habits is to set attainable goals. We could aim to meditate for five days out of every seven, or for a minimum of five or ten minutes per day, every day. We could choose a particular technique for a month and then re-evaluate and perhaps try a different one for the next month until we find the one that suits us best. If our practice is feeling stale, we can experiment with teachings or techniques to present ourselves with new challenges. Perhaps incorporating regular activities that focus on gratitude or generosity could add vigor to our practice.

Some of us take in information best by reading, others by listening or watching. We can find our preferred channels through trial and error.

It’s important to remind ourselves frequently of our commitment. Remembering our goal daily will keep alive our motivation to move in the direction we’ve chosen.

For further ideas on supporting a regular meditation practice, see the blog post by Bodhipaksa listed below. Disclaimer: the courses he recommends are not free, and I can’t vouch for their quality, but the advice in the post itself is useful.  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/8999116/posts/1282585116

 

About lynnjkelly

Australian/American. Practicing Buddhist.
This entry was posted in Causes and results, Mindfulness. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A new year

  1. Sunny says:

    Good advice — realistic and practical — the best kind.

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