Here is my first update on the 30 day meditation challenge. How can I summarise how it has been? Empty!
I have been meditating almost daily. So far, I have missed 3 days (assuming I do my meditation today, but I will!). All of them where caused by the same problem. The problem? I have not set myself a fixed meditatioon time, and do it whenever I can. In the morning after waking up would be ideal... If it weren't for my cat. When I get up he starts following me, and as soon as I get behind a closed door he starts meowing desperately. Thus, I can't meditate before breakfast (my girlfriend sleeps while I'm meditating and our cat could wake her up). And at night, I usually defer it until it is too late and I am just almost asleep. This is why I skipped: forgot that I had not done it until it was too late, and the following morning I had to get up early.
I can't really say meditating has improved my attention or mental clarity, yet. I feel slightly more focused, but I don't know if it has something to do with it or not. There are still days to go to make it 30, and as Chris W. pointed out in a comment to my initial post, the effects may take another month to be noticeable.
What have I found out?
Breathe quietly, and keep your mind in your breath. These are a few common suggestions I have tried and found effective:
- Concentrate on your belly as you breathe
- Concentrate on your nostrils as you breathe
Master Deshimaru, in Questions to a Zen Master suggests that the only point you should concentrate on is your posture. Respiration is important but should come naturally. I'll try to follow this from now on.
And with respect to posture, I do my meditation sitting in a flat cushion (not a real zafu, just a normal square cushion that works well), cross legged. So far I can't sit full lotus, not even half-lotus. Moreover, I have slight hip problems that (probably) discourage this positions, but adding a little flexibility may help. I will try the following days to go from cross-legged to half-lotus.
These are my observations so far. More to come in (at most) two weeks.
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