Here comes my final update on the 30 Day Meditation Challenge. I don't know exactly how to summarise it: it has been both a failure and a success.
Contradictory, isn't it? I prefer to think that it is a Zen-like result for a Zen-like endeavour. The middle way (the Zen way), neither a success nor a failure was to be expected.
After my first update I decided to try mindful breathing, in addition to daily meditation. Mindful breathing is in some sense a requirement for meditation, you use your breathing as the focus of your attention. When applying it, you spread your expiration while you press slightly your abdominal muscles towards your intestine (at least this is the way Master Taisen Deshimaru puts it in La Pratique du Zen).
The week when I was doing mindful breathing together with daily meditation has been, in retrospect, one of my most fruitful weeks ever. And since then, my mindful breathing practice always feels like 'a good thing'. So far a success.
As that week ended, I started to feel slightly sick. A couple of days of sweating in my office joined by late night train catching meant I was going from pretty hot (and sweaty) to January cold, and this has been a very cold month for Barcelona. A cold was preparing on Friday, and the next Monday it was joined by sinusitis. This is the point where I had to stop both practices, as my breathing wasn't in an optimal condition. Only since my birthday (3rd of February) I was able to breathe close to normal.
This means that out of 31 days, I didn't meditate for more than 11, meaning this challenge was a failure. On the other hand, I will keep with the practice as often as I can and as devoted as I can. You should come to mindful meditation (or Zen meditation) without any expectations, according to the usual introductory texts (cf. Zen mind, beginner's mind and Questions to a Zen Master). Sadly I know that it is beneficial to my general state, and will do it because it feels well. Enlightenment can come later.
From now on, all my meditation updates, mindful posts and general Zen advice will be posted in a brand new blog that you can discover right now, 100 per Zen. So far it is quite empty, but slowly will begin to get filled of nonsense, wisdom and tips. My goal is to leave only the two last type of content, but I will need your help!
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