For the past 21 days, I have been meditating every morning for 20 minutes. I participated, most likely with thousands of other people, in the Oprah & Deepak Chopra Meditation Challenge. The theme this year was all about success. But it wasn't really about success in the sense of what we think about success being...obtaining, attaining, someplace to get to. The experience and meditations were about how success is part of our intrinsic realm.
Looking back on it, I am not really sure what the driving force was about me doing the 21 day meditation challenge. Of course, this being said from someone who just signed up for a "100 days of making" challenge. I have had a consistent sitting practice for a few years now, and of course, like any relationship it has its ups and downs, peaks and valleys. This morning, as I stood up from my cushion after a windy, monkey mind, all over the place sit, I thought to myself, "Why do I do this?"
I proceeded to make my tea, shower, get ready for work, listen to NPR as I packed my bag for the day and yet, the question that presented itself after my practice continued to nag me. And to be honest with you, I don't have any answer...I don't know anything. But here's what came to mind after almost 14 hours of chewing on it.
I have to acknowledge that my sitting practice has evolved. A lot. It has taken twists and turns, long periods of being broken down on the side of the spiritual road in need of repair and a good cleaning. It has been joyous and blissful and left me in a total state of elation. And most days, it's just almost like being on a long backpacking trip, eating the same breakfast, and in little moments you notice your calves getting stronger, the love handles starting to disappear, and that you are more comfortable being alone and quiet in the woods. It's really the only thing I can compare it to. I am definitely not as hard on myself as I used to be yet there is a soft, unspoken discipline to my practice.
It's like flossing. I know I can't do it twice a year and expect results. Little by little, I keep up with it and notice things (mostly the mind and thoughts) become clearer and cleaner, my reaction time not being so quick when things irk me, and I can take a deeper breath.
My thoughts crack me up. My sitting practice is an opportunity to really see what's there for me in the present moment. Am I concerned about my e-mail inbox? The zit on my face? The judgment around dirty baseboards? Ha! It's all quite amusing, this ticker tape of thoughts. And sitting practice is just that. They are just thoughts...not the truth.
It's not this thing that I love doing by any means. Okay, let the universe strike me down. I said it. I don't really like it all that much. Yet, I so deeply know down to the core of my being and every cell in my body that the reasons for doing it outweigh the reasons for not doing it. I have regular internal banter with my meditation cushion. Every. Single, Morning. "Nahhh, not enough time," or "I really should be getting on my way," or "It will disturb my mate who is sound asleep," which is the biggest cop out there is.
Then I make my way down to the floor. Sitting tall. Lighting a candle. Bowing to my altar. In those 20 minutes, I can just be. I can show up with all my shit, I can be a hot mess or feel like a total loser or I can be in a place where the world feels like its working or have a little chip on my shoulder about something. And whatever is there, is there and it's all totally fine. That's why I sit. That's why.