I haven’t written a lot of blog posts over the past few years but many of those I have posted focused on my meditation practice. So, it’s telling perhaps that in describing my plans and goals for the future, I didn’t mention meditation despite it playing an important role in my daily life. I think it may be because I was writing about hobbies and meditation, as I have written before, is a practice.
Teacher Joseph Goldstein talked about why meditation is not a hobby and why that is important as part of a course I am following in the 10% Happier App. Goldstein reminds us that meditation is more than the practice itself. Its impact is meant to be felt beyond the mat as the lessons we learn in quiet contemplation can change the way we move and live in the world, if we let them. So, the fundamental mantra of “begin again” that we repeat each time we bring our wandering minds back to the breath and the body during meditation is one we can use throughout the day when we are distracted or disturbed. See the anxiety or stress, name it, recognize the pattern that causes unhappiness, and begin again to focus on the present, the now.
The meditation teachers I follow assure me that even the most seasoned practitioners have bad days. The secret is to let it go and…wait for it…begin again. And again. And again. And that’s what it means to practice.