Another 365 Days of Meditation

Some people talk about meditation as if it is some kind of magical, life changing practice but for most of us and certainly for me, it has been both wonderful and frustrating at the same time.

It was tough for me to begin meditating many years ago – we are conditioned by our culture and devices to eliminate all down time so sitting still is simply doesn’t feel natural even it absolutely should – but after originally trying to meditate for a week as an experiment, it stuck and over time became easier – eventually becoming as habitual as brushing my teeth. For several years, I practiced every single day and got to a point where I could sit still for 30-40 minutes each and every day before sunrise (original post 365 Days of Meditation). Oftentimes I would meditate outside in the backyard of my house and literally let my mind get blown away while being present with the birds and animals as they came alive with the sunrise. Somedays I would meditate in the evening as well.

And then, seemingly out of the blue, I randomly lost the ability to meditate at all. At first I was missing a day here and there and then I just stopped entirely. I cannot recall any specific event or trigger, but where once I was able to wake up very early in the morning and be still for a long time, I arrived at a place where I was unwilling or unable to meditate daily or even periodically.

[Side note – There is a Buddhist tale of a conversation between a monk and a student who complains that they don’t have time to meditate for 30 minutes a day, to which the monk exclaimed that in that case they must meditate for an hour a day! Haha. So true.]

Up until this point, meditation had been an integral part of my daily routine, preceding movement, clear thinking, mindful living, giving and creating. Its not like all these things stopped without meditation, but they had certainly seemed to flow naturally from each other.

Meditation provided a sort of grounding and once it was gone, I noticed its absence in many little ways.

For instance, I ended my meditations with the Lord’s Prayer, the Serenity Prayer, a mantra of my values, recognizing blessings and visualizing goals. Without regular meditation I was no longer doing these things regularly.

My mind is also very busy with thoughts competing for attention (unfortunately none of them all that clever 😉 and if nothing else, meditation gave me a way to step back observe myself from afar and get a few minutes of much needed mental rest. A time where thoughts were treated as meaningless and I could simply be.

And then as randomly as I lost my meditation practice, some time later, maybe several months or perhaps even a year, I found it again. My memory is a bit fuzzy on the exact sequence of events, but it was around the time I read the book “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It” in which the author, Kamal Ravikant, describes how saying a simple mantra every day for a few seconds had a life changing positive impact (great book by the way).

I thought to myself dang it, how can I not spend one minute a day meditating? So thats where I started. One minute a day. A few days became a couple of weeks and then a minute a day turned into 5 minutes a day, which turned into 10 and then 15 which is where I am at now.

A little while ago I noticed on the calendar it has been more than 365 days straight since I regained my morning meditation practice. Still not always easy and nowhere near where I was before, but enjoyable and better for me than no practice at all.

There has been no magic other than re-learning how to be still, observing myself or being present in the moment, but these are powerful skills that I a feel fortunate to be re-developing. Or perhaps that is the magic. 365 days and counting.

The only zen you find on a mountain is the zen you bring with you.

Happy trails.


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