Thirty days ago I committed to Blue Osa’s October Meditation Challenge. The challenge was exactly what it sounds like: meditate every day for thirty days. I’ve always had the desire to develop a personal meditation practice, but I’ve never been able to just buckle down and do it. I knew this month would be exactly as it claimed – a challenge. I even took it a step further, and agreed to chronicle my 30 days and ultimately write about it. I figured it was a way to hold myself accountable.
After much build up to the starting day, I finally got to it. My first day of the challenge I was absolutely determined: I was going to develop a regular and consistent and truly fantastic meditation practice. I woke up that morning knowing this was the day. With my yoga mat under my arm and my journal in hand, I set out to locate the perfect peaceful and inspiring place. Everywhere I went someone or something seemed to be there. I finally settled on a place next to the pool with a view of the lawn, the trees, the macaws and the ocean. I was set!
I began my meditation session that day by journaling. I wrote down what I was thinking and feeling, what my expectations were and so on. When I felt I had nothing left to say, I put the journal down, picked the mala up and took that first step. It went something like this: “Om Mani Padme Hum….Om Mani Padme Hum…Ohhhmmm…wait. Oh!! I’m thinking! Ok, ok. No judgement. Om Mani Padme Hum…Om Mannniii I’m going to have to journal about that. Oh! I did it again! Ugh. Ok. No big deal, just accept the thoughts and come back. Om…” This went on for 45 minutes. I completed all 108 repetitions of my mantra and sat for a brief moment in absolute stillness and peace. I opened my eyes and went right back to the journal to write about my experience. Day one complete!
The second morning I had to practically force myself. I had every excuse in the book. In fact, I found many mornings like this. I also tried meditating in many places and at varying times, the exact opposite of all of the advice I’d been given and research I had done. I meditated in the morning, in the afternoon and twice at night. (Yes, only twice. Let’s just say it was less than successful.) I meditated next to the pool, on the beach, in a plane, next to a river and sitting on my bed. I was less than consistent.
Despite my lack of structure, in 30 short days I did begin to notice a difference. I would love to say that by the end I’d had some extraordinary spiritual experience; I didn’t. I would also love to claim that I did meditate every day for 30 days; I can’t. What I can say though is this: some days meditation was easier, most days it remained difficult. Often times, it felt like a chore. Despite my desire to bring my “monkey mind” to a place of stillness, it continued and continues to wander. The most notable thing for me, however, was while I may not have always wanted to meditate, I was always glad I had.
Today I can say, happily, that I have continued meditating beyond the 30 day challenge and I am in the midst of finding my own meditation practice. Meditation no longer feels like a chore and recently I even find myself looking forward to it. I find myself looking forward to the time alone, sitting in quiet stillness, slowly but steadily calming my mind. These periods of meditation are beginning to provide moments with a truly open heart and open mind. I could not ask for more.