The best decision I made in 2020 was to meditate every day starting on January 1st. I kept a small journal by my bed and before going to sleep, I placed an “M” next to the date with a checkmark. Eventually, because it felt so good to steep in the silence, I added a session or two now and then and began writing down how many times I meditated that day and for how long.
Looking back, I have no doubt that the simple act of keeping track of this practice in a journal increased my chances of success. I looked forward to marking off my accomplishment at the end of the day. It felt good to see progress. And because I didn’t want to break a promise to myself by missing a day, tracking helped me stay accountable to the commitment.
Over time, I started tracking a few other things – what I did for exercise, for fun, work projects completed, and the moments of beauty I encountered during the day. It took me all of five minutes to do this at night and it was fueled by kindness and ease, not pressure and expectation. If I didn’t exercise, for example, I didn’t beat myself up, I just noted a day of rest and moved on to the next twenty-four hours.
It’s funny how the simplest things can offer the greatest rewards. I encourage you to give tracking a chance to work for you in 2021.
The biggest accomplished goal was daily meditation and it’s been a huge blessing so I plan to continue. A mere ten minutes a day can get you started with claiming dominion over your inner state regardless of what’s happening in the outer world.
As Pema Chodron says, “You are the sky, everything else is just the weather.”
Meditation keeps you tethered to the sky!
Here’s what else it does…
It shows you that a meaningful life is determined by the quality of your presence, not your thinking.
It separates you (the Self) from your mind making it easier to stop bothering yourself with scary, uncomfortable thoughts.
It fosters patience and self-acceptance, especially when you give up fighting with your noisy mind and simply observe it instead.
It teaches you to trust yourself which builds confidence and inner strength. After all, when you become a master of your mind (an ongoing process, by the way), you can rely on yourself to unhook from the things that trigger you.
You learn to catch yourself before your thoughts take you down the drain.
Over time, you get to experience deep peace and much-needed rest from the outer world.
And finally, a regular meditation practice makes you a less reactive person to be around.
Joy and ease. Kindness and compassion. These are the intentions I wrap around my plans as we head into 2021. Life is always better with love as a guiding principle.
Happy New Year to you as we embark on 2021. May you stay firmly fixed to the sky.