When I first started meditating, it felt great.
I’d had a little instruction and I started sitting at home, alone, every morning.
With that, I was leaving for work every day with a state of calm and bliss, and my days were simply going much better.
Knowing what’s good for you, like meditation
And, I knew that my initial enthusiasm would eventually subside.
However important meditation was for me by then, I just didn’t believe I’d keep it up unless I took steps to move it forward. I’d start skipping a day, then a few days at a time, and before long stop altogether. And I’d be kicking myself in a year, or ten years, for letting it drop completely.
And because I knew it mattered so much, I took a leap of faith:
I booked my first retreat – a 20-day retreat, several months away – so that I’d have this commitment, even if I stopped meditating at home in the meantime.
Several months later
By a few weeks before the retreat, I had indeed pretty much stopped meditating. When I arrived in Thailand, however, the teacher was impressed at my progress, and I can honestly say it was life changing.
What I learned from this is that it’s not about being perfect- it’s about doing what you have to, to set yourself up for success. I knew myself. From previous experience, I knew that I’d probably stop meditating. So I did something about it, something to support the aspiration.
For the same reason, when I came back from Thailand I looked for a group to meditate with. Unfortunately, the first group I found didn’t resonate with me. I kept looking though, and that’s when a well-timed coincidence brought me into contact with my current lineage and teachers.
Your historical example
The Buddha didn’t do it alone, after all.
When he left the comfort of his wealthy family home on the path to awakening, Siddhārtha Gautama didn’t go straight to the Bodhi tree and figure it all out for himself. No, he found teachers who took him as far as they could.
He found community to practice with.
It’s not about getting others to do it for you, of course. It’s about plugging in to a lineage, collective learning, the forward movement of others on the same path.
And learning to set up a container for your practice.
What’s your path?
They say everyone needs to hear about the teachings from someone.
For me, it was a childhood friend who discovered meditation in New Zealand, and eventually traveled to Thailand to become a monk.
I’m grateful for his introduction and instruction that got me going. Now our stories have gone different ways.
What is your path? Where did your journey start and where are you going?
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