A Year of Meditation

screen shot of meditation tracker statistics

The stats from Insight Meditation Timer give a little motivation.

This past year, I’ve meditated every day. First thing in the morning, for 5 to 16 minutes, I sit with hands on knees. I breathe.

I’m sure that meditation and mindfulness top many lists of resolutions for 2018. So I figured for my last post of the year, I would share a little of my journey.

This turned out to be a good year for grounding in meditation. I had barely turned the first page of the 2017 calendar when I closed on my first home. I was a homeowner! Two days later, my boyfriend David proposed. Seven months after that, we got married. Now we’re celebrating our first holiday season as partners.

Somewhere in there, we both moved into the new place, David planned a wedding and found a new job, and I hurtled through a demanding semester.

What I learned

Something I read over and over is to come back to the breath. Another one is to erase the word “wrong” from your meditation vocabulary. You may struggle, you may notice things, you may learn. But there’s no wrong way to meditate.

A natural addition to that last rule: Don’t beat yourself up. Truth be told, I missed a handful of days. I would get on a roll with 20, 30, or 90 days straight and then I would miss one. I had to let go of the string and pick up a new one.

For newbies or intermediates, try this rich, practical source of guidance: FAQs from teacher Tara Brach.

Websites and apps

Here are a few I tried and liked.

Tarabrach.com – Website of teacher Tara Brach. She is the first source I used for my early guided meditations (sessions with a voice and/or music guiding you through a meditation). The website offers guided meditations, mindfulness resources, a calendar of events (most in the DC area), and more. Free. Donations encouraged.

Insight Timer – This is what I used to track how long I had meditated and geek out on stats. App with guided meditations, adjustable timer that tracks your meditation data, and discussion groups. Free. Donations encouraged.

Headspace – A friend recommended this and I went through two of its programs. It’s an app with sets of 10- to 30-day guided meditations, plus one-off rescue sessions for anxiety, focus, and so on. Cute videos, too. First 10 days free, paid after that (currently on sale).

If you want to add “oms” to your 2018, I hope this proves helpful. If this made you think of your own journey, feel free to share by email.

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