In reflecting on my first month of daily meditation, I realized that the morning is not an ideal time for me to meditate. In some ways it fostered procrastination; it became a way to delay starting my work day. I realized that meditation would serve me much better at night when I need to wind down. So, for the second month, I am making a commitment to shut off the TV and computer at 11 PM and meditate every night, Sunday thru Thursday. I plan to continue doing a brief 5-10 minute meditation every morning, but the longer 20-30 minute meditations will be reserved for nighttime. I have carried out this plan three nights in a row and did not even feel tempted to turn the electronics back on when I finished and also went to sleep earlier than usual, so I think I am on the right track.
In the book Real Happiness at Work, Sharon Salzberg describes procrastination as willingly deferring something even though we expect the delay to make things worse. Avoiding what we don’t want to do in favor of something more pleasurable is a common way of dealing with performance anxiety, perfectionism, fear of failure, and/or a history of deprivation. It is also common for people who have attention deficit disorder and other problems with executive functioning skills, such as organizing, prioritizing and perceiving how much time it takes to do things. In Real Happiness, Sharon points out that meditation helps us strengthen and direct our attention through the cultivation of concentration, mindfulness and compassion. Our capacity for focused, stable attention can then be harnessed, so we can sustain and shift our concentration as needed, without giving in to distraction and procrastination.
During the month of February, Sharon Salzberg is inviting people to participate in a 28-Day Meditation Challenge based on practices found in her books: Real Happiness, and Real Happiness at Work. The meditation challenge begins on Saturday February 1. I have made a commitment to participate in this 28-day challenge. I hope you will join me by making your own commitment to 28 days of meditation practice.
For further information on the meditation challenge go to: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/realhappiness/blog. Also, please leave a comment below to let me know if you plan to participate.