As I mentioned in some previous posts, I’ve gone along with Yoga Journal’s Meditation Revolution: a 28-day program of 10-minutes/day meditation. Enough to establish a habit, they say.

I have learned that it takes me a bit longer than 28 days to establish a habit. šŸ™‚ But almost 28 days of consecutive daily practice, combined with the very powerful ham-sa meditation, were enough for me to get a taste of… how awesome meditation can feel. I have learned that it takes me fewer than 28 days to establish an addiction. šŸ™‚ Once I got to that feel-good place, I want to go back. So that explains why I stuck with it and I keep sitting for about 12 minutes most days.

A friend asked me if I noticed a difference… Well, yes. Here is what it feels like for me, and why I’m sticking with it:

  • After some regular practice, I experience a state of peaceful joy. This pleasant feeling of joy (bliss?) comes out of the blue when I am sitting, and reappears occasionally during the day.
  • I am experiencing a state of calm and detachment. When I meditate and right afterwards, problems seem solvable, without getting too worked up. When I do get worked up, it is easier (faster) to come back to a calm and detached state. A state of mind that knows that this is not a life or death situation, and even if the business office is annoying me, it will all be OK. (It will all be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end :))
  • I sometimes experience a delightful sense of spaciousness. You know that feeling, when you are stressed, that the skull is pressing on the brain, and there’s enormous pressure on the shoulders and chest? Well, this is the opposite. It feels like my skull enlarges and my mind expands into the blue, beyond the limits of my physical body. My eyebrows and forehead relax, and I feel that there is enough space, there is enough time. Feels delightful.
  • Now, these are glimpses that last maybe a few seconds. As my mind works on its own (some days more than others), I am sometimes able to observe trains of thought, but I often I get on them. Luckily, the chime on my meditation timer reminds me to get off at the next train stop and to come back to the breath and the mantra. And then I get a glimpse of the pleasant states described above. And then another train comes. Rinse and repeat. šŸ™‚ I have observed that it is much easier to come back to stillness and joy with the mantra rather than focusing only on the breath as in pure Vipassana.

As I understand it, these are just the initial, superficial stages of meditation. But you know what, I’ll take them. It doesn’t have to be samadhi. šŸ™‚

I am grateful to Sally Kempton for providing gentle guidance through the 28 days. Her book, Meditation for the Love of It, is on my reading list.

If you would like to try this simple and powerful meditation, here is an audio of Sally Kempton guiding you through it. The same technique is described in more detail in the book Meditation and its Practice, which I was sure I reviewed on this blog, but apparently I didn’t.