#40daystoliberate: Meditation challenge



Starting February 19

I've been inspired to make a change toward liberation. I want to deepen my meditation practice because that is the single best way I know to free my mind. And what else is Passover about, besides liberation? 
We learn in Torah that Moshe went up the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. Forty is an important number in Torah. Think Flood. After 40, everything changes.
Therefore, I want to invite you to take this challenge with me leading up to Passover: 40 days, 10 minutes a day. All you need to do to join is (1) download the Insight Timer; (2) go to the groups section, and search "Asiyah"; (3) Click to join, and you're all set!
Start sitting—using the timer and the tips below—and post to the group when you like. Check the group regularly for notes from me and your peers. If you sat without the timer, there is a way to add your sit to make it "count" in the app (you know, for the streak).

Some tips

If you’ve never tried meditation, it might seem intimidating to start. The reality is that nothing could be easier than sitting and breathing. The most daunting aspect is being with your mind, which is the whole point!

Here is a little bit of scaffolding and a basic meditation technique to get you started. I am always happy to talk one-on-one about your practice as it goes along, and we’ll also have the group within the Insight app to swap experiences.

Even if you have some experience meditating, getting to the chair/cushion can be the hardest part! Here are some suggestions for overcoming this hurdle: 

  1. Show up. Don’t overthink it. 
  2. Commit. It seems totally reasonable to think in flexible terms, but this gives the mind ways out! I put it in my to-do list every day, and think of it as a one-day commitment. Every day, I commit to sitting that day.
  3. Set a timer. Having a timer set with an ending bell helps you experience a taste of eternity, even if only for 10 minutes. Not having one just adds a question to my already racing mind: have I gone long enough? Too long
  4. Be consistent. The easiest times are at the beginning or end of the day, but if you have a consistent break in your day, do it then! NOT being consistent leads to “I’ll do it later,” which (for me, at least) leads to “Oops, I forgot.”
  5. Create a ritual. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. For me, it’s turning down the lights in the room; setting my cushion in the same spot on the couch, with a blanket over my legs when it’s cold; and setting my phone (in do-not-disturb mode) down next to me. For you, maybe it’s lighting a candle or some incense. Feel free to add anything that makes you happy—just avoid making it too complex.
  6. Be kind to yourself. This is key! 

Congratulations! You made it onto the chair or cushion! Now what?

  1. Sit comfortably. 
  2. Close your eyes. 
  3. Notice your breath, which is always happening. Don't interfere.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. 
  5. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath, but be gentle with yourself! You can thank the mind for its gifts, then let the thought go.