In the past year, I have developed the habit of regular meditation.
There are a significant number of benefits to daily meditation. One benefit that is rarely mentioned is that you get to practice “starting again”.
I sometimes find meditation quite frustrating.
I try to keep my attention focussed on my breath. Before I know it, I am thinking about something completely unrelated.
Then, I catch myself thinking, and I have to start again and refocus my attention on my breath.
The important thing is to learn how to do this without frustration. We cannot control our own thoughts, we accept that they sweep across our mind like a wind. We have the same level of control to not think our thoughts than not to see the light that hits our retina.
I find that this practice has much wider implications. It is not only about refocusing attention during meditation. I have lots of habits that I’ve developed over the years that I try to do each day.
Sometimes I forget, sometimes I get busy, sometimes I’m plain lazy.
And yet, each day, each moment, we can start again.
The ability to let go of what has happened in the past, and realize that right now, in this very moment, we can start afresh, is very liberating.
Of course, this requires its own balance, and this cannot be an excuse that we will “start again” tomorrow.
Tomorrow is a dangerous place. It is where ambitions and dreams go to stagnate. While we can plan for the future and think about what we will do, we can only act today. Everyone gets the same 24 hours each day, that’s it.
It is quite incredible to think about this. Everyone, no matter the amazing achievements and skills that they have developed, has managed to do it at the same time that everyone else had available.
So if things have not gone quite to plan, take a deep breath, and start again.