With the start of December (and 5 days after the start of Advent) I thought I would kick off another 21 day challenge. As a reminder a 21 day challenge is a way for me to try to build new habits in my life. My first challenge back in the summer was to drink 1 gallon of water a day. This was a great habit which I have kept for the most part and has had a tremendous impact on my life. Then in October I tried to implement a Whole30 style diet (essentially cutting our dairy, grains and sugars). This was more challenging and I only lasted 9 days. I did not see that big of an impact on my life but my wife stuck to it and has seen a big change in the way she feels.
My December challenge will be to spend 10 minutes a day in meditation.
Meditation has become increasingly popular recently with the rise of apps like Headspace and Simple Habit. I am really glad that more and more people are catching the meditation bug. I have been practicing meditation for the past 15 years or so of my life and I can honestly say that it has made a huge impact on my life when I do it consistently.
Join the 21 Day Mediation challenge by following along on Instagram Story and SnapChat and post where you meditated today.
I also wanted to share a brief introduction to mediation:
1. Why Meditate
Mediation is a great way for people to become more mindful, focused and predispose themselves for an encounter with God (prayer). Rates of depression and anxiety are on the rise in the US and meditation has been suggested as a remedy. It is no surprise that in such a noise world, that a few minutes spent in silent reflection can have a huge impact on your life. I will speak to meditation from the point of view of a person with faith. But even for someone who does not believe or has no religious affiliation, meditation can be a very powerful technique in your life.
2. What is Mediation
Meditation is an activity that allows you to focus or be mindful. This focus or mindfulness may be useful in and of itself for relaxing and clearing you mind or it may be useful to help you develop a habit of prayer and communication with God. There are many forms of meditation out there but the popular ones are the techniques that focus on mindfulness and being present (Headspace and Simple Habit are like these). I have practiced a technique born out of the Catholic faith tradition called discursive meditation and contemplation. These are forms of meditation that are also forms of prayer. I will normally spend my mediation time in one of three ways. The first and simplest is to focus on the reality that I am in God’s presence. That’s it. I could spend a long time just on that. The second is to take a passage from the Bible and put myself in the scene and discover all of the details of being there. The final might include a version of the first two combined with a conversation with God. The key to any form of meditation is building the habit of focus. Focusing on being present, being in God present or in a scene that can help you to assimilate virtues.
3. How Do you Mediate
You can download one of the apps if you have never meditated before or you can follow these steps that I use here:
i. Find a quite location where you can sit in peace.
ii. Take a few moments to clear your mind (breath, focus on your posture)
iii. Begin by being thankful for all that you have in your life.
iv. Place yourself in the presence of God or just recognize the fact that you are present to your self (feel your breathing, your feet on the ground, your hands).
v. Sit for a moment in his presence or just being present to you.
There are many more things you can do with mediation but I will leave that for now as it is a great start. At first glance it may seem that 10 minutes is not a lot of time but it is actually very challenging for most be to stay focused for a few minutes without distraction. With time it gets easier but meditation and prayer will always be a challenge for us that live in a noisy world. I invite you to join me on this journey of 21 days to become a better version of yourself.