Today was day one-hundred-and-one for me – that is – days in a row that I have meditated. I have a timer on my phone that I use when I sit down to meditate, and that also keeps track of the number of days I meditate for thirty minutes or longer. The time setting is my doing as thirty minutes feels like a minimum amount to me and something I can always fit into my schedule, though mostly these days I sit for forty-five minutes – and in retreat or at the zen-dō, much longer.
I’m not sure that there’s anything in my life that I have done unfailingly for a streak of a hundred days or more – not even flossing my teeth – so on one level it seems like a big deal to me. On another level, I know meditators who have sat every day for the last twenty years or more – and in that context, one hundred days is nothing. In a month I will be coming up on two years of practicing meditation – another milestone that is both large and small.
As usual, there was nothing particularly special about my meditation this morning – forty-five minutes of attempting to focus on my breath, and my breath alone. My mind played across all the things I am working on, delved into the problem of other people’s expectations, did some self-justifying routines about recent decisions I have made – and got pulled back in to become the breath over and over, for a few seconds at a time.
It’s not magic, this practice. And I don’t have the kind of mind that produces visions or revelatory voices – so mostly it doesn’t even feel insightful. And yet it provokes my curiosity endlessly – glimpses of the mind in its settled state, seconds in which the mind and body integrate to create the relaxation of holism, the occasional glance over the precipice of no-self, and deep feelings of universal love that wash up at the most unexpected moments. This morning practice that I do tints every other aspect of my days as though through a filter which slows down time and reaction instead of refracting light and colour.
And so I am certain that these hundred days will be followed by another hundred, and another. I feel quite sure that this is a lifelong practice, no longer just an experiment to see what it is like. I could be wrong about that of course, but in my current thrall I can’t imagine not getting up and taking my place on the cushion each morning – never sure of what the next breath will bring.