Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tomorrow begins the Commit to Sit Challenge. I almost wrote “my Commit to Sit Challenge” but it is really not mine; it is ours, a challenge we are doing together.

One person I know who will be doing it is going to practice mindfulness, moving about her routine without allowing herself to lose focus.  You know how you can be heading somewhere you go often, even driving yourself, and you realize all of a sudden that your thoughts were elsewhere and you’re near your destination although you don’t remember how you go there?  Or how about being in one room and thinking you need to go do something in the other room but when you get there you’re not sure why you wanted to be there?

It is so easy not to be mindful.

Another person is going to do a metta meditation practice focusing on only the first stage of the practice.  Sharon Salzberg, in her book Lovingkindness, describes immersing herself in the metta meditation practice and spending six months saying only “May I live in safety, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.”  Imagine six months of never moving into “May you be” let alone “May he be” “May they be” “May we all be.”  But focusing on yourself like that is bound to bring up resistance and no doubt that is precisely the reason the metta meditation begins as it does–on the self.

It is so easy not to be self-compassionate.

Another person, who has many demands on her time, will be practicing in her own way, meditating as she can and using the longer practices prescribed in the article (later in the challenge) to explore herself through artistic expression–specifically collage.  Another person may be (I haven’t confirmed) doing a deeper yoga practice, exploring her spirituality through her physical body.

It is so easy not to make time for one’s self.

So what, you may be wondering, will I be doing?  I was waffling between three choices:

  1. Doing the practice as described in the article without variation.
  2. Doing the metta meditation to develop my own self-compassion.
  3. Doing a daily Reiki meditation to take my practice to the next level.

I knew I would have to make a choice by tomorrow morning at the absolute latest but my choice was made for me on Monday.  If you’ve read about how I came to Reiki then you know there were some odd coincidences that finally brought me to exploring it and being attuned.  On Monday a family friend sent me some information about a sangha (meditation group) she’s created that meets both in her home and beyond.  On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone meets at the same time, whether in her home or in their own, and sits in silent meditation for 20 minutes.

About two years ago I would do a distance Reiki meditation every Wednesday evening and I realized that here I was being invited to meditate on the same day of the week I used to practice Reiki regularly.  And had I learned about this monthly meditation a month ago or a month later, the timing wouldn’t have been so apropos because there I was, undecided about what I would do or how I would do it when this reminder, this gentle nudge, came my way.

And after what happened the last time I was being nudged by Reiki, I didn’t really want to wait until the third time came along.

How will I do this?

I already have a few ideas in place, since I made the decision a few days ago and have had time to ponder the logistics of it all.
One, I want to memorize the Reiki Principles.  Dr Usui recommended that a Reiki practitioner repeat the Five Reiki Principles three times in the morning and three times in the evening.  Because the Commit to Sit Challenge divides the practice into a morning and evening session, I will begin each practice by repeating the principles.
Two, I will give myself Reiki every day.  I honestly don’t know why I do not do this already.  I know that when I do it I feel better.  But, as I said before, it’s not easy to be self-compassionate or to do something for yourself even when you are aware of the benefits.
Three, I will send distance Reiki to those who request it and to family and friends who need it.  It is not unusual, from my experience, to have one of the dogs come to me while I’m doing Reiki and push themselves into my hands.  (Romanov is more gentle about doing this but more pushy than is typical for him.)
Four, I want to also practice the Reiki symbols which I have been unable to memorize.  Two of them came quite easily but there are three others with which I continue to struggle.  On those days when a walking meditation or longer meditation practice is called for, I will be practicing the symbols in silence, meditating on the mantra associated with each.
Five, I have a Reiki book which I have not yet read and another I would like to reread so they may also be a part of the Commit to Sit Challenge if only as a support and encouragement between sessions.  
Because we will be starting on a Friday, it makes sense to me to recommend that the “Weekend Challenge” be postponed until the following weekend because these typically are longer practices, meant to stretch you beyond the weekly one.  But until we have the weekly one in place, it doesn’t make sense to stretch beyond it.  Of course, if you feel up to doing the weekend challenge on the 2nd or 3rd, don’t hesitate.  Frankly, I probably won’t do it but I may double up the following weekend and do both the first and second weekend challenge on the 9th and 10th.

So there you are.  You now know what my commitment shall be and I am now trusting you all to hold me accountable.


  1. Hi Satia - I stumbled on this as I was looking at the list of blogs you manage this morning, and the very first paragraph got to me. I tried to learn how to sit several years ago and failed fantastically. The biggest failure was that I gave up. And I'm so not mindful in my daily life, except for the occasional breath when I realize I'm not actually breathing. This is such a good nudge to look again at the whole idea of mindfulness and I appreciate how you've written about it here. Those of us who don't practice are offered a way in. Thank you!

  2. I am excited that people will be doing it in ways that they most need. I just heard from the friend whom I thought might journal and she was on her way out to buy a blank book. I think this could be a magical experience.