Repetition Works

I did the same two guided meditations for a year.

I learned to meditate through the self-help book The Mindful Way Through Depression. This describes the 8 week MBCT program which I recommend to everyone who asks how to get started in meditation.

A few weeks into the program, I was doing mindfulness of the breath in the morning and the body scan in the evening. It was working very well for me and I decided to stay at this level for a bit longer. I never got back to reading the rest of the book. So I continued with the same two guided meditations for over a year.

In that first year of meditation, mindfulness really took hold as a quality of mind. There was no point at which I thought I had enough and didn’t want more. The mental freedom of having the quality of mindfulness available kept growing week after week.

The scope of situations when I could be mindful expanded to cover more patterns of thinking and ever more intense emotions. It also included more types of activities including walking, doing chores and talking to people.

Even when the mind felt stable and positive, I could see that the mindfulness didn’t remain static. It was in its nature to look further and learn more. Each level of improvement was a platform for further gains.

In that first year I was excited by the new experiences. I know now that sometimes a practice can plateau and get a bit stale. We can prevent this by choosing to remain curious about our experience, while also being patient about the pace at which change sometimes comes.