An experiment: 100 consecutive days of meditation.

Meditation has helped me tremendously, but I’m spotty with it, repeatedly climbing on and off the wagon.

This is an attempt to re-establish the habit.

Starting tomorrow, I am responsible to myself for:

  1. Sitting to meditate every day for 100 days
  2. Recording the sit(s) here: duration, quality, anything of note

Let the games begin.


Morning sit: 9:30 am, 40 minutes

This sit went better than expected. Having a clear purpose going in definitely helped. Too often, I sit down to meditate mindlessly, which defeats the point. This is a practice, and like all other practices, the quality of the result is a function of the quality of the practice.

My meditation technique is anapanasati, or mindfulness of breathing. If you’re interested, and do some digging, you’ll find that volumes have been written on the subject. There is surprising breadth and depth involved with the simple act of paying attention to one‘s breathing.

I was focusing my attention on the physical sensations of breathing, particularly around the abdomen. As happens, I got lost in thoughts from time to time, but only once or twice for more than a second or two.

As the sit progressed, a cool, calm, fuzzy feeling enveloped my body. It felt very nice, but I tried to let it be and keep my attention on the sensations of breathing. I found that on certain breaths, where I was able to both relax my mental effort and physical effort on an exhalation, there would arise very pleasant, almost gravitational void around my solar plexus, that seemed to want to suck “me” in. It was strange and exhilarating, and usually disappeared by the time I was in the middle of the next inhalation.

All in all, a good start.

Afternoon sit: 6:25 pm, 32 minutes

This sit was very different in nature. I felt sleepy and unfocused throughout.

I managed to get in a dreamy, feel-good state, but spent most of the sit lost in thought. When I came out of the site, I was sure that the timer was going to be somewhere around 10 minutes, but it was at 32. That was interesting, as the estimation tends to be wrong in the other direction.


Morning sit: 8:23 am, 45 minutes

I sat down, spread some metta, and then placed my attention on the belly breathing sensations.

It took a few minutes to settle in after that, with my mind wandering to various things. I eventually settled on the breath, and the usual feeling of general well-being and ease came along with it.

I’m finding that there are (at least) two kinds of mind-wandering:

  1. The kind where I get completely lost in thoughts and imaginings, such that I’m not aware of the breath anymore.
  2. The kind where I notice thoughts and imaginings, but am also still aware of the movement of breathing.

Towards the end of the sit, urges of restlessness kept accosting me. I was able to notice and let go of the first few waves of these, but eventually succumbed and ended the sit.

This reminds me that I’d like to have a more formal way of both entering and exiting formal sits. Little ritualized habits that I can hook into to help establish mindfulness and attentiveness on my way both into and out of a sit.


Evening sit — 10:10 pm, 21 minutes

A sit is a sit is a sit. True or false?

True in that the purpose is to get a sit in. So a sit done is a sit done. Another day checked off, streak kept alive.

False in that presence is no substitute for quality.

That said, I’ll take presence over quality every day and twice on Sundays.

In other words, I was a little disappointed with this sit. And this day, in terms of meditation.

First, I didn’t wake up early enough to fit in a sit before work. Secondly, while the actual sit I did fit in started out promising, it ended it mind-wandering and a general drowsy vagueness that blotted out any claritiy with which I could pay attention to anything.

I started briefly with metta. And intended to get to some sort of formal resolution and statement of intent, but somehow skipped past that and launched into watching the breath. There were a couple of moments there where I was crystal-clear and just experiencing the sensations of the breath and nothing else.

However, that quickly evaporated, and what was left was drowsiness and muddiness and probably mind-wandering, though I can’t be sure.

So, kind of disappointing.

But also kind of encouraging. Even on a day that didn’t start out as planned, I managed to make myself sit and record the sit. Consistency and continuity. These are the qualities that I’m striving for. I’ll have to keep reminding myself of that, because it’s all too easy to forget.


Evening sit — 10:42 pm, 22 minutes

Another small late night sit.

And the story of it is somewhat similar as well.

Started out with some nice clean feelgood from some simple metta. I resolved to stay with the physical sensations of the breath.

After some initial mind-wandering, I remembered what I had sat down to do, and, well, stopped distracting myself from experiencing the sensations of breathing. I then got drawn in to something very quickly — over the span of maybe 5 or 6 breaths.

It was like a calm pleasantness, but the clarity of my attention was gone. It was like my sense of urgency disappeared, and I couldn’t be bothered one way or the other. All in all, a pleasant situation — there was no distress of any kind, but also nothing that felt like clarity.

At one point, just before I settled into the muddy feelgood, I watched a little battle play out. On one side, I was relaxing, letting go of things and just experiencing what there was to experience. And things were happening as a result (see the descent of the calm pleasantness above). On the other side, like a trick candle, my “thinkingness” kept rushing in trying to make sense of and interpret what was happening. I’d notice that, and in the noticing, relax back into just experiencing. The overall experience would deepen, then the trick candle would catch flame yet again.

That was definitely interesting to observe.

I don’t know what to feel about the muddy pleasantness. It’s not a complete loss of focus — my attention remains more or less on the breath, but the pinpoint clarity is lost, like going from a camera being in focus with a crystal-clear image to everything being fuzzy.

I feel kind of at a loss for how to describe it. And I don’t know if it’s good or bad, whether or not I should be trying to avoid it. Perhaps I’ll ask the question of the internet and see what response I get.


Evening sit — 10:00 pm, 40 minutes

I seem to be getting into a rhythm of evening sits. I would like to get a morning rhythm going as well, but that’s a little harder because:

  1. I tend to sleep well past my alarm
  2. I’m in the habit of “get up and go”-ing to work in the morning

I work remotely, so the latter shouldn’t be a big deal, but I like to get started at a reasonably consistent time in the morning, which is harder when (1) happens and I don’t wake up early enough.

As for tonight’s sit: started with metta + intention to stay with the sensation of the breath for the duration of the sit. I’m enjoying the reasonably instant drop into feelgood when I start the metta — it’s just for a minute or two, but I get to a very comfortable, smiley place very quickly.

The sit itself played out similarly to yesterday’s, but with less muddiness and more mind-wandering.

For the most part, I’d notice and acknowledge the mind-wandering pretty quickly after it started. That said, there was quite a lot of mind-wandering.

On occasion was interesting: a thought (around work) rose up, and when I “noticed” it, it had a very clear location, in the front of my head. Upon noticing it, it vanished with a “whoosh” and an expansion from the front to the back of my head, and on vanishing, I felt thoughtless and weightless, if only for a moment. I felt very “in the moment” with my experience of breathing.

I was a little surprised on exiting the sit to see that 40 minutes had elapsed. It definitely felt like less.


Evening sit — 10:10 pm, 28 minutes

I was in a cranky, irritable mood, all afternoon/evening long. And it really started to ramp up just before my sit. I was in conversation with my mother and found myself getting very annoyed and upset.

I noticed it even during our conversation, and was trying to pay attention to the actual feeling of being irritated, to see if looking straight at it helped at all with mitigating it. At least at that time, it did not.

But I don’t seem to be annoyed at the moment, so maybe the meditating helped? I do, however, still feel a little edgy/jumpy. So maybe it didn’t?

Who knows.

The metta at the beginning of the sit is continuing to feel very effective. My mind was spinning coming in to the sit, and no sooner had I started metta than my mind became pretty still. It definitely gets to the Focus starting line very quickly.

In addition to the feelgood, there was a roomy and spacious vibe to it today. Like it was growing from the inside out. And accompanied by the crossed-eyes bit, which is somehow both uncomfortable and comfortable simultaneously.

As for the rest of the sit — the full-on, lose-track-of-everything mind-wandering aren’t happening quite so often, but there are definitely lots of minor jaunts, where I catch myself without losing the thread of the breath.

There are also what I’m going to call blind spots. Basically, patterns of thought and/or mind that I don’t notice. Today, for example, I realized that I was visualizing the fluxing of my breath as the flusing of a blue pipe-y balloon (like the clowns use for balloon animals). That was just happening, and I had no idea, until suddenly I did.

I’m guessing that starting to become aware of these kinds of mental activity is like starting to become aware of the tip of an iceberg. That’s both kind of exciting and more than a little scary.


Evening sit — 11:11 pm, 25 minutes

Again, the immediate feelgood on initial metta.

Again, a promising start. I even had (and noticed) the thought: “I’m going to get to write down that I had a really good sit”.

And again, some muddiness. I’m beginning to wonder if that isn’t just a function of the focus and keeping the attention sustained on something. The sort of wide-aperture lens feeling.

But then again, even while being aware of the breath, I was also aware of many thoughts that flashed by. I suppose it says something that I’m noticing those, so I won’t throw the hat in yet. 93 more days to go, at any rate.

7 days! I’ve made it a whole week, with no misses. Perhaps starting tomorrow (Saturday), I can start adding mornings back into the mix.


Evening sit — 10:14 pm, 50 minutes

So today is Saturday, and I was hoping to get a morning sit in. That didn’t happen.

I’ll get there eventually. Or maybe I won’t. Cross-multiply that with: maybe it matters, maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know.

I thought I would try for a “strong determination” sit — instead of just ending the sit whenever it feels natural, the idea is to resolve to sit, unmoving and unbroken (i.e. no shifting around and no peeking) for a certain period of time.

I chose 1 hour. It wasn’t an excessively long amount of time, but as you can see, I didn’t quite make it.

That’s ok, I’ll get there next time.

I had some kundalini-style effects. I’ve had them before on meditation retreats, and they’re always interesting. My body will start to move involuntarily, in a variety of ways, stretching and twisting and violently bellowing air. It’s an interesting process to observe, because I have nothing to do with it. It’s just happening.

I invariably feel lighter and looser afterwards, and today was no exception.

Add to that the following facts, and that leaves me content with the day’s sit:

So that’s that. Looking forward to what comes next.