I originally stumbled upon this challenge on Twitter from @Naval. I thought it was an interesting idea. So why not give it a go?
History with meditation: For the past six months, I have meditated on and off. In the past two months, I have consistently completed two sessions of approximately 15-20 minutes (one AM, one PM). This is my first time consistently meditating for an hour.
Method: Meditate for 60 minutes straight every day for the next 60 days. No phone. No apps. Let thoughts run through you. All sessions are done after waking up (unless otherwise noted). Using this timer (not an affiliate link).
Day 1 (5/17) – Checked the timer with 10 minutes to go. Scrambled thoughts.
Day 2 (5/18) – Many thoughts running around but less cluttered than the previous day. Had the urge to check the timer for the last 15 minutes (“is the battery dead?”, “isn’t this over yet?”) but resisted. I had the idea to create an Experiments page on the site.
Day 3 (5/19) – I was surprised when the timer went off. I wasn’t thinking about clock or time. Slightly restless in beginning. Some random thoughts: My brain seeks to place a label on everything I do so that when I am doing an activity, it can pull up the appropriate file. This works (and is useful) for most activities. But meditating is not one. For example, I thought of this post while I was meditating. Also, why do birds chirp?
Day 4 (5/20) – Switched between legs straight out and a more traditional cross-legged pose. The mind is a recency machine. Thoughts populate based on how long ago they happened. No thoughts of random events that happened two weeks ago, but many random thoughts about what happened yesterday. Also, others annoyed me (in real life and in a dream)… Not sure of the root cause, but at least I was able to recognize it. Progress, nonetheless.
Day 5 (5/21) – Reminded myself to surrender to the circumstances. Accept life’s gifts. A 60-minute meditation session is a gift. Internal chatter about how I want to share more of myself, my story on this blog. How I want to be open and honest about highs and lows.
Day 6 (5/22) – Did not worry about the time like I did the first few days. Thought: Does your body affect your mind? Specifically, does how you position your body affect what thoughts come up? Noticed mind was clearer in certain positions (lotus position, feet on ground) than others (legs stretched out).
Day 7 (5/23) – Woke up at 5 a.m. Did some quick yoga. Then sat down in the chair. Felt calm, relaxed. Not many thoughts on the actual meditation. After session was completed, I listened to my body, and went back to sleep.
Day 8 (5/24) – Again, the clock beeped and I was surprised. Whenever I thought about the time (once or twice), I simply reminded myself to “let go.”
Day 9 (5/25) – Many “I” thoughts. When you are thinking of “I”, it’s likely you’re grounding yourself in the past or future. Never in the present moment. It’s interesting how quickly we can adapt to something “difficult.” I feel much calmer than Days 1/2. Able to sit with my thoughts. Major improvement.
Day 10 (5/26) – Travelled yesterday so meditating in new environment for first time. Had the urge to check the time left on the clock a couple of times but was able to just remind myself to let go. Noticed before session: was anxious about everything I had to do today. After session: calm and relaxed.
Day 11 (5/27) – Confused how I ever existed without meditation. Prior to this session (upon waking up) it was incredibly noisy in my head. Then, after maybe the halfway point, an unbelievable calmness spread about me. I don’t want to make it sound magical. I just had fewer thoughts in my brain. This then allows me to complete tasks with more presence.
Day 12 (5/28) – Did this session before bed at night due to travel. Cloudy thoughts led to light led to more cloudy thoughts led to more light. A good metaphor for life?
Day 13 (5/29) – Noticed I woke up calmer than usual. Did this session in the morning. Interrupted by unavoidable noise. A good reminder that the circumstances won’t always be perfect. Often the external factors are outside of your control. Just focus on you.
Day 14 (5/30) – The urge to check the time hasn’t gone away, I’ve simply gotten better at managing my response to the urge. This has translated to other areas of my life.
Day 15 (5/31) – Good session – was mainly clearheaded. Thoughts from high school came up (~10 years ago). Feel like this process is forcing me to run through many thoughts. Not that I thought I was suppressing anything, but it’s airing out all the areas and topics of mind I had previously never considered. It’s become quite fun.
Day 16 (6/1) – Nothing to report.
Day 17 (6/2) – Two big themes kept popping up over and over again: (1) How grateful I was to be able to see (vision dictates our whole world; when you lose it for one hour, it makes you appreciate it even more). (2) You need to inspire yourself to set big goals and achieve them (run a marathon, do 75 HARD, build a habit that you’ll be proud of a year from now; when you achieve whatever you set out it will inspire you even more).
Day 18 (6/3) – Went into a trance-like state towards the end of this session. Was not napping but also wasn’t awake. Thought about how there was once a time when meditation was a chore, now its a reward. Progress.
Day 19 (6/4) – No notes to report.
Day 20 (6/5) – Did this session at night. Weirdest one yet. Thought about death. Then somewhere around the halfway mark, felt disconnected from my body. It was an incredible sensation, but the more I tried to hold on to this feeling, the further away it went. Lost sense of time and place. Rain started pouring down.
Day 21 (6/6) – Was slightly antsy during this session. Outside noise came in, but it was nice to remind myself that the noise will always get in. It’s your reaction to that noise that matters.
Day 22 (6/7) – The thoughts today were a direct result of the past 24 hours. How many thoughts do we have today that are only the result of yesterday’s conversations/actions/decisions?
Day 23 (6/8) – So many stories. We get involved with so many stories. This is a natural part of living but these sessions give me awareness to some of the stories I am involved in.
Day 24 (6/9) – Mental movie of college played in my head. Instead of interrupting it, I just let it play.
Day 25 (6/10) – Scrambled thoughts. Checked the timer with 20 minutes to go. Reminded me that even though I’ve meditated a lot since the first day, stillness is something we’re always working toward.
Day 26 (6/11) – Beautiful session. Felt immense gratitude for the birds chirping in the background. Reminded myself multiple times to “let go.” Let go of thought patterns. Let go of anything that wasn’t serving me.
Day 27 (6/12) – Difficult session due to poor sleep night before. Many scrambled thoughts and trouble focusing.
Day 28 (6/13) – Peaceful.
Day 29 (6/14) – Felt blessed. Grateful for the chance to let go. To hear the birds chirp. To listen to my inner voice.
Day 30 (6/15) – It’s funny how what time I do this meditation affects how I think. If early in the day, more relaxed. If later, more nervous. “How will I get everything done?” Just let go. Everything is exactly as it is. You don’t need to try to change it.
Day 31 (6/16) – Did this session before bed. A great reset.
Day 32 (6/17) – Scrambled thoughts at first but ended up getting to a place that wasn’t sleeping but wasn’t awake. Fun place to operate from.
Day 33 (6/18) – No notes to report.
Day 34 (6/19) – Shocked when timer went off. Lost in thought and nothingness.
Day 35 (6/20) – Again, surprised at how quickly the hour passed. (Later in the day… While I was getting a haircut, my heart rate was equal to a nap or a meditative state, according to my Oura ring.)
Day 36 (6/21) – Before this session was agitated and tired. But during, I lost sense of space, time, and being. Floating between sleep and awake. Feel entirely different after the session than before. Also, for the third day in a row, shocked when the timer went off.
Day 37 (6/22) – Body was fidgety but another day where I was surprised when the timer went off. I have no idea what is happening with my brain. It is as if I have forgotten time exists. So cool.
Day 38 (6/23) – No notes to report.
Day 39 (6/24) – This session ended at the exact second I expected it to.
Day 40 (6/25) – Ahhh, made a realization: these meditation sessions have made me more comfortable accepting what is. Sure, I’m still thinking about what’s going to happen in the future / what’s happened in the past. The biggest real-life translation has been in conversations. Whereas before starting this challenge, I might be nervous/anxious to say the perfect thing or have a perfect response, now I am content letting whatever happen.
Day 41 (6/26) – Did two one-hour sessions – one after waking up, another before going to sleep. Both sessions went by quickly.. helped get rid of mind clutter. So grateful to be able to do this challenge.
Day 42 (6/27) – Some of this session was “interrupted” by noise… But the interruption was transformed. The noise happened to be my family spreading love with one another. This was a wonderful interruption.
Day 43 (6/28) – Woke up at 4:15am, did this session, then fell back asleep. Also did an additional 30 minutes at night.
Day 44 (6/29) – Did two sessions one in the morning, one at night. One in the morning went by as they typically do at this point. One at night was more difficult. Checked the timer with 5 minutes to go. This is interesting to note because it shows my attention span may have dropped over the course of the day or my mind was expecting a 30-minute session from the previous day instead of an hour.
Day 45 (6/30) – Slightly more anxious than usual, could be due to lack of sleep.
Day 46 (7/1) – No notes to report.
Day 47 (7/2) – This was a beautiful session. Periods of thought mixed in with absolute stillness. Just pleasant. I wonder if it had anything to do with listening to this guided meditation (Healing The Body, Mind, and Soul) before bed the previous night.
Day 48 (7/3) – Another enjoyable session. Similar to yesterday.
Day 49 (7/4) – Did two sessions of 1 hour – one in the morning/one at night.
Day 50 (7/5) – No notes to report.
Day 51 (7/6) – Slightly restless, but went by quickly. Nothing significant to report.
Day 52 (7/7) – No notes to report.
Day 53 (7/8) – Surprised when timer went off.
Day 54 (7/9) – There are some sessions when I can notice such a difference in my ability to be in the present moment before and after. This was one of these days. The best way to describe this is like mental baggage gets released.
Day 55 (7/10) – No notes to report.
Day 56 (7/11) – No notes to report.
Day 57 (7/12) – I believe I know why I’ve had fewer notes to report as this challenge has gone further: it’s because I can’t adequately put into words what I’ve experienced. For example, if someone asks you how your day was and you say “good” …you’ve lost a part of the essence of your day. Part of your day may have been okay. Another part may have been interesting. Another part may have been upsetting. Do you see what I mean? Even if you wrote a paragraph about it (like I’m doing with this challenge), you still might fail to capture the essence of how your day really was.
Day 58 (7/13) – Birthday today so was thinking about the people who would reach out to me. Very foggy session.
Day 59 (7/14) – Two sessions, one in the morning and one at night.
Day 60 (7/15) – Challenge complete. But my journey with meditation is just getting started…