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Mindful : August 2018
DAYS 2-10 The Tyranny of To-Do I sit for 15 minutes in the morning, on a cushion in the living room. At night, I sit for 5 minutes, cross-legged in bed. I find this bedtime mindfulness meditation to have the most obvious effect on my life: I sleep better. I’m a sucker for the promise of a whole new me, of 17 steps to shiny hair, 23 things you should do now for lifelong happiness, whatever numbered steps toward self-improvement a magazine can offer me. I return often to my Day 1 question: “How will I know if I’m doing it right?” and Joe’s answer: “ You’ll just know.” I can’t tell if I’m there yet. I struggle mightily with the timer. Maybe I didn’t set it properly. Maybe it’s broken. I should check the timer, just for a second. One day, when my morning session is dominated by timer tension, I arrive at an insight: It’s none of your business what the timer is doing. It literally does not matter how many minutes are left. There is no way to know. Just breathe this breath you have in this moment, and if you get another breath, breathe that one next. Mindfulness medi- tation is for me, like so many other things are, about life, and how to live while you’re alive. It feels great to arrive at that insight. But everything is temporary. The very next day I come to the cushion with a mind spinning like a summer tire on an icy road. Despite my best efforts, I cannot bring my attention to my breath for more than a moment at a time. When the timer chimes, I realize I have spent 15 minutes making a seated, silent, deep-breathing-accompanied to-do list. 48 mindful August 2018 meditation