The Marathon of Meditation

The Marathon of Meditation

When we set out to run a marathon we have one goal in mind. 

To run 42.195km and cross the line. 

With that primary goal (our focus on it, our visualisation of it) we naturally develop other qualities. Strength of mind, focus, resilience to name a few. These skills benefit our running practice but we don’t set out to develop them. They are natural ‘by-products' of learning to run the distance. 

We can also find that these improved qualities enhance our general day to day life, at work and at home.

When we begin meditation practice we ‘set out’ with the sole intent of bringing the mind to stillness. 

Similarly the by-products of this goal can be better focus, better sleep, better handling of relationships, better productivity and creativity, more confidence. While we don’t set out to develop these they can enhance our general day to day life, at work and at home. However, they are not the primary goal.

In both instances (marathon and meditation practice) we don’t set out to develop the by-products.

We set out with a primary goal of crossing the line and we focus intently on that.

If my point here is not clear let me explain further.

You do not need to meditate for better relationships, concentration and productivity. Take the one primary goal, focus on it alone and do the time-honoured practices that will take you to that goal.

The Marathon

If you decided to run a marathon it is unlikely that you would simply set out to run 42.195 km. I am sure there are some that could do this yet at the time of writing the only one that comes to mind is Forrest Gump. :)

Instead you would :

  • Practice regularly

  • Build your practice slowly to run for longer and longer distances.

  • Possibly work with a coach

  • Refine your running style to suit you

  • Learn to breath properly

  • Learn to focus

In the process you would:

  • Get incredibly sweaty

  • Suffer from leg cramps

  • Perhaps gain some kudos among your peers

  • Perhaps suffer some ridicule from your peers :)

  • Wonder ‘what the hell am I doing this for’

And also develop:

  • Mental strength

  • Perseverance

  • Resilience

  • Perhaps find that you could work better (as a result of new found focus, confidence, resilience) 

  • Perhaps find that you were happier (inner chemical release)

With an aim to: 

Cross the finish line. An achievement that no one (except for those that have also crossed the line) would ever understand.

The Meditation

If you decided to learn to meditate it is unlikely that you would slip into that state immediately. I know of some that were born like this but they are few and far between.

Instead you would:

  • Practice regularly

  • Build your practice slowly to sit for longer and longer times

  • Possibly work with a teacher 

  • Refine your practice  to suit you

  • Learn to breath properly

  • Learn to focus

In the process you would:

  • Suffer from boredom

  • Wonder ‘what the hell am I doing this for’

  • Perhaps gain some kudos among your peers

  • Perhaps suffer some ridicule from your peers :)

  • Suffer from leg cramps

And also develop:

  • Mental strength

  • Perseverance

  • Resilience

  • Perhaps find that you could work better (as a result of new found focus, confidence, resilience) 

  • Perhaps find that you were happier (inner chemical release)

With an aim to :

Bring the mind to stillness. An achievement that no one (except for those also in that state) would ever understand.