Commit to Sit

I'm grateful for the luxury of a month-long retreat and am wondering if you might like to take this month to deepen your practice as well. This is an invitation to take on a discipline for the month of February.  (We'll check in in March and see how it went.)

Back in the ashram, we employed a very useful mechanism for keeping a practice alive.  We called it having a 'sadhana buddy.'  (Sadhana means 'spiritual practice.')

A sadhana buddy (or study buddy or dharma buddy) is someone with whom you partner for a period of time with the intention to keep your attention on your commitment to practice.

Here are the basic steps:

1.  Find someone with whom you might partner.

2.  Decide on your aspiration for this period of time.

3.  Determine what kind of support would work best for you.

A few clarifications:

1. Find someone with whom you might partner.

Your dharma buddy doesn't have to be a close friend.  Sometimes it's a nice way to get to know someone or even amp up the accountability factor.

2.  Decide on your aspiration for this period of time.

Your aspiration doesn't have to be limited to meditation.  Any life-enhancing practice can be your focus for the month.

You might like to explore 'restraint with awareness:'

Perhaps you'd like to eliminate some foods from your diet and explore what that feels like.  Or cut out extraneous web-surfing for the month.  For a set period of time, Joseph Goldstein once embarked on a practice of not speaking about anyone unless they were present.  Drop a television show that really doesn't do it for you anyway.  Eliminate or reduce some activity that you sense isn't life-enhancing.

Or you might consciously add something:

Commit to a daily practice of a certain length.  Try a yoga or movement class.  Take on a good dharma book.  Engage into a reasonable exercise regime.  Do a daily gratitude list.  Journal every day for a month.

It doesn't really matter what you commit to.  The interesting thing is to see how the commitment shapes your experience.

3.  Determine what kind of support would work best for you.

This can be a lot of fun.  Some people schedule a weekly call, send a brief daily email with their successes and challenges, have a weekly get together to share what they're noticing.

Make it fun.  Having someone with whom you can share the topic of commitment and change can be a wonderfully deepening experience.

If you decide to take a month-long practice of your own, look at every way you can help it be a success ... and let me know how it went for you!

baby meditating