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Question for September 15, 2013: Goals
Medivate — 4 years ago — in Question of the Week
Do you have a goal for your meditation practice? What is it?

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Kyletin — 4 years ago — permalink

I think for myself, my goal is to develop some consistency. I have "goals" written in my personal goals, but those are either really quite easy (short-term), or really quite extended goals. 
Before this site, I never really practised meditation. I was considering giving it another shot, but wanted a way to track my progress, such as how you can track things on fitness sites. I found Medivate through a related google search. (So, if you developers are looking for a way to improve the site, maybe add a feature where you can see visual graphs of your meditation habits? I was too lazy to use the feedback screen because it pulls up some sort of Microsoft Outlook thing, which I do not use). 
I am not too strict with my meditation habits. I am currently a student at a university who is volunteering at a hospital, taking quite a few hard science courses, as well as doing research on the side, so I have a very busy schedule that only seems to get busier. However, I've surprised myself with the ground I've covered. 
I think, in terms of "mental" goals, I would just like a bit more skill in meditation. Just to see that something is changing. I'm not out to gain "instant enlightenment" ('just add water!'), and what I am choosing to do now is more than what I was doing before. 

 

Hopefully I didn't ramble too much. That is perhaps in conflict with the minimalist/simplistic nature of meditation. 
Have a nice day, everyone. :D

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davidbhayes — 4 years ago — permalink
Thanks, Kyle. We definitely appreciate the feedback.
It's good to hear that this site played some role, however small, in helping you give meditation another shot. I definitely understand being too busy to feel like you have time for it. I think your goal of consistency is really the key to a lot of success, whether in meditation or otherwise. Once you establish meditation, or any other habit, as a thing you always do  — rather than just a thing you do when you can — it become so much easier. 
PS: The feedback link is bringing up Outlook because it's your default mail client. The feedback link is just an email.

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Kyletin — 4 years ago — permalink

Thanks for the feedback on my feedback. ;D 

 

I think sites like these are a very good way to support the practise of meditation, and if more people knew about it, I have no doubt they would find it useful. It can help see to show students of meditation their current depth of practise, as well as how it may affect their mind throughout the day (e.g. "Oops, forgot to meditate today. Maybe that's why I'm somewhat unfocused and irritable..." ). 
I'm still working to establish some consistency. Often, I plan to meditate for 0.5 hours before going to sleep, but I end up finally finishing work/studying for classes at like 11:30 and don't feel like ascribing to practise; sleep is very alluring. I'm sure I'm not the only person who falls under these situations. That's life. :)
Gotcha. I'll look into playing with my mail client settings (I usually just go to websites to check my mail, haha! Would it be unwieldy for the feedback submission to take you to another page of the site, with a form (i.e., another page with some sort of built-in feedback entry) for feedback submission? I ask only because I do not know much of that type of coding, and I am sure you are more knowledgeable than I. 
Thanks for the reply!

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davidbhayes — 4 years ago — permalink
I'm separating out the chain a bit, but yes a form for feedback is definitely possible. I know that at some point in the past we had the plan and it just kind of fell away. You're hardly the only person who uses their web browser for email and who thus doesn't get good results from mailto: links like the one we're using there.
There are some complicating factors with respect to making that into a form, but I think it's a good idea and it's definitely back onto the stack of changes we should make.

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davidbhayes — 4 years ago — permalink
Yah, we're hoping to really make Medivate into exactly that. It's kind of gotten caught behind other things for the the recent past, unfortunately, but we're really shooting for exactly what you describe: something that helps people track their practice and be more mindful throughout their life.
With respect to being consistent: this is something I have *a lot* of thoughts and opinions about. I don't know if you're looking for any advice, but here are some thoughts I'm feeling like typing up right now:
> It has been hugely helpful for me building positive habits to add a new thing onto a habit that I've already established. Do you always brush your teeth, eat breakfast, or shower at a similar time? Can you move some minor things around to make a 10 or 20 or 30 minute block to meditate around one of those?
> I definitely think that "before bed" is hard. Your energy is typically low, which generally also means your willpower — ability to make yourself do the right thing rather than the easy thing — is also low. And when you do sit down, you may just fall asleep anyway. It's not impossible to work, but it's kind of working twice as hard for the reason you describe.
> With respect to starting to build a habit, no change is too small. Do it even when you don't feel like it, even if you only do it for a minute rather than the 30 you wish you were. Even at that before bed time when you're really tired, it's a powerful thing to talk yourself into three minutes on the cushion rather than to call it a night. Obviously those three minutes have two big advantages: once you're down you may just decide you can do the thirty, and (if not that) doing it everyday for three minutes is (unexpectedly, pleasantly) closer to thirty everyday than thirty every once in a while is.
I don't know if any of those thoughts are helpful. If they aren't, it's not gonna worry me.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I'm really glad you're participating in these (nascent) forums.

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patrick — 4 years ago — permalink
Right or wrong, I like to keep my goal '' open''. It does take discipline to get in a meditation session on the day. I am not a busy person but but, for me, the discipline lies in ''sitting doing nothing''.

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fredclaymeyer — 4 years ago — permalink
I agree about the discipline piece. I often find that everything "comes before" meditation, even though meditation is really nice when I set down to it.
As for goals for meditation, I'm not sure. It's a tricky question. It certainly helps me in a variety of ways, though.

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davidbhayes — 4 years ago — permalink
I think my goal, to the extent I'd define one for the whole thing, is to keep doing it. There's some appeal to me in the idea of "attain enlightenment" or similar, but I don't know what such a thing would mean, and I'm even less certain holding it as a goal would help.