Friday, March 5, 2010

Timers and Technique

When I was a little girl, my mom insisted that I practice my violin for at least 30 minutes every day. "Practice makes perfect," she'd say. My sisters and I would roll our eyes. For every practice session, she'd set the kitchen timer, and I was NOT to stop practicing until I heard that glorious ring that signaled the end of my practice. 

Thirty minutes goes by SO slowly when you're 8 years old. I hated that kitchen timer. Whenever my mom left the room, I'd put my violin practice on pause and adjust it forward a little.

It's a little ironic, then, that I use a kitchen timer now to help me keep track of time when I sit to meditate. 

Unfortunately, I'm not much more patient than I was when I was a kid. I sit for a few minutes, focusing on my breath. Then, I open my eyes to peek at the timer. Thnk, "What? How can there still be 15 minutes left." Then, I close my eyes, and try again. Sometimes, I give up and just turn the timer off. Sometimes, I sit there, eyes wide open, waiting for the timer to get to 00:00. Rarely, do I make it through a whole session without looking at the timer.

A few times, I've been dedicated enough to practice daily for a month or even two without stopping and by the end it got easier. And I felt calmer and more centered as a result. However, I haven't been able to make it a long-lasting habit. It's frustrating. What am I doing wrong?

Do you have a meditation practice? Did it take you a few tries to get it to stick?