The Benefits of Meditating in Perfect Conditions

Surfing with a Hawaiian champion tandem surfer for an instructor – and a big push – gave me the opportunity to get up on the board after only a few attempts. Not only did it make the experience more enjoyable, but bailing off the board into 25+ degree Celsius water was just a pure pleasure.

This experience simply does not compare to the subsequent attempts, struggling into a wet suit and paddling out into the cold chop of Tofino, only to get my ass whooped by the frigid and unpredictable waves. If the order of the experiences was reversed, it may have been my first and last time surfing, and my memory would not be so fond.

Similarly, meditating in your living room, overlooking a buzzing city street with dogs barking and car horns messing up your mojo, is not going to be anything like sitting at a serene residential retreat like Spirit Rock, California with a knowledgeable teacher guiding the way. I am a believer in DIY, and you know yourself best, but by minimizing what can go wrong, you are maximizing your chances for cultivating a successful and long-lasting practice. The benefits of meditating in imperfect conditions are plenty, but if you can’t overcome the initial barriers, you will not reach this stage to know.

surfer
Surfer enraptured

The common sentiment is, ‘Don’t wait for perfect conditions. Doing something imperfectly is better than not doing it at all.’ I agree with this when you’re already convinced about the merits of whatever it is your are practicing. But for those not experienced enough to know, the lure still needs to be established.

Every habit has a lure and a hook which keeps you coming back. For some, enjoyment of a regular practice for a straight month will transform the task from novel to habitual, at which point you may already be hooked. In many instances, getting through a solid month feels nearly impossible. One way your effort can be sabotaged is if the first few experiences are frustrating or downright awful.

There are noble aspects to succeeding in more true to life and possibly adverse circumstances. But give yourself a fighting chance and take all the breaks you can get.