I don't typically make New Years resolutions, but this year I vow to meditate daily. I'm starting to realize that intellectually understanding how cravings and aversions cause suffering will not by itself deliver me to mindfulness. It must be experienced.
In December, I began my daily meditation practice, and in the last few weeks, I've been able to see the tricks my mind plays that I've read about in Buddhist teachings. As of now I meditate 10 minutes in the morning focusing on my breath. I found that even in this short time, my mind is interrupted with countless thoughts. On some days I very quickly notice that my mind has been carried away and other days I don't until I start feeling stronger sensations like anxiety.
Regardless of how the meditation goes, when I realize my mind has been carried off, I've stopped viewing it as failure, but as an opportunity to better understand, and even appreciate the ingenious methods my own thoughts employ to destract me. Each time I realize I'm distracted, I briefly recount how I got there and, as unique as that path may be, how fundamentally it is a combination of cravings that pulled my mind this way and aversions that pushed my mind that way.
Recognizing how I am swept up by the same patterns can actually be pretty funny. In meditation and a few times in daily life, when a craving or aversion baits me and I start getting caught up in thoughts, I find myself saying, "wait a minute! Here I go again..." Those moments are small humerous realization. Little victories.
Two thousand and fifteen, the year of little victories.