Our out-of-sight out-of-mind tendencies can keep the best of us from reaching our meditation goals.

At first, meditating is more of a hobby. Like any hobby, the less we do it, the less we think about it. After a while, we think to ourselves, “I should really start doing that again.”…but we usually just keep putting it off thinking that we’ll get around to it again at some unknown time in the future.

Some of us do get back to it now and then…if we’re bored and can’t think of anything more exciting that we’d rather be doing, or if we need something to focus on other than the daily grind. But many of us go from, “Yes, I meditate.” to, “I used to meditate.” somewhere along the line and never get back to it.

When this happens people in the meditation community tend to chalk it up to having lost your way or that you’ve given up, including yourself sometimes, but it’s not really your fault…it’s not anyone’s fault. We just naturally forget all about things for longer and longer periods of time when they’re not front-and-center in our lives. But don’t worry, there are things we can do so we don’t become someone who used to meditate.

A common trick is to set a specific time aside for meditating every day rain or shine, but this can have its own drawbacks. There are days when we really don’t want to meditate for a variety of reasons. Forcing ourselves to meditate anyway can quickly turn what should be our relaxing meditation time into a chore that we start avoiding, and eventually stop doing altogether.

Some meditation communities use a peer-pressure strategy. This can work, at least for a while, especially when it’s in the form of encouragement. But if it turns into an obligation, or even into unwanted encouragement, things can turn sour and go the same way as trying to force ourselves to meditate.

The strategy I prefer is using a gentle self-reminder that we can fall back on over the course of our busy day. When we wake up in the morning, and when we go to bed, just remind ourselves, “The only things I can control are the choices I make.”

…and if you happen to be someone who used to meditate, you’re always just one choice away from, “Yes, I meditate!”

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