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Real Happiness Meditation Challenge Week 3: Whether to Get Up

I am lying in bed, and I want to stay here. It's warm. I'm comfortable. I feel the weight of the comforter, the cat pressed against my leg. And yet I'm not happy. I think about people who greet the day with smiles. I am not one of them. I think about what I have to do today -- nothing much. And I remember this blog post.

I recall a line from one of Sharon Salzberg's meditations that's stuck with me this week as the Real Happiness 28-Day Meditation Challenge focused on thoughts:

Picture your thoughts like boats on a river.

And I think OK. I bring to mind Sharon's friendly voice telling me to find a comfortable position (got that) and settle into awareness. Then I try to see thoughts as they arise and to let them pass, like boats on a river. To observe them, not to be them.

I don't want to get up. That's a thought, just a thought. So are the ones that follow: I'm a lazy person for lolling in bed, even though I'm awake. I'm a bad person for not having a full schedule of events planned that propel me out of bed. Those are just the garbage scows of thoughts, threatening to taint the river -- and the day -- with their trash talk.

But they are just thoughts.

And in realizing that, my experience changes. Instead of feeling like a heavy lump of last night's mashed potatoes that has to be scraped forcibly out of the bed, I feel lighter. I could get out of bed. Or I could stay here a while longer -- and enjoy it instead of castigating myself for being here. It's a choice.

That's the magic of meditation. When you see that you are not the thoughts, not the anger or smugness or loneliness or the joy and the giggly bliss,  you can enjoy the experience of being aware of them, enjoy the space where you are as it is, and choose what to do next without being forced into it.

I got up.


IDP is participating in lineage mentor Sharon Salzberg's REAL HAPPINESS Meditation Challenge.  This 28-day practice follows the the program outlined in Sharon’s New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness for the entire month of February. We encourage everyone to join us; since 2011, thousands have participated in this challenge which will help you develop your meditation with support from the entire community.

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