Headspace run streaks: building a meditation practice

Irrespective of how we really feel in regards to the run streak — the determine within the Headspace app that acknowledges what number of days in a row we’ve meditated — that quantity has one thing necessary to show us.

Some individuals love this characteristic, viewing it as a supply of motivation, a file of accountability, and a badge of honor that displays their dedication in building a meditation practice. Others can’t stand it, viewing it as a supply of tension, a reminder of days missed, and an unstated judgment of their dedication, ardour, or priorities.

Provided that each opinions exist, we will’t say the run streak is objectively good or unhealthy. Somewhat, our method to it, and our relationship with it, is what finally defines our expertise.

Most individuals assume we created the run streak as a approach of gamifying meditation. However its origins have much less to do with Silicon Valley and extra to do with the Tibetan Himalayas.

The romantic model of meditative coaching is commonly portrayed as one during which time is forgotten, routines are deserted, and objectives are instantly relinquished. Having skilled as a monk, I can inform you firsthand that that is something however the case.

The truth of that life-style is a dedication for a sure variety of years, and a day by day routine set by the clock. We even had a mounted period of time to finish meditation workout routines — a quantity to which we needed to commit. Inside this context, we used the idea of run streaks on a regular basis, nevertheless it was by no means in regards to the quantity; it was a instrument to assist us ship on our intention and route, making certain we wasted no time and labored in direction of a singular level, in a clear and regular approach.

The Headspace run streak is, in some ways, an extension of that very same self-discipline, and this sort of construction could be extremely useful, creating a framework for momentum.

After all, there’s some paradox, and appreciable humor, in having to create a mounted construction to allow the thoughts to be free; likewise with setting objectives when the intention is to dwell within the current, free from expectation. However as human beings, conditioned as we’re, these items could be useful.

And so we come again to the run streak. If we predict it’s in regards to the quantity itself, then we’re lacking the purpose. I’ve heard of individuals crying once they unintentionally miss a day and the run streak is interrupted. I’ve additionally heard of others being livid, even once they deliberately skip a day, and notice they’re at zero once they subsequent go online.

If we expertise this degree of attachment to the run streak, then it would simply be time to reframe our method to it altogether. It might be that we’ve unwittingly develop into aggressive in our meditation, whether or not with oneself or others. Or it could be that we’re utilizing it as a solution to choose oneself or others. Both approach, we’re susceptible to inflicting ourselves pointless stress.

This jogs my memory of a message despatched in by a Headspace member a short time in the past. In some ways, it captures the essence of the run streak completely. He stated he was approaching 1,500 days in a row however was fearful he was turning into fixated on the quantity. So he purposely missed a day, resetting his run streak to zero, after which continued on his approach the following day.

While I’m by no means recommending you drop your run streak like this, there’s something attention-grabbing in being so free from the quantity that we’re ready to give up it at any time. There’s something attention-grabbing in understanding that we lose none of the advantages of meditation after we lose the run streak. And there’s something attention-grabbing about being so relaxed with it, that we’re in a position to proceed our journey in a deliberate and intentional approach, even when we miss a day.

The purpose is to sit down after we can, clear in our intention and route. Similar to within the monastery, the run streak is a type of encouragement reasonably than judgment. The good thing about meditation doesn’t come from a quantity on the display screen, neither does that quantity on the display screen have the capability to evaluate us in any approach.

So long as we’re doing our greatest, that’s all we have to know. All of us miss days, and that’s okay. Actually, some individuals don’t even wish to meditate on a day by day foundation, and that’s okay, too. The necessary factor is to appreciate when we have now missed a deliberate session after which proceed with the following, a little like noticing when the thoughts has wandered off earlier than returning to the breath.

Merely put: in the event you discover the run streak useful and motivating, embrace it. If you happen to discover it off-putting and scary, don’t pay it any consideration. Most necessary of all, whichever approach you lean, discover the best way you relate to it, recognizing that our expertise is finally outlined by our perspective.

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