Sometimes when I sit in meditation, or when I am out for a run, I want to stop early, maybe my legs are tired or my heart isn’t into the workout. Sometimes my mind continues to wander, I write sermons, and emails, and blog posts, and pay bills in my mind and I get frustrated and think to myself, “what’s the point of all this sitting?”

In either case I must recall the intentions I set when in a better mental place. The intention to be healthy in mind and body. On the whole this intention leads to a better life (for me and in my opinion). My body is able to do whatever weird challenge I ask of it (like doing groceries by bicycle with a trailer for my family of 5, or doing one of those zany high ropes courses with my boys) and my mind is able to process the moment I am in (like being able to appreciate having my arms around my wife as we watch a sunset, or being able to give thanks to God for particularly sweet moments in life that I am committed to not missing). 

So when I want to quit, I try to remember the longer term goals. I also try to remember what my experience has taught me, namely, that there is value in continuing, in the quotidian drudgery of it all. Some of my best runs have come after working through the desire to stop. Some of my most glittering meditative moments have arisen shortly after a renewed commitment to sit still—at least until the timer goes off. Such stubborn commitment doesn’t pay such immediate dividends every time, but it does often enough to motivate me to stay the course. 

Even when the meditation ends up feeling like a waste, or the run was slow and not far and felt hard despite that, even then, knowing I have done what I set out to do can be compensation enough. I am still on track, still headed in the direction I want to be going, that is win enough for today. 

If you have tips or tricks to share regarding this challenge, please let me know!


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