Beginner's Heart

Sisyphus via wikicommons

via wikicommons

I have no clue why it’s so hard to do what’s good for us. Take exercise. Or meditation. Or eating right. Or cutting back on caffeine. Or just being nicer to folks you think must a few watts shy of a nightlight…

Seriously: every time I begin (again!) my meditation practice, my exercise program, a diet, or even a writing schedule, all I can think of is how many times I’ve ‘failed.’ I always feel like Sisyphus, destined for the same blasted rock to keep rolling downhill just as I crest the rise.

A better metaphor would be the meditation I find myself ‘forgetting’ to do. You don’t try to get rid of thoughts, unlike what many non-meditators think. You just keep coming back to the object of concentration: the breath, a rock, a picture, a sound. Over & over again, you return to it. Framed this way, at least I keep returning to the object of the exercise!

It’s still so very hard, and I still don’t understand my resistance. What is it about doing what we should that triggers our mulish inner 2-year-old? No! My response to walking more, doing my knee exercise, whatever, reminds me of my grandson when I ask him if he’s ready for school, or bed, or dinner. It begins, this resistance, so very early!



I’d like to think it’s just habits, but my grandson doesn’t have bad habits really. He just doesn’t want to do what someone thinks he should. He’s his own person. I suspect that may be a family trait, if you define ‘family’ largely: the family of man.

Sisyphus was not a nice person, legend has it. But most of us are, given half a chance. We love our families, and we try hard to do what we feel is right. Except when it comes to health, inner peace, the stuff that seems so small when we do it. But pays off so grandly. The stuff that seems all about us, and yet impacts all around us.

So here I am again, back at the beginning of things. But at least I’m still rolling the rock uphill. And my ‘burden’ doesn’t feel so much like punishment from the gods as it does an opportunity to return to what’s important. Even if it is very very hard…

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