Discussion on: I'm a software developer and a meditation teacher - ask me anything!

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Daragh Byrne Ask Me Anything

Hi Ben! How wonderful to have been immersed so thoroughly for such a formative part of your life!

It's a great question and it comes up again and again. The answer I've come to for myself has several parts.

First, self-compassion is paramount. We have to accept that there are periods of our life where it's easy to stay dedicated to practices that support us (not just meditation), and periods where we might be a little (or a lot!) off track. While a certain amount of discipline is definitely useful, as soon as that voice in the mind turns to excessive self-criticism, it's time to turn on the acceptance and self-compassion - two of the abiding principles that meditation connects us with. Accept that, yup, that's where I'm at with my practice. And instead of berating yourself, treat yourself with kindness. One of those kindnesses is to nudge yourself back in the direction of your practices, gently and with ease and grace.

Secondly, having some kind of challenge or accountability can help. I started teaching meditation to those around me as a way of forcing myself to "show up" for my own practice. Gamification can help too - last year, I set myself the goal of closing my eyes for at least five minutes every day for the entire year (most days I had a proper 20-25 minute sit at least once, but it gave me leeway). I was so determined not to break my streak that I always found a way to fit it in! Having a practice community will help.

Thirdly, I tell people that little and often beats lots but rarely. Five minutes a day for a week is a better basis to rebuild your practice than one session a week. Informal practice - just taking a moment to connect with your senses - works wonders. I don't like to have a set time of day to practice, but I do like to consider when I'm going to fit my practice session in that day when I wake up. It helps that I work in a meditation studio and have access to teachers every day though!

I hope that helps, please let me know if I've missed anything. I've written the (free) Ultimate Guide to Meditation for Programmers which gets into it in some depth!