We started 2013 with a January Practice Challenge, a whim of an idea on our FaceBook page. That not only prompted many readers to start a meditation practice, but to re-invigorate an existing practice that had been languishing (like my own!). In addition to energizing people already part of our online community, we had an unprecedented number of new Likes on FaceBook, Followers to our Twitter feed, and new people registering on the Secular Buddhist Association website to Comment on blogs and participate in our Discussions. Our friends at Tricycle followed soon after with the release of their 28 Day Meditation Challenge for February, using Sharon Salzberg’s book “Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program”, which allowed meditators to continue having encouragement for their daily practice. We’ve had some very good feedback and interest from our online secular Buddhist community that we continue to offer this support, so we’re proud to announce that we will be doing a March 2013 Practice Challenge.
What Is The Challenge?
The challenge is simple: in the month of March, participants commit to meditating for a minimum of ten minutes every day. The meditation can be whatever form you like, sitting, walking, mindful eating, whatever is right for you that day. And of course you can always do more that just one session in a day, and more than ten minutes.
The primary intent with the Challenges is to provide encouragement to start a new meditation practice, and to support an ongoing practice. That you might make new friends, learn new things, and energize your meditation are wonderful collateral benefits!
What Help Do I Get?
We’re also going to enhance our previous Challenge in a number of ways, in addition to what we did in January:
- Daily encouragements about things you can try in your practice, via FaceBook and Twitter
- Virtual community meditation using our Insight Timer group, Secular Buddhist Association
- Drop-In virtual guided meditation on weekends via our Secular Buddhist Association UStream Channel
If you’re new to meditation, we’ve got Basic Meditation Instructions to get you started, and the Challenge can help build the foundational elements to sustaining your practice after the Challenge ends. If you’ve been meditating all along, this can be a helpful reminder and some encouragement to your existing practice, and to include some variety in your focus if it might be helpful.
Remember, if a particular suggestion on a given day doesn’t feel like it’s something you want to try, don’t do it. You can simply continue to explore what’s shown itself to be helpful to you instead.
How Do I Start?
- Sign up below: (* indicates a required field) Those who sign up will have their name added to the publicly viewable Participants page — this is to encourage your commitment, and you can certainly participate without signing up if you prefer. Remember to please use your real name and email (which will not be viewable) to be eligible for a recognition incentive (more on that below!).
- Like our The Secular Buddhist FaceBook Page for the daily encouragements, and new things to try.
- Tweet using the hashtag #SBAMPC (that’s for Secular Buddhist Association March Practice Challenge).
- Participate in the March 2013 Practice Challenge Discussion Thread to see what others are doing, and to post your own Comments about your meditation practice.
Please note that as of March 15, the March 2013 Practice Challenge is closed to new registrations.
Note that signing up for the Challenge does not register you on this site. If you would like to Comment on articles and participate on the Discussion forum, please use the Registration link on the right hand side of this page, too! Also, registration for the March Challenge closes March 15th!
Why Should I Do This?
In addition to the benefits you may find in having a daily meditation practice, the awesome new friends you may make, and the things you may learn about meditation and yourself, we’re going to have a few recognition items as well:
- Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) hardcover book — 1 winner — Jim Clarkson
- Working with Mindfulness (download version of CD) — 1 winner — Jennifer Homer
- Relax: 6 Techniques to Lower Your Stress (download version of CD) — 1 winner — Liesbeth Klunder
- Awake at the Wheel: Mindful Driving (download version of CD) — 1 winner — Kyle McCloy
- Being at Peace with Food (download version of CD) — 1 winner — Susan Parker
- Dhamma Gita (hard copy CD) — 5 winners — Carol Gatiss; Dean McGrath; Leslie Trew; Alistair Kelly; Susan Baird
Only one item to a winning participant, and you must provide your actual name and contact information to receive an award. Names will be drawn at random from the Participant List.
How Much Does This Cost?
There is no cost to do the Challenge, it’s free. Other than your time!
We’re early in the development of our Practice Challenge methodology, and are learning as we go how to make things better next time. It’s an evolutionary process, and we appreciate your patience as we grow and improve.
We also appreciate your input, so if you have ideas for improvement as the Challenge progresses, be sure to put a comment on the March 2013 Practice Challenge Discussion Thread.
- March 2013 Practice Challenge Participant List
- March 2013 Practice Challenge Discussion Thread
- Secular Buddhist Association UStream Channel
- Basic Meditation Instructions
- January 2013 Practice Challenge Discussion Thread
- Revisiting Meditation: Getting Back On Track
- More Than Sound
- Search Inside Yourself — SIYLI
I’d also like to extend a special thanks to Mike and everyone at More Than Sound for their kindness and generosity in their donations!