May 17, 2013

How to Bring Discipline to Your Practice.

Photo: stock.chng

 Week 5: Share My Path Series.

Could you vow, and most importantly keep that vow, to do anything for 1,000 days straight? How about 2,000 days? How about every day for the rest of your life?

This week we feature Travis Eneix and his path: a meditation journey that began in a small hallway; his first instructor was a friend and “Jewish Buddhist trying to find Christ.”

We spoke on Travis’s 2,143rd consecutive day of meditation practice.

The whole thing “started with Tai-Chi,” he tells me, a 1,000 day commitment. Completed, he figured why not give meditation the same the treatment.

As we can see by his day count, the practice was hard to stop.

Travis doesn’t deny there are days where keeping the number growing is a challenge. During his first 1,000 days he was bed-ridden after surgery, but having made the commitment to himself he was unwilling to give in; he practiced lying down.

I’m going to do it!” he tells himself on the more challenging days.

He also has a social network of accountability—friends aware of his consecutive streak are unwilling to let him break it. “Have you practiced yet today?” is a common question asked of Travis.

There are of course the days with tightness, or back pain, or the “monkey-mind,” but Travis just lets that be.

In more soft-spoken and introspective moments of our conversation it becomes blatantly clear why Travis practices. “It benefits me and the people I love,” he states. “The practice is its own encouragement.”

We took this strain deeper.

Travis offered two recent examples: one a recent interaction with a parent the other with his spouse. He spoke of being mindful—my word not his—of the moment the conversation may go astray. He recognized his choices and took the one more commiserative; the result being true communication.

“We all have negative characteristics. We know we do. We feel guilty about it. The practice,” Travis tells us, stops us before it goes too far.”

With “negative interaction” we become “disconnected.” If we are able recognize when we are venturing down a path we would rather not travel, then reverse course, we’ll have more “beautiful interactions.”

That’s not difficult to agree with!

I fear sometimes that any disciplined practice may be viewed as selfish. And Travis quite clearly elucidates my error in that belief.

Someone once commented to him that when they tried meditation all they noticed was their mind racing about. “You’re doing it right,” he told them. “The only way to do meditation wrong is to not do meditation.”

When this installment of the Share My Path projects is posted Travis will have been practicing for 2,165 consecutive days. He has no plans of stopping. A day without water or food he says he can handle, but not a day with meditation.

I thank you, Travis, for sharing your path and I’m confident those you love thank you for taking it.


Share My Path is an archival experiment seeking to build a repository of the paths taken by practitioners of meditation and is hosted here at elephant journal. If you’d like to have your path featured and made part of the archive please e-mail or find the project here for more information. Your time will be rewarded in knowing you’ve shared with others and perhaps helped someone find their path.

Last Weeks installment: Finding Time for Meditation. 

A list of all previous weeks: Share My Path



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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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