Last year (2013) on Labor Day weekend I broke over a decade long meat fast. I turned to my fiancé (now husband) that weekend and said, “I’m going to eat meat this weekend.” Wide-eyed, he just said, “Ok, you tell me what you want and I’ll cook it up.” It was a pivotal moment of my life biting into that meat after all those years, and I can confidently say that at this point in my life it’s exactly what my body needs. Anyway, as this Labor Day (that just passed) approached this year I was excited to think of something else to do that would also have a great effect on my health. I decided to embark on a 100 Day Gong.
TaoistPath.com explains a Gong as:
A Gong in Chinese is a designated amount of time that you allot to perform a specific task daily. For example, knowing that it takes at least 90 days for a particular good habit to “burn into” your nervous system, the 100 Day Gong is the most appropriate length to practice. This means that we pick a particular practice (or set of practices) and designate them as our Gong and we diligently practice them every day for 100 days without fail. This means that if you miss a day, even if its day 99, you start over. Not only does this build resolve, it forces us to wake up and pay attention to our day-to-day routines. It is incredibly painful when you miss day 46, for instance, and have to start over. At first you try to make excuses to yourself about how it was OK and how you’ll just keep going, but then, a deal is a deal…you start over. Next round, you pay attention! It is a wonderful way of not only building focus and determination, but also to ensure that you train regularly. It is a dedicated act of self-love that snaps you out of your daily trance and brings the light of awareness to your consciousness. The more we practice, the more we wake up and the better off we are.
When I was 13 years old, my whole family and I went through Transcendental Meditation (TM) training. I loved, loved, loved meditating twice a day for 20 minutes each time. That was then…when my responsibilities were showing up to school and swim practice. Today, 40 minutes a day of meditation just isn’t practical with my hectic schedule! As the years progressed I meditated less and less as my responsibilities grew. However, at the end of each year while reflecting on the previous year in my journal I’d always write how I wanted to get back into a consistent meditation practice for the New Year. At the end of every year I’m always so upset that I never was able to make it happen…until this Gong!!!!
I committed to do a 100 Day Gong of meditating. That’s it. No pressure attached to where to do it, how to do it or for how long. Just meditate at some point every single day for the next 100 days. Period.
I have been using the app Stop, Breathe & Think for a while now. It’s got some great brief guided meditations on there that I enjoy sometimes during a busy day or even before bed at night. I realized there was a self meditation timer on the app that ranges from as little as one minute to 60 minutes. I started using that as a tool to help keep this Gong structured and it’s got me so on point! Each day (usually morning) I decide what length of meditation time I can commit to and it does the work for me with gentle bells. Most morning meditations are anywhere from one to three minutes long. Others when I have more time are anywhere from five to fifteen. I was away on a yoga retreat in Yogaville, Va, in late September and was meditating up to an hour and a half per day, sometimes more! Many days at work I shut my office door halfway through the day and meditate for 10 minutes. But for the most part, they’re brief meditations that allow me some time to breathe deep, relax my shoulders and recite a positive affirmation before getting on with my day.
As of right now, I’m on day 53, so a bit past halfway. I’m determined to finish this, I would be SO upset with myself if I skipped a day and had to begin over! I’m already looking forward to creating my next Gong once this one is over. I’m thinking it will still be focused around my meditation practice to keep up what I’ve already got going. I finally feel like my meditation practice is back and can absolutely feel the benefits throughout my day after I’ve completed it!!
FYI: I got the idea for this Gong from the Health Bridge with Pedram Sojai & Dr. Sara Gottfried. They’re my favorite. I highly recommend their podcast. I haven’t missed an episode! Have you ever heard of or taken part in a Gong? Is it something that you’d consider trying?