I talk to myself when I’m running sometimes.
“You’ve got this.”
“You can do this” comes out through jagged breaths as I focus toward a point at the top of the hill – the lamppost or a shrub. “You’re almost there.”
I called the same forceful will today to practice meditation for 15 minutes. Again and again, a return to the breath. Again and again, distractions. Again, the breath. Again.
But I sat, returning to the breath. Things were going well for a span.
Suddenly, near 12 minutes the sitting was almost unbearable, my eyes fluttered open to my timer, legs twitched, and I caught myself completely outside of my practice of meditation.
And so, I returned with words of encouragement to myself as I would on any run “You can do this.”
“You can do anything for 3 minutes.”
(I’ll leave out the part where my mind cast my body aware yet again - acutely aware this time of tingling legs and aching IT band - when my eyes flew open to check the timer still with 30 seconds remaining)
And, I returned again, always returning, with practice, to the breath.