I am certain there are as many effective meditiaons as there are meditators – and I see value in all of them. This post is meant to give specific and detailed instructions about the meditation that I personally began with as I understand/experience it. This is not to say this is the “only”, “right”, or even “best” place to start, but this is my personal recommendation based on the powerful and positive effects that I experienced firsthand. After trying several apps and techniques, I found that this was the best entry-point for me to start a consistent practice. Maybe this will be an effective entry-point for you too! It can’t hurt to try! If this isn’t your jam – don’t give up on creating your practice! Keep trying different methods until you find the right fit for you!
Oh! And if you haven’t yet done so I recommend reading my post: “Why I Sucked at Meditating (and why you probably do too)” before you get started. Hopefully it will help to dispel some common misconceptions and help you to understand that one of the critical keys to success is simply the commitment to show up.
Gan Puttee Kriya: The Kriya to Make the Impossible Possible
3ho.org has a comprehensive explanation on how to perform the meditation. They’re the experts so I recommend referencing this page for official ‘instructions’: 3HO: Making the Impossible Possible
Here is my less-than-expert, unofficial explanation on what it is and why it worked for me…
First and foremost I sincerely believe that the reason I had such a positive experience with this is that I committed to it for 40 days. As you will discover, this meditation involves “chanting” so keeping my 40 day commitment meant that I sometimes had to tell my friends/family/houseguests that I would need 11 minutes of time during our morning or evening to meditate and chant (= weird conversation). In some instances (when I wanted to avoid said weird conversation) it meant sneaking out of bed at obscure times to whisper the chant and complete the practice on a dark kitchen floor (for example). It meant building 11 more minutes into my morning routine and/or redistributing 11 minutes of my already “busy” day. (See my post “The Lie We’re (almost) All Telling” for my thoughts on this). https://deemullin.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/the-lie-were-almost-all-telling/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true
Suffice it to say, sticking to the 40 days wasn’t ‘easy’ for me either, but I remained committed. I mean, c’mon, 40 days it not that long.
Once I committed and set my intention to do this I created a “meditation space”. If you’re picturing a guest room filled with Buddha statues and silk pillows a la “Arabian Nights” you could not be more off base (although that sounds lovely.) My “meditation space” is a little corner of my living room to the left of my entertainment center where I sat each morning and lit incense in front of my vision board.
For the “Making the Impossible Possible” meditation I sat in “easy pose” – which is a very close cousin to what children call ‘Indian-style’. The meditation is supposed to be practiced with your eyes “9/10ths closed” staring down at the tip of your nose but most of the time (especially in the beginning) I’d notice that my eyes would naturally close. (9/10ths may be ‘ideal’ but I say whatever happens happens – if you’re showing up to meditate I wouldn’t beat yourself up too badly on what’s happening with your eyes.)
Then you begin chanting as you move your thumb to make contact with each of your fingers (pictured on the 3ho.org page). You repeat: SA, TA, NA, MA, RA, MA, DA, SA, SA, SAY, SO, HUNG.
In my past attempts to explain this process I have gotten to this point and have been hit with some silly objections. I have often heard that this string of sounds is “too hard to memorize”.
Let’s be real: If you’re weirded out by the chanting too much to try it, I get that – but don’t kid yourself about the difficulty of memorizing some sounds in order. It’s not hard. Even if you had to spend your entire first session reading (vs keeping the eyes partially or fully closed) you’d certainly have a firm grasp on it by day two.
Most commonly I think people are afraid that this will look and feel funny. It does! But it’s probably not as bad as you think and (for me) the rewards significantly outweigh the “risk” of looking and sounding strange.
The chanting really helped keep my hyperactive mind busy. When I would sit in silence (which I am able to do now that I have a practice, but was unable to ‘start’ with) the mental to-do list was never ending, incessant, and very distracting. I found it impossible to even dip a toe into the pool of “zen” while listening to my limiting self-talk reciting all the things I needed to accomplish in the day and not-so-subtlety pointing out that right now, at this very moment (the moment of meditation-attempt), I was doing precisely zero of the things on the list. Ugh. No Bueno.
The ‘silly’ chanting was a game changer. At first I was preoccupied with keeping the ‘sound-words’ in order. (It wasn’t hard to memorize but I found it required a beneficial amount of mental effort to keep it flowing). Once I had it down, the chant had a kind of calming effect. The sounds, the vibration, the meridians… I won’t attempt a scientific argument but I bought into the idea that the magic was happening.
Here is my video to show how ‘accessible’ this can be: Making the Impossible Possible (like a Type-A New Yorker)
Finding a meditation practice that worked for me was life changing. I invite and encourage you to try this for yourself! I promise – without a doubt – that if you commit to 40 days of this and honor your commitment, you’ll have life changing results as well!
Best of luck getting your practice started and if you try this method, let me know how it goes! I would love to hear about and celebrate all of the “impossibilities” that you’re able to make possible!
PEACE, LOVE & MINDFULNESS.
40 Day Challenge: Why and What?
I did my first 40 day challenge in December of 2015 because I wanted to start a meditation practice.
The stories I told myself prior to beginning this (and throughout the first days) were:
- I don’t ‘get’ meditation (how does it even work!?)
- I am too ‘type-A’ to ‘quiet my thoughts’ or ‘clear my mind’
- I will just fall asleep if I try to meditate first thing in the morning
- I won’t be able to sit still in the morning because I’ll be running mental checklists of all the things I need to do (shower, blow dry my hair, straighten my hair, put on makeup, pick out an outfit <–I mean all really important stuff!)
- I just don’t have time to meditate
But somewhere inside of me a little voice kept telling me I had to do it. Had to figure it out.
I had tried meditation during some isolated incidents (yoga classes and whatnot) and I liked how it felt.
I am also a big Tim Ferriss podcast listener (if you’re unfamiliar with Tim he ‘deconstructs’ habits of the most successful people on the planet) and he found something like 85%+ of these major successes had regular meditation practices. So I thought: Fine. 40 days. I can do anything for 40 days. (You know, because I am ‘type-A’ and am great at mental checklists… see points 2 & 4 above. Wink.)
I started with a Kundalini Meditation called “Making the Impossible Possible” and in 40 days I felt like my life had literally transformed. (I have specifics on this particular meditation b/c while I think any meditation is better than none, this one really rocked my world so I highly recommend it.)
After completing the first 40 days I thought I had cracked the code and would be a daily meditator (word?) for life.
Perhaps this happens to some people — not me.
The open-ended nature of “daily practice” was too flexible for me (go figure). I didn’t feel like it was a ‘mission’ or ‘challenge’ anymore so I let myself off the hook… sometimes for days at a time.
I have since decided that two effective methods for me are:
- Having a finite timeline. If I commit to something for 40 days I know that each individual day is critical and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (even from the starting line.) In other words I can wrap my head around 40 days – I, personally, cannot yet wrap my head around ‘everyday’ and/or ‘forever’.
- Having an accountability group. I started a simple Facebook page called “Tribe 40” where anyone who wants to take on a 40 day challenge can join and share their experience. At this point it usually ends up being a lot of posts by me and one or two other tribe members – but we’ll continue to build. My hope is that people get what they need from it. I (personally) use the public forum as a way to stay accountable. Maybe some people can use it to see others attempting their own challenges before they’re ready to dive into a challenge themselves. I think every step towards self-development ROCKS so the Tribe 40 page is there to encourage those steps.
I am not going to attempt to explain WHY 40 days — throughout history and religion this 40 day time frame shows up a lot. But I am NOT an expert in either of those fields.
Yogi’s prescribe practices for 40/90/120 or 1000 days. This link will explain a little: https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/sadhana/40901201000-day-sadhanas
Bottom line? For me, it works. And that’s good enough.
When choosing my OWN 40 day challenges, I try to look at areas I am avoiding in my life or things I am making excuses about. (My list of excuses above about why I ‘could never’ be someone who meditates is a perfect example.)
If there’s something I want to try, a habit I want to develop, a little nagging voice telling me I should really do “X” or “Y”, I try to put it into a 40 day challenge for myself. So far the experience has been incredible and life changing.
I am ALWAYS happy to share exactly what my personal ‘challenge’ consists of (I am super into this so I’ll go so far as to make videos, send links, recommended books, resources, whatever I can!) but more often than not I find that the “right” challenge for you (for example) will be different from the “right” challenge for me.
My purpose in inviting people to join me is not to say “do the exact thing I am doing for 40 days” but more “grow with me by doing what YOU know YOU need to do for 40 days – and we can encourage each other along the way”. We are all in this together!
I believe that there are only two things that impact the way we experience life: OUR HABITS and OUR THOUGHTS. And the coolest part is that we control both!!!
A 40 day practice is an amazing way to exert some power over both your HABITS and THOUGHTS and I highly recommend trying it out!
PEACE & LOVE.