On Sundays, I wake up at the exact same time and do the exact same meditation practice that I do on Mondays. Younger versions of me would be horrified at this, but it’s true.
I do this for two reasons. The first is to maintain routine, which inculcates the practice — and it’s just how I like my life to be anyway — but it also makes the launch into the work week much less jarring if Monday starts off just like the Sunday before it.
The second reason is scientific. I impose some rigor on my daily practice in order to control for variables, so I can more clearly see results in the ongoing experiment that is my daily meditation practice. If I meditate in exactly the same way on Sunday as I do on a weekday, any differences in the experience will reveal something significant about my mind and my meditation on the weekend versus the workday.
And it is quite different. In my Sunday morning sits, there is far less projection about what’s going to happen today. The near future feels quiet and spacious, whereas on a weekday it often feels cramped and loud and intense. But even though I’m less concerned with particulars of what’s going to happen today, there’s an underlying general anxiety about whether I’m going to spend my time well today that feels exactly the same.
There’s so much to learn here! The experiment helps me separate out which feelings arise from fleeting concerns and which ones arise from more ongoing, deeper mysteries in my life.
This is just one example from one Sunday morning, but it speaks to a general lesson about the practice: To really see the contours of our mental landscape, it’s best to look from multiple angles.