One of my favorite paradoxes of meditation is that it’s the only activity I can keep doing after I do it. Sometimes I only start meditating after I meditate.

For example, this morning, I slept in a little bit, so rather than exercising first, as I’ve been doing this summer, I just got up, brushed my teeth, drank some water, and sat. It was a much dreamier, sleepier, more distracted sit than I’ve been having lately. When I wake up, exercise, shower, and then sit, I feel very bright and active, and meditation seems easy! But today, it was a slog. I was repeatedly carried away into thick jungles of emotionally intense daydreaming, and I had to hack my way back to my cushion.

When the timer went off, I unfolded my legs, shook my right one until it woke back up, then went to the counter to heat water for tea. I’ve been trying to replace coffee with matcha, mainly because I want to reduce my caffeine dosage, but there’s a nice side effect that matcha preparation is a lovely, easy mindfulness ritual. Without too much conscious thought, I paid effortless attention to pouring the water and whisking the tea until the froth was spinning clockwise like a green galaxy. Then I carried the cup to the couch, sat, and sipped. And sat. And sipped.

Now I feel perfectly awake and concentrated. Sure, some of that is attributable to the caffeine. On other days, my awakeness is attributable to endorphins from exercise. That’s just the situation. The point is that I spent some time this morning mindfully doing something. That’s the practice.