Halfway to this milestone I wondered what might happen if I exercised my mind as I had exercised my body during those first thousand days. Before I address how that has gone, let me offer a few words about the wholesome value of exercising every day for almost 5½ years.
Balance is perhaps the first word which comes to mind. My body feels more balanced than when I started. It is stronger and more flexible. I literally feel more together. In addition, I have no more internal dialogues about whether to do the exercises. Even when I don’t want to, I know they are going to get done, so I no longer make excuses or deals with myself. That in itself feels liberating.
Sure, some days are easier than others, and the road has not always been smooth. There have been a number of occasions when exercise was the last thing I wanted to do. But when you know what it brings you, and you have such a long, unbroken record, it’s easier to do them than not do them. There’s another aspect which is important when we come to consider exercising the mind with similar discipline: the exponential curve.
It has taken two thousand days to get this far. Progress has been slow and steady, and therefore sometimes difficult to see. But I now stand on rock-solid foundations as a result. It has taken time and discipline. There is still room for improvement because as noticeable as that discipline is during the routine itself, it is often absent during everyday actions. I may be more aware of my body as a result of the sustained exercises, but I still get distracted, lose my focus, and find myself paying no attention to how my body moves when bending, lifting, or carrying.
Which is how it also is with the mind. 99 days ago I wrote ‘A Mental Breakthrough’, which was the perfect reminder of my intention to focus more on what I could do about my mind. The conclusion was to let go of thoughts. Just let go. I took to that endeavour with a combination of relief and enthusiasm, but my focus has waned in recent weeks. I need return to my practice. Not just a dedicated daily routine of silence and letting go, but also for the rest of the day, during all those times when my mind is busy persuading me to bend, lift, and carry the thoughts it creates.
So, although I may not have progressed as far as I might have envisaged one thousand days ago, I have definitely inched my way closer to the bend in the curve where the practice becomes automatic, the letting go becomes instinctive, and the freedom it brings never leaves. And I have an idea of how that will feel because, after two thousand days, my physical body is benefitting from something similar.