A friend invited me out to lunch one day and in the course of the meal offered the following confession: ‘‘I’ve been meditating for about three years now,” he said, “and I’d have to say honestly that my experience when I’m sitting isn’t what I thought it would be or should be. I still have ups and down; my mind wanders and I start over; I still have bouts of sleepiness or restlessness.

“But I’m like a completely different person now. I’m kinder and more patient with my family and friends, and with myself. I’m more involved with my community. I think more about the consequences of my actions, and about what habitual responses I bring to a situation. Is that enough?”

“Yeah,” I replied, beaming at him. “I think that’s enough.”

This is why we practice meditation—so that we can treat ourselves more compassionately; improve our relationships with friends, family, and community; live lives of greater connection; and, even in the face of challenges, stay in touch with what we really care about so we can act in ways that are consistent with our values.

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