Let’s face it: almost everything we do in life is tied to a habit. Life is simply too complex to think everything through. Could you imagine having to lay out explicit instructions on how to drive a car? Or cook a meal? Or walk? Or even breath? Thankfully, our brains automate these sequences, by creating habits, which free up mindspace for more interesting concerns like how to deal with a sticky problem at work or make our own lives happier or more meaningful.

I was first introduced to formal meditation practice in a Zen dojo in 1994. At the time, my life was chaotic and it would remain so for another 10 years. On several occasions over these ten years, I tried to build a regular meditation practice. Although I never managed more than meditating intermittently, I have no doubt that what little practice I did manage helped me. It helped me by giving me a direct experience of distancing from my thoughts. I had previously experienced what I thought as being a part of my essence, as what was defining me, and thus of the utmost importance.