Have you ever had one of those moments, a peak experience, when time slows down and everything fades away? You lose track of space and time. You are in the flow. You are fully present. You become one with all that is reality. Now here is the Challenge….
Learn about the 10-Minute Challenge
I have an “ask” for each of you. Each one of you. I am asking you for .00694 of your overall time for a year. That’s 10 minutes a day for one year to pick an Outcome, a Practice, and to Reflect on your experience.
Let me back track for a second. Have you ever had one of those moments, a peak experience, when time slows down and everything fades away? You lose track of space and time. You are in the flow. You are in the zone. You are fully present in the moment. There is neither past nor future (or perhaps past and future are so wrapped into the present). You become one with all that is reality.
Perhaps it was on your wedding day, or when a child was born, or maybe winning a tournament, or a momentous moment in history. Maybe it was during a time of darkness, which brought about an opportunity for reevaluation. Or perhaps it was less grandiose — a time when you were on your bike or hike out in the hills of Vermont, and you simply hit a flow. Or doing the “work” you do in and for our world. Or perhaps it has happened to you in religious community, sitting in a beautiful sanctuary or chapel. That’s called a G-d moment. A spiritual moment of connection and transcendence. Whatever you call it, it’s truly amazing.
These kinds of experiences come and go. We can’t expect to experience this state of being whenever we want. Yet, Jewish mystics have long understood that we don’t have to sit around and wait for these moments to come themselves. We can cultivate ourselves to be more receptive for those moments. But in order to reach that kind of elevated state more regularly, we need to cultivate a daily spiritual practice.
A How-To Guide: The 10-Minute Challenge
That’s where The 10-Minute Challenge comes in. Here are the parameters. Start with the Outcome: What do you want more of in your life? What do you need to work on and cultivate? Is it more love? Is it focus? Greater empathy? Gratitude? Deeper relationships? I invite you to work your weakness: set an intention for your 10-Minute Challenge that will be an opportunity for growth; whatever you are not so great at, pick that outcome.
Next, pick your Practice. This is the fun part. Maybe it’s biking or meditation or art or prayer or poetry or acts of kindness. Whatever motivates you. Here, don’t pick something you struggle with; pick something you absolutely love doing or at least you could do for 10 minutes a day (also, feel free to break that 10 minutes up throughout the day). Pick something that is fulfilling (i.e., probably not binge-watching Netflix). It can be something you already do everyday or often. The practice can also change daily or weekly or by season.
Then, put the Outcome and the Practice together: I want to cultivate focus when I hike. For 10 minutes of the hike each day, I am going to focus on the nature around me. If the hike is an hour or two, try to stay hyper-focused for those 10 minutes. Or, I want to cultivate gratitude, so everyday I am going to journal about what is good in my life and the world. Maybe it’s doing dishes while cultivating mindfulness for 10 minutes (yes, some people enjoy doing dishes)! Carve out the time somewhere your schedule allows. Know that every morning when you wake up, or right before bed, or smack in the middle of the busy work-day, you are going to take time for this. And be flexible. If one morning you wake up, and the kids are already running around in circles, carve that time out later in the day.
Finally take a brief moment to Reflect on the experience. Was I focused today? Was I on task? Did I learn anything new about myself? What can I improve upon in this practice? Share your experience with others and with me.
On the one hand, the “ask” is only for 10 minutes of your time. On the other hand, I know firsthand that commitment to a practice can be a struggle. All I’m asking is that you enter into that struggle with others and me, one day at a time. Who knows, maybe you’ll get in the zone more often. Imagine the positive ripple effect for your life that can permeate the world.
Rav brachot, many blessings of outcome, practice and reflection, and of getting in the zone,