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I decided on a formal timetable. I will officially start the challenge on June 1st. That’s early, but our host has given permission to start in June if research is complete. 

As preparatory work I will do silent, non-mantra meditation every day between now and June 1. 

Completed my first session today. I practiced Shamatha – silent, eyes-closed meditation in a cross-legged position with my back supported by a wall.  I wasn’t really striving for a time goal; I basically just started with the intent of meditating “as long as I felt like it.”  When I finished my session turned out to be twenty minutes.  Not too bad.  I’ll try to go longer tomorrow.

I’m used to silent meditation, so I felt the familiar transition from chatter to inner silence, then back to chatter, then silence, then chatter, then silence.  My only concern is that once or twice I caught myself falling asleep. (Like nearly everyone else in the United States not yet retired, I am chronically sleep-deprived.)  We will see how much of an issue this is in the future.