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According to Zen teacher and personal-development guru Cheri Huber, the first and last moments of the day are so important that she recently taught an e-class that revolved around them! The course on “Compassionate Self-Discipline” – offered by the Zen Monastery Practice Center ( – required students to commit to five minutes of meditation or yoga in the morning, and 10 minutes or so of journaling in the evening. At the end of each day, they were asked to use their journaling time in order to answer four questions.

The Four Questions:

  1. Did you meditate this morning? If the answer is “yes,” how did that happen? If “no,” what stopped you?
  2. What self-talk did you hear today from the part of you who wants to keep your commitment? From the part of you who does not want to keep your commitment? From your “inner judge”? Anyone else?
  3. Which subpersonalities (aspects of your personality) were you aware of identifying with today?
  4. On the whole, were you judgmental of yourself or were you kind to yourself?

According to Huber, committing to something as seemingly simple and seemingly innocuous as five minutes of self-caring activity a day can trigger disproportionately profound feelings of resistance and avoidance. By compassionately observing this scenario while sticking to their commitment, people can learn a great deal about themselves and often overcome deeply ingrained self-destructive habits and thought patterns.

To sign up for notification about this and other email classes offered through Huber’s organization, visit

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