What’s the longest that you’ve meditated? Not the longest streak of daily meditation (which is an important number, too), but how long of an individual stretch? How long could you go?

Meditation isn’t a competition, least of all with yourself. Depending on the tradition, “success” at meditation could be antithetical to the practice or at least tangential. But you can strive for growth even without getting attached to outcomes.

Preparing to meditate for a long stretch can provide incredible value all on its own. When was the last time you spent a whole hour giving thought to your phone notifications, without unavoidable interruptions, or without some other distraction on hand? (And books count as distractions, even when read with meditative focus.) How about two hours? How about thirty minutes? Never mind a whole day.

We can never satisfy the modern world’s demand for our availability and attention. Even if we had twenty five hours in a day, it would ask for twenty six, twenty seven, twenty eight, or more. We must carve that time out for ourselves, by ourselves. If you can manage even one uninterrupted hour for nothing but your thoughts (and it’s okay to have thoughts during meditation), that means you found a way to achieve that same peace for other reasons. You could spend an hour with your spouse, child, or best friend and only with them, no phones or TV or meals or games. Just presence. The real people in our life will appreciate even a moment of real presence in a way that the abstractions of work and goals cannot.

What would it take for you to meditate for an hour this week? How well can you prepare for it? Whatever it would take, you can meditate on how to achieve that right away.