How to Maintain a Regular Meditation Practice

Does the task of maintaining a regular meditation practice seem daunting? For many, especially those new to meditation, meditating daily can be like anything unfamiliar – there is a lot of anticipation and fear before you start but much satisfaction after you become familiar with the routine. In order to make meditation be a welcomed practice each day, it is beneficial to reduce that initial anxiety. How?

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What is it that intimidates you the most about meditating each day? Is it the time commitment? Is it that you struggle turning the voice in the head off? Is it that you have intrusive thoughts of past traumas when you close your eyes? As you come to understand your resistance to meditation, you can begin to deal with it. There are solutions to any hurdles you are feeling. Something that helps many new meditators ease into a daily regimen is remembering that even after a “low-quality” or “unsatisfactory” meditation session, one still feels some sense of peace and serenity. Something is always accomplished!

It is helpful to create a meditation regimen that you can turn into a routine. Maybe for you, it's easier to start out meditating just 3 times a week for only 10 minutes each. If this is less intimidating, go with it. Many people find that immediately before bed or upon waking in the morning is the best time to meditate—fewer distractions and a quieter mind. Others find it helpful to create a special “meditation space” in which they can go to get away from distraction. Their special meditation places may have small fountains, comfortable floor cushions, incense burning, a stereo with a collection of relaxing CDs, a timer, plants, and other soothing sounds and sights. Additionally, it can be helpful to have a selection of guided meditation CDs on hand for days when you aren't feeling up to the task. Finding a local meditation group can also put you in the company of a support system and kindred spirits.

To maintain a regular meditation practice, some find routine helpful, others find it to be a turn-off. Personally, I prefer meditating some days with a group and other days alone; sometimes in the morning and other times in the afternoon and still other times twice a day; sometimes in my house and other times outside in nature. I enjoy varying my meditation technique based on the mood and needs of the day—sometimes using visual imagery, other times focusing on loving compassion, and other times with a guided meditation CD.

Either way, learn about meditation. The more you know, the stronger your practice will become. Any meditation road block you are feeling has no doubt been experienced by countless meditators before you. Don't give up! Meditation is a learned skill that must be regularly practiced and honed to function optimally. Know that each time you meditate, it will get easier, less intimidating, more effective, and more profound. Make a commitment for meditation to be a priority, and it will show you very quickly why it is worth it—before you know it, meditating will feel like coming home to an old friend. You'll magically have all the time you need for it. 

~ Jillian Avey, purelifemeditation.com

 

Meditation Myth #1 – You Don’t Have Time to Meditate

We are busy Americans and pride ourselves on how much we can get done. We live in a country
where a little more hard work can lead to a different situation for our lives. Self-made people are held in high regard. We are so very fortunate to live in a society where we have all this potential. However, it can lead us to feeling that no matter how much we do, it's never enough. Americans are terribly sleep deprived because of how much they try to fit in a day. Now add on having kids, two-income families and the never ending litany of activities that kids are involved in to keep them active and out of trouble. Or maybe you are working two jobs or one that feels like two. Sometimes we get caught up in doing, doing, doing without thinking about giving back to ourselves and fueling the fire. 

Who has time to meditate with all that we have to do in a day? You do. 

Think of it as an investment in your sanity. Think of it as self esteem, self worth and confidence. Time Think of putting yourself first and giving yourself the gift of letting go. Think of it as the most important gift that you can give yourself each day.

How much time are we really talking about? Just 8 minutes per day. 

I remember listening to Deepak Chopra many years ago. While I regard him very highly, I just couldn't fathom what he was recommending. He said that people need to meditate for 1/2 hour twice a day. That kind of time commitment was completely out of reach for me so I put it out of my mind and moved on to other ideas. Even now that I completely understand the benefit of meditation and am a fervent advocate of the practice, I still don't have an hour a day to sit. 

There is a less-drastic approach for us busy Americans that is still completely beneficial. 8-10 minutes per day can change your life. The important part is to create a lasting practice, not how many minutes each session takes. Making the commitment to yourself is a powerful statement about self-worth. 

How do you find the time? 

  1. Get up 10 minutes earlier. Meditate before the day takes over. Does hitting the snooze button really give you more rest? 
  2. Take 10 minutes before you go to bed. It's a great way to wind down and prepare yourself for sleep. You may even find that you sleep better. 
  3. How much time do you spend watching TV? In the amount of time the commercials take in an hour-long show, you could have meditated. Watch your favorite show on DVD, On-demand or DVR. Skip the commercials and give yourself time to sit. 
  4. Schedule it in. If you don't put it on your schedule like any other priority, it won't get done. 
  5. Keep to your time allowance. If you let yourself go over time, then it will feel like it takes up more of your day. If you contain your sitting practice to 10 minutes per day or whatever you choose as your time allotment, it will feel like less of a burden. Sit, meditate, timer goes off, your are done. Easy. 
  6. Treat this time as an investment in yourself. Meditation is self-help at its very best. 
  7. Teach others to respect your time. Put a sign on the door and teach your family that this is your time, that it won't be long until you are done but that you are not to be interrupted. It will be a good lesson for everyone in making time for yourself, what a great skill to pass on to your kids. 
  8. Less e-mail, more time. Can you find 10 minutes of time by reducing the spam in your inbox? By unsubscribing to newsletters that haven't turned out to be valuable, creating rules or filters to automate organization or combining messages into daily digests or RSS feeds, you can save time each day and use your e-mail for communication, not a time-sink. 
  9. Meditate when you have insomnia. It's better than worrying and a great way to get back to sleep. 
  10. Take advantage of waiting. When your schedule fails you, find those few minutes to breathe when you are waiting to pick up the kids or see a doctor.  Do a walking meditation and practice mindfulness when you are walking the dog. 

 

 ~ Jillian Avey, purelifemeditation.com