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