Once we have made the wise decision to add meditation to our lives, there are a few things that can be done which will effectively support our effort, ultimately resulting in the cultivation of a lifelong practice.
Here are some tips I felt to be very helpful as I began to add meditation to my life. I remind myself of them every day still, 20 years later!
1. Make Meditation a Daily Practice
Quickly try counting how many different diets you’ve been on, or “self-help techniques” you’ve tried to apply to your life over the years. Most likely it’s hard to remember them all off the top of your head because so many have come and gone. You don’t want your meditation practice to be just another thing that you tried to do and gave up on! This is much too important!
The best way to avoid this from happening is to commit to a minimum amount of time to practice meditation each day. For example, you may decide your going to do no less than 10-15 minutes each morning to start. This may require getting up at least 15 minutes earlier each morning, but it’s well worth it! Additionally, once you get in the habit you won’t want to stop because you will begin to reap the rewards and notice subtle yet profound positive changes in your state of being.
Don’t be surprised if soon you’re desiring to increase the amount of time spent in meditation. If something unexpected gets in the way of you completing your meditation you may have that feeling that something is missing. This is motivation to make sure you find some time later to do your daily practice.
Once meditation is a part of your daily routine, you are sure to experience an inner peace and deep happiness that you’ll desire to maintain through a regulated daily practice.
2. Create a Special Space in Your Home to Practice Meditation
When engaging in meditation it helps to be in a peaceful environment, as much as possible. This is sometimes easier said than done…I know! Some people are fortunate enough to have a room that can be transformed into a sacred space for meditation or yoga by making it free of clutter and selecting decor which induces a sense of tranquility within the mind. Others of us are lucky to find a small corner of the room or a closet. Whatever your situation, do your best to create a simple oasis that can be visited and will support you in your efforts to quiet the mind in meditation.
Personally, I like to have a few river and ocean rocks from places special to me, fresh flowers, etc. This simply calms my mind as I shift my focus within and begin to rest my mind and heart in sacred sound vibrations (mantras).
3. Do It Even When You Don’t Feel You Have the Time or Don’t Feel Like It
When we are extremely busy or our health is not well, that is when we least feel like cooking nutritious meals because it takes time and effort. Yet this is when we most need it, right?! Well, the same can be said for meditation. On the days we feel funky, for whatever reason, or overwhelmed, it is easier to disregard our daily meditation practice, making excuses as to why we can’t get to it. Rather than let that happen we must use our intelligence and identify that our mind is affecting us in this way. At these times, it may take a little extra effort to shift our focus and practice meditation, but we will be so grateful we did! Some time spent in meditation is sure to be exactly what we needed!
4. Make it a Goal to Gradually Increase the Time Dedicated to Your Daily Meditation Practice
Once you’ve established a daily meditation practice, more and more it will be something that you look forward to doing. If you already have some experience of this…congratulations! It could be a good time to consider increasing your minimum time commitment. For example, if you have a regular morning practice then how about adding an evening one as well? Both sunrise and sunset are well known to be auspicious times to practice meditation, and to appreciate the radiant beauty of God’s creation.
Depending on your schedule, upon rising and sometime before bed is another option. This may make it easier to stay committed, especially since these are more general times and less specific than a sunrise. Once you’re consistent with starting and ending your day with meditation, the next step is to incorporate a mid-day practice. Look at what makes sense in your schedule. Maybe after lunch? Or a regular break time from work? These set times would be your minimum each day, but more can always be done of course! In this case, more is always better!
In this way, by gradually increasing the minimum amount of time spent practicing meditation, one very easily establishes a solid meditation practice that is sure to be life transforming in a wonderful way!
5. Be Patient
In so many things in our lives, we tend to expect immediate gratification. In order to be steady in our cultivation of this great gift of meditation, one must be patient and understand this is a process. As much as the effects will be felt immediately to varying degrees, and the most obvious is a decrease in anxiety, still it takes time to experience the degree of equipoise we desire.
Life will continue to be a roller coaster, but with a regulated meditation practice the way we react to the ups and downs of life will noticeably change for the better. Attainment of the peacefulness and happiness we seek requires a certain level of dedication and consistency. Meditation allows us more and more to taste that nectar we are anxious for. Patiently and consistently engaging in the process is key to reaping the sweetest reward that awaits you!
So now that you know what you need to do…. what are you waiting for?!
All the best on this greatest journey of all…the journey of spiritual development, self-discovery/realization. There is nothing more worthwhile!