I got into yoga and meditation in my late teens because my life was falling apart and nothing else I tried was helping me put it back together (you can read more here).
So, I know that when things are in crisis it is easy to stay motivated to do the things that help. But meditation is a form of mind training and, like weight training, it doesn’t get stronger with a haphazard practice. If you do it every day, it creates a better quality of life. I have worked with clients who had become disillusioned with meditation when on the infrequent days they DID meditate they were still reactive to triggers that caused anger, hurt, disappointment, etc. But meditation doesn’t work this way, and by establishing strategies that helped form a solid practice my clients were able to feel and see significant changes. The mind is a muscle that gets stronger over time and it takes consistent training to see your strength improve.
So, the key to experiencing the numerous benefits of meditation is trying to practice regularly.
Here are some 5 things that may help to solidify your practice –
- Set a firm intention – it’s important that you get clear about why a meditation practice is important to you. You may want to list all the things you have to gain from a meditation practice as a reminder of why you want to meditate.
- Create a habit – to create a regular meditation practice make it a part of your regular routine. Try to find a time that you are consistently available each day. Either in the morning as soon as you arise, or last thing at night. I find the mornings are better for concentration.
- Create a special space– I have a little altar set up on my bedside table and another on a small table in my studio. Nothing fancy, just a few objects that remind me about my spiritual life and inspire me to attend to my higher self. You could use a photo, flowers, objects from nature, crystals, candles, oils and books that inspire you. If you have the space you could also set up a meditation cushion or chair with your altar.
- Start small – Aim to sit for 5, then 10, then 15 minutes etc. A short, consistent practice is worth more than a longer, infrequent practice. Sit in meditation for as long as you can stay focused, and then build up slowly as your concentration improves. Some days there is also only enough time for a short practice, and it is more valuable to enter the silence, even if for a short visit, then not at all.
- Don’t stress – if you miss your scheduled time do not let it cause suffering with negative self talk or feelings of failure. This is counterproductive to reducing stress and feeling centred. Just start again the next day.
During The Livewell Playground’s Introduction To Meditation course (join over here for FREE) we learnt that meditation is the practice of noticing where our attention is, noticing our thoughts, and then gently guiding our attention back to our breath, our center, our sense of peace.
Our meditation practice should be viewed the same way.
We need to notice what is drawing our attention away from our practice. What is distracting us. Acknowledge what is going on and then gently, patiently, redirect our attention back to getting on the cushion, back to our practice.
It can be a challenge to step away from the noise and busyness of our daily life. It can be difficult to stay
committed to taking time out to visit the quiet space inside. But practice will make it easier, and once you achieve a consistent meditation practice, your sense of calm, level of health and feelings of happiness will expand. It will be well worth the effort.
What are your thoughts on meditation? What are the challenges you face in setting up a regular practice? What benefits are you experiencing?
Leave your comments below.
I’m excited to hear how meditation is working for you.