Getting a daily meditation practice together can be a bit of hurdle when you first begin. A bit like when you start a new exercise regime, you’re probably filled with the best of intentions. But keeping it going after the first few days can be tougher than you’d imagine.
When I was taught to meditate I was told to sit twice a day for twenty minutes. Wide eyed and gullible, I took this to mean that if I didn’t do that I wasn’t really meditating. So I meditated religiously, twenty minutes a day – every day. And I never missed a sit.
Of course it isn’t really like that. You can meditate more than this or less. And it isn’t so much about the length of time you sit for, but the quality of attention you bring.
Having said all that, consistency IS key.
Because if you want to change your life, you need to create a certain momentum around your mindfulness practice. And a daily meditation practice is an excellent way to do this.
As a teacher of mine once said, ideally you want to touch that deeper place ‘within’ you every day. That would be much better than an extra long practice just once a week.
Getting a daily meditation practice together and keeping it going is really about:
- First creating the right conditions, and then
- Forming a habit
But it is the right conditions that make the forming of the habit easy. The right conditions are the foundation of your meditation practice.
And will hopefully make your meditation enjoyable rather than a chore. Something you want to do, rather than something you feel you have to.
Five tips that’ll help you suceed.
1. Have a regular place that you go to
Choose somewhere in the house that you can go to meditate. Ideally somewhere nice. Not next to a smelly bin or the dirty laundry. Choose somewhere nice.
Better than that, imbue that place with love. Make it beautiful. Candles, incense, pictures – a view of the garden.
Make it somewhere you like to be. Somewhere that feels positive. Somewhere that conduces to peace and relaxation.
And leave your chair or cushions (or whatever you use) and blanket there. So you’re ready to go, whenever you choose to turn up.
2. Allocate a time of day
Try to mediate at the same time every day. Okay this isn’t always possible. Maybe you work shifts. Or things get in the way.
But same time, same place makes it very easy. Especially in terms of forming a habit.
And if you really can’t manage the same time each day, at least plan the week ahead. The way you would plan for other important things in your life.
What time will you meditate each day?
Write it down somewhere. Your diary perhaps? And then see to hold yourself to it.
3. Be disconnected from the world.
Here we’re talking electronic gadgets. Phones, mobiles, tablets, desktops, and whatever else you have at your disposal.
You know – the doorways to emails and social media.
Just switch them off. Create a space where you are truly disconnected. Even just for 15 minutes.
Because let’s face it. If your favourite gizmo beep a Facebook notification half way through a meditation, there’s at least part of you that’s going to want to look
4. Inform people what you are doing (so they don’t bother you)
Because people, like gadgets, have the capacity to draw you away from your meditation practice.
So ask them not to disturb you.
“I just want some peace and quiet for 15 minutes. Unless the house is burning down, please don’t come anywhere near me”.
You don’t have to mention meditation. But you can.
It may seem a little strange for them at first. But my experience is that people soon get accustomed to our new ways.
And after the initial disdain, curiosity often sets in!
5. Try to prioritise this in your life.
You know that this is important, You are trying to do something beneficial for yourself.
And a brighter, happier ‘you’ will mean a brighter happier set of friends, family and colleagues around you….
But it’s like everything else in life. A half hearted approach isn’t really going to get you anywhere.
So please try to prioritise your meditation practice. Give it a real go and see if it helps you and your life.
If it doesn’t you can ditch it. But at least you will have given it a fair and proper chance.