Akin to anything that provides us benefit, habit is important in maximizing all of the benefits. A daily practice of meditation will not only help you get better at your practice, but it will help you feel and gain the benefits.
Developing a habit of meditation can be difficult though. Unlike riding a bike, you may not get better with each session. Some days you may do great focusing on your breath, other days your thoughts may be intercepting anything and everything you are trying to do for that 10 restful minutes. The next day at work may be as stressful as the previous, however you find that meditation comes naturally.
This goes back to the previous chapter where we discussed feelings. It’s so critical that you do not judge yourself or your meditation sessions. Sit on your cushion and accept whatever happens. Just say yes to the moment and let it be. The best thing you can do is to commit to a time everyday and make that time sacred to anything that could interrupt.
Some suggestions that have been proven to be practical and useful by others:
• Find a space. Where can you go that is quiet and without interruption, and repeatable. Ideally a place where you can keep your cushion or other things that help you relax and focus on your practice. Some of our clients like to light an incense, others like indirect lighting. Whatever works for you, try and adapt the space to work for you. And make it repeatable.
• Find a time. Most people like mornings, but pick a time that works for you both weekdays and weekends. Breaking things up can present a challenge. Mornings are usually pretty clean. Wake up 10 minutes earlier to a better life. That sounds ok, doesn’t it?
• Simplicity wins. Keep an attitude of openness. Remember when you were 8 years old and everything was acceptable? Well most of it, but you get the point. Just try to be aware of what is happening, whatever you are experiencing.
• This is a journey not a marathon. Hopefully, you see the benefits in meditation and it becomes a lifelong practice like it has for many others. The benefits of remaining more calm and open to the complexities of life should last you throughout your life. However staying the course and relying on habit is important in this journey.
• Have some content ready. Some people can meditate with nothing going on in their ears. How awesome?! You win! Many of us need some guidance. There are apps, teachers, groups, books, audio books, podcasts, etc. on how to meditate. The challenge is for you to determine what works best for you. And have it at the ready.
• Make time. Not like find time, but choose a length, or minimum length to meditate. It may start as 5 minutes, but increase to 20 minutes. The important point is to set some parameters on how long, and what you are striving for. The objective is to be clear on your goals. Our clients find a minimum time is helpful in achieving a goal. 10 minutes minimum is our best suggestion.