Strug­gling To Med­i­tate? 5 Tips For Boost­ing Your Daily Prac­tice


One of the most com­mon com­plaints I hear when I teach mind­ful­ness workshops are from peo­ple that say they know they should med­i­tate but can’t find the time or have trou­ble mak­ing it a habit. In my previous posts, I dis­cussed the science be­hind mak­ing (and keep­ing) New Year’s res­o­lu­tions and al­ter­na­tive mind­ful­ness prac­tices for peo­ple who hate to

med­i­tate. In this post, I’ll share some prac­ti­cal ways of mak­ing med­i­ta­tion part of your daily rou­tine.

1. Don’t aim for per­fec­tion. Good enough is enough.

We have a ten­dency to ap­proach med­i­ta­tion like ev­ery­thing else in life—striv­ing for per­fec­tion, need­ing or ex­pect­ing the med­i­ta­tion prac­tice to be “just right.” You may catch your­self spend­ing un­nec­es­sary time (and ef­fort) in find­ing the “per­fect” med­i­ta­tion cush­ion, find­ing the right time or even get­ting pre­oc­cu­pied with whether you’re breath­ing cor­rectly. Much of this ob­ses­sion over whether you’re do­ing it right or not is sim­ply a habit of the mind. With med­i­ta­tion and mind­ful­ness, you’ll be­come more fa­mil­iar with it and can have a bit of space to eval­u­ate.

2. Keep it sim­ple and short.

Re­lated to the above, start by com­mit­ting to a short daily prac­tice. Five to ten min­utes is a great place to start. Try it for a pe­riod of time (one to two weeks) and reeval­u­ate. Per­son­ally, the best time for my sched­ule is first thing in the morn­ing. I wake up, drink some wa­ter and go straight into med­i­ta­tion. For you, it may be dif­fer­ent, so ex­per­i­ment.

3. Bring an open and cu­ri­ous at­ti­tude.

The point of the med­i­ta­tion isn’t to sim­ply mas­ter the tech­nique but rather to shift your at­ti­tude, see your blind spots and be­come more fa­mil­iar with your in­ner world. Have a play­ful at­ti­tude and let go of the se­ri­ous­ness that we can of­ten bring to ev­ery­thing else in our world.

4. Cre­ate con­di­tions to pro­mote prac­tice.

Ask your­self what chal­lenges there are to keep­ing your com­mit­ment. For ex­am­ple, if you de­cide to med­i­tate first thing in the morn­ing, it may be helpful to go to bed a bit ear­lier, not sched­ule meet­ings first thing, etc. I like to med­i­tate first thing in the morn­ing, and I’ll spend a bit of time get­ting my med­i­ta­tion space cleared up, and per­haps leave a shawl on the med­i­ta­tion chair to make the prac­tice more invit­ing.

5. Be­gin again.

Some­times, de­spite your best in­ten­tions, you may fall out of prac­tice. When you rec­og­nize this, don’t waste pre­cious time be­rat­ing your­self or giv­ing your­self a hard time for not med­i­tat­ing. Sim­ply be­gin again. In that mo­ment, when you rec­og­nize you haven’t been prac­tic­ing, reded­i­cate your­self to your in­ten­tion and med­i­tate.

Of­ten, I’ll find my­self in bed, re­al­iz­ing that I didn’t med­i­tate that day. Rather than ly­ing in bed get­ting up­set at my­self, I’ll sim­ply med­i­tate right then and there for two min­utes.

Re­mem­ber, what we prac­tice be­comes stronger. Keep prac­tic­ing, day af­ter day, and see how med­i­ta­tion changes your life.


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