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.