Meditation requires a commitment. How we commit to it depends on each of us. What works for me, for example, may be the worst idea you’ve ever heard of at the moment. That’s okay. Without a commitment, meditation will unfortunately fade away as an idea that just seemed good at the time. If you’re struggling with your meditation times, here are some of the ways that I was able to adjust my approach. Hopefully some of these will work for you as well.
#1. Do it first. If you make time for meditation first, then the rest of the day just seems to fall into place. I know when I wasn’t making time to meditate be the first thing on my to-do list, there never really seemed like any time to do it.
#2. Keep it simple. I like to meditate in the same place each day whenever possible. If not, then I look for a place that is as close to my regular environment as possible. When you can establish a habit that involves the same time and the same place, that’s a recipe for meditation success.
#3. Make it something to which you can relate. I know when I first started meditating, I’d sit there for minutes on end, wondering what I was doing. Can you believe people actually do this stuff and think it’s awesome? And then one day, I compared meditation to watching a movie. The goal may be to receive entertainment, but there are deeper levels of joy that can come from the experience – like spending time with a loved one. That helped me to see how meditation could be thought of on multiple levels as well.
#4. Forgive yourself. If you miss a meditation time, it’s cool. No big deal. Don’t be your own worst critic. Just knuckle down and make meditation happen the next day. Otherwise I’ve discovered the temptation to begin skipping meditation becomes more difficult to ignore.
#5. Allow some flexibility when it makes sense. Your plans for a day can go in a different direction from the moment the alarm clock sounds. The kids begin screaming. The cat figured out how to get into the cereal cabinet the night before. Your boss calls and says they need you to attend an emergency meeting. Life happens. Put meditation into your schedule when you can during these moments. If it doesn’t happen, then try again the next day.
#6. Remind yourself of success. There are many positive attributes to meditation, from emotional stability to enhanced well-being. When you feel a little down, it can be easy sometimes to blame a bad meditation session. During the moments, remind yourself of those great benefits you’ve experienced in the past to make it through this difficult time.
#7. Be realistic. When I first started meditating, it’s almost like I expected rainbows and unicorns to celebrate my accomplishment. I wanted to feel awesome and I wanted that feeling right now. Except it didn’t happen. I felt disappointed. Was meditation really what it was cracked up to be? Over time, I did start experiencing what everyone else talked about, but it wasn’t immediate. Be realistic with your expectations. Give it time. Good stuff is going to happen.
How do you manage your meditation time? I’d love to hear some of the tips and tricks that you use to maintain your center on a regular basis.