We know meditation is beneficial to the mind, body and soul and that it can alter our thinking and our lives. But many of us find it challenging to have a consistent and fulfilling practice. Here are a few simple tips to get you started with a meditation practice, even if your day is jam-packed with activity.
1. Create a space that's for meditation only.
It can be just about anywhere. Create a space just for you and specifically for meditation, only. Find a place in your home where you can sit without distraction and in quiet. It need not be an entire room! It can be a corner of a room with a small table or altar or a low bookshelf that is clear of clutter. Decorate it with peaceful and inspiring images, statues, crystals, vision boards or flowers.
Only you know what resonates with your purpose and what will truly inspire you to sit in this sacred space. Make sure to turn off phones and electronics of any kind when you are occupying the space. It's up to you!
2. Choose a specific time of day.
Some traditions recommend meditating at 4am in the morning, others first thing when you wake up or just before bed. Find what feels good for you and fits into your lifestyle. If you're rushing for work in the morning, you may actually benefit from waking a few minutes earlier to spend a little time in reflection. You might find that you move slower and with greater intention after meditating, but seem to get out the door faster!
If you're not a morning person or simply can't pack anything else into your morning, then try in the evening just before bed. It's a great way to end your day and set your body up for sleep. Some may find they get a bit too sleepy in the evenings, so be sure you don't go too deep and fall asleep. If you find this happening, choose a time after dinner or during the day when you can retreat to a quiet place.
3. Be consistent and truly commit to creating a habit.
This step is key and the hardest part to practice. After choosing a time that works for you, stick with it! Try to sit for meditation at the same time every day. Set your body and mind to expect this quiet time each day and it soon will become a habit like brushing your teeth first thing in the morning, or turning down the bed before you get in. There are always challenges that will arise as the ego mind begins to stir. This is all totally normal and if you can work through this stage, you'll be on your way to consistently meditating!
4. Go easy on yourself.
This so often gets overlooked. Don't be hard on yourself for having an urge to skip meditation, but do be kind to yourself and create the regular habit of meditation if at all possible! Have compassion for you! You might forget one day, you'll have tons of racing thoughts the next day, you will have sessions that will make you want to itch, jump out of your skin, get up and walk away. This is all OK.
There will be days that you will not want to sit. Do it anyway. Do your best to carve out this time for at least 40 days to make it a habit.
5. Embrace what works for you.
This step can be incredibly challenging for some, especially when there are expectations of what a meditation practice looks like. Thirty minutes or more each day, multiple times a day, would be wonderful, but everyone's path is different. Embrace what works for you and what feels good for you.
The purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind and take you deep within yourself allowing a greater connection to the Source. If you are stressing about how many minutes you're meditating, you're wasting that beautiful energy and bringing it to a lower plane. Set realistic and comfortable goals and watch how your practice naturally grows into exactly what it should be.
Be sure to give yourself a little love. Take a moment and congratulate yourself on even the smallest commitment.
Even a minute of meditation each day will benefit you and the world. If one minute a day is all you can do, then start there. If you can stretch it to 10 minutes, then work towards that daily goal. No matter how "busy" your life has become, taking the precious time (even a simple deep breath each day!) can be the beginning of a lifelong transformation!