I consider myself one of those lucky people that fell in love with meditation from the moment I first began. 15 years down the line and I'm still committed as ever to my practice.
And despite the many challenges I've faced throughout my life and even when my time felt too precious after giving birth to my baby boy, the bond I had with my meditation practice remained stronger than ever. So whilst many people I've known have found myriad reasons to give up on meditation, I continue to find more and more reasons to keep up with it.
As the demands of daily life can seem unending and a regular meditation practice can start to feel dry and redundant, it makes sense why so many people might throw in the towel.
So I've taken my experience as a meditator to reflect on some easier ways we can all deepen our practice and keep it fresh and consistent. I'll also address some of the key points why many of us resist meditation as well.
Here are five ways anyone can boost their meditation practice right now:
1. Have some flexibility in your practice time.
We tend to give ourselves a hard time about how long we should meditate for, so that oftentimes we end up not meditating at all. I assure you that doing some meditation is far better than not meditating at all!
Though I would ideally recommend a minimum of 15 minutes of meditation a day in order to feel a profound change in our mental state and inner peace levels, I've also noticed that a relaxed attitude to the length of meditation practice can yield a more attainable goal for people with busy schedules. Shorter sessions are also more likely to keep your practice focused and invigorated, so there's no reason to shy away from them.
2. Use a meditation ice breaker.
People often underestimate the power of a good body scan or energy clearing right before meditation. When we think of these methods as "meditation ice breakers" it can all starts to make more sense.
Giving yourself those valuable five minutes beforehand for the dust to settle and your body to get comfortable, can make a big difference in your meditation practice. In fact all of the asanas in yoga help us do just that, before we come to rest in Savasana.
A meditation ice breaker will help your mind slow down beforehand, in order to start your meditation off smoothly. You'll feel more settled in the practice itself. So try giving yourself a few deep, relaxing breaths before you meditate, to help you get the most out of your practice.
3. Change up your practice routine.
Consistency can help us achieve successful results in most areas of life, but it's that mundane routine that can end up killing the passion and enthusiasm we hold for working on our goals. Making small changes to switch up the day-to-day of any routine can bring a renewed sense of energy whilst keeping things fresh.
Similarly in our practice, we might want to shake things up a bit by changing up our meditation technique. You can try keeping your eyes open, instead of closing them or start incorporating some soothing, ambient background music. Just like life, it's always important and beneficial to keep trying new things. Whatever the change, your mind will get rewired from the usual routine and lead you to profound breakthroughs and mental shifts.
4. Try some meditation in action.
Meditation is not just what happens on the cushion, but off it too — much like your yoga mat! So why not substitute a day's meditation practice with a meditative activity like a mindful walk through a quiet neighborhood or a nearby lake or park. You can also slowly sip on a nice cup of tea, carving out some time for yourself for the sheer enjoyment of it. You get the idea.
Meditation in action will deepen our practice and serve as a good reminder that we can meditate anywhere when we choose to bring in some awareness and a mindful attitude.
5. Go "off the grid."
When we meditate, we often access a mental awarenesses that we don't always recognize or can make sense of. This is what I call going "off the grid" and is totally natural. It is also a sign that we are accessing new spaces of consciousness and that we are going deeper in our practice. The avid meditator and renowned filmmaker David Lynch refers to the experience as dipping into the "Universal Field."
Yet, whilst this is a great development, we often end up blocking ourselves from the experience. Letting go of our rational mind can feel scary and uncomfortable. Giving ourselves permission to "get lost" in our practice and trust that we are OK with our newfound depths, can be all we need to get comfortable with meditation and its multidimensional platforms. We can always claim our mind back when we're off the cushion again.
I hope you find this information useful and transformative for your meditation practice. May this insight enhance your well-being and help you reach new and exciting depths in meditation!