You may have heard how beneficial meditation is……… Have you tried meditating regularly? If you are anything like me you may have discovered that establishing the habit can be challenging. I am as human as the next person, and although sometimes I am able to meditate daily, I also go through stages of avoiding my practice, finding excuses, or just feeling too busy to fit it in. A meditation practice for me, is always a work in progress….and just like LIFE, it has it’s ups and downs.
Things that help me:
#1 – A “meditation notebook or diary” – In the past I had a diary which was a day to a page, and so if I meditated or practiced some form of yoga (eg asana/postures or pranayama or attended a class) I had one page to make any notes about it. I have also used a notebook to record my thoughts about yoga and/or meditation like a journal.
#2 – Record Briefly your meditation – eg. Date/Time/Length of meditation/Comments. In a notebook or diary as per #1, or see #3.
#3 – Iphone App – there are many apps that you can use for meditation, both for the meditation itself if you prefer a guided practice, and to use as a timer and recorder as per #2. There is an app called ‘Omvana’ which allows you to choose many different guided meditations (many which are for free) and you can choose the backing music you like. If you prefer silent meditation (my preference) and you would like a simple timer and recorder, I use an app called ‘Samathi’…..I love it because it is simple, and it records the ‘chain’ (days of) practice. There are many other apps to choose from, low cost or free!
#4 – Passion – Love your practice and you will look forward to it.
#5 – A special meditation cushion – or you may prefer a meditation stool. I have both, and both have been rewards for my practice (see #10).
#6 – Dedication and Motivation – Ask yourself WHY do you want to meditate regularly? Put it in writing. Either in your diary/notebook per #1 or somewhere where you can refer to it regularly.
#7 – Practice – Just like physical exercise, the more you practice the more those ‘meditation’ muscles will get fit.
#8 – Discipline – A regular time. Work out what is the best time for you. Stick to it, but it you miss a day, just pick it up again the next day.
#9 – Set a goal – And write it down. By writing it, you are committing to it. Make it realistic and achieveable. Start small. Eg – I will meditate for each day for one week for 5 minutes.
#10 – Reset your goal – Once first goal is attained, reward yourself and reset the bar a little higher. Eg – I will meditate 6 days a week for 2 weeks for 10 minutes. The reward could be a candle, a meditation cushion, a blanket for meditation, etc.
#11 –Find inspiration in reading – I recommend the wonderful book by Sally Kempton “Meditation for the Love of it”. You might also like to browse the shelves at your local library.
#12 – Find inspiration in nature – go outside, breathe in fresh air, smell the roses, gaze upon the colours in the sky at sunset. Be amazed at the beautiful world we live in.
#13 – Training the puppy mind – like training a puppy, remember that awareness must be brought back to the focus of your meditation. Your focus may be your breath, a mantra (silent or aloud), or an internal image ( eg visualising a candle flame). Every time awareness wanders from focus point, bring it back, bring it back, bring it back (over and over and over)….this returning is all part of the process.
#14 – A Comfy location and a ‘Meditation in Progress’ sign – Find a place that is your little corner to pop your meditation cushion down. And if you live with others, use a sign on the door and explain that meditation is easiest when you have the room to yourself just for that time. Occasionally when the weather is nice I will meditate outside in the garden; I especially love dusk – so long at the mozzie’s aren’t biting! The world does look quite stunning when you re-open your eyes and look around you; try it!
I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions about what inspires your meditation practice!