Today I’ve been preparing for the 28 day meditation challenge. I’ve got enough post ideas about meditation to keep going through the whole period and I’m pretty excited to get going.
I read a post about how to sit every day (and why it’s so hard to sit every day). One of the key problems I think – and something highlighted in the post – was that habits are easy, but creating new habits is hard.
That’s my key reason for this challenge. I figure by the time you’ve done 28 days of sitting, even if you miss a day here and there, you’ll be in a habit. It’ll be much easier to keep going on your own.
Just working out which part of your apartment, house, castle or yurt you’re going to sit in every day can make a big difference. Leave your cushion, chair, blankets and so on out and ready. Make it as easy as possible to get down to it.
Twenty minutes of meditation can really set you up for the day. But it’s incredible how easy it is to spend 20 minutes faffing about, and then run out of time.
Other tips are:
- Work out the best time of day to practice. Morning is the classic time, and although I meditate in the mornings now, for many years the very thought of it filled me with grumpiness. I used to work from home and meditate about 11am. I also spent many years meditating in the evening. So really it’s up to you. Maybe experiment a bit at first and see what works for you.
- If you’re really not in the mood, just decided you’ll sit there for five minutes. You don’t even have to meditate. Just sit there and rest. Often you’ll get into it just by doing that. Certainly over time, putting your body in a meditation posture conditions your mind to get into a meditative state. You just drop into it.
- Create a sacred space. Maybe a little shrine, with inspiring bits and bobs on it. Candles, incense and flowers are common items to put there. One thing about that is that they’re temporary, so they feel a bit like bringing the meditation space alive. When the candles and incense are lit and the flowers are fresh. You can stick a Buddha in the mix too if you like. Or an inspiring picture. Whatever floats your boat. Playboy calendar 2013 probably won’t get you in the right frame of mind though.
- Tell everyone to leave you alone. Turn the phone off. Log out of Facebook. Set a timer so you don’t even have to look at the clock. Create some time for yourself.
- Decide what practice you’re going to do before you sit down. If you do more than one practice, don’t spend 20 minutes sitting there doing one for 30 seconds, then another, then another, then going back to the first one.
- Remember why you’re doing it. The good thing about habits is they get you doing something regularly. The bad thing about them is you can end up going through the motions, not really getting anywhere. If you don’t know why you’re doing it, why are you doing it? So work out what you want from meditation. The individual session doesn’t have to be goal-oriented, but you should have a sense of what you’re about. Many Buddhists re-dedicate themselves to the path with a bit of chanting before starting meditation. This is a formalised way of remembering why you’re sitting there.