When you have established your body, breath, and mind in the practice of meditation, try to sit for around ten minutes per day. It’s better to sit for a short period every day than a longer period on some days. Consistency is more important than duration. It is better to practice for ten minutes per day, five days a week, than for fifty minutes, one day a week.
Don’t say to yourself: “I am going to meditate every single day for the rest of my life.” This is a big mistake - first, because you’re not, and second, because it’s just too much pressure. That is like beginning a running practice by starting with a half marathon. Instead, establish a routine that is very, very doable. For example, you could decide to meditate Monday through Friday for ten minutes per day. For one month. That would be great.
At the end of that month, decide whether you want to continue with ten-minute sessions, slow down, or increase the time. If you want to increase, do so by small increments - say, five minutes. Then, after a month of sitting for fifteen minutes, you can make a decision for the succeeding time period.
Establish Your Seat
You don’t have to create anything fancy or spend a lot of money, but choose one place for your practice - either a corner of your bedroom or office, a particular chair in your living room, or, if you live in a mansion, an entire room.
Choose a spot that you enjoy being in. Keep it clean and tidy. If you like, you could have a small offering table with flowers or a picture of someone or something that inspires you. Don’t get carried away here, though. Keep it simple.
Find a timer of some sort. You could use an alarm clock or a stick of incense. (If you like incense, burn a stick and time how long it takes to finish. If it takes twenty minutes to burn completely and you’ve decided to practice for twenty minutes, you’re in great shape.
If you’ve decided on ten minutes, stop practicing when it’s halfway burned.) If you’d like, you can light a candle or place a photo of something or someone inspiring nearby, but these things are not necessary.
Choose Your Time
Try to practice at the same time every day. Most people find that the morning works out best, but you may have a dozen kids to get off to school or a job that requires your presence at 6 a.m. Or you may simply be a night owl and find it better to practice when you get home from work or just before bed.
You can experiment with times of day, but whatever seems best, stick with it. There is nothing magical about this; it just seems that habits thrive on routine.
Declare Your Intention
As you sit down to practice, say to yourself something like this: Now is my time to practice. Everything else can wait. Commit yourself at the outset.
Follow the 12 Second Rule
This rule states that when you screw up (i.e., miss a day or a week or a month on the cushion), you must feel awful, guilty, and ashamed - but only for twelve seconds!! Then you have just got to cut that B.S. out!!
It’s thoroughly not useful. The only thing worse than slacking off in your practice is feeling like crap for slacking off in your practice. So please don’t do that.
Sit With Others
Meditation is most often a solitary pursuit, a time for you to simply be with yourself. However, if it becomes unrelentingly solitary, you may start to feel a bit lost in space or even kind of lonely.
While the ability to rest in both spaciousness and solitude are actually quite important, instituting some simple checks and balances prevents confusion as your practice develops. (Believe me, it’s easy to become confused! Generations of meditators will tell you so.)
A great way to keep your practice real is to sit with others from time to time. If there is a local (trustworthy) meditation center in your area, you’re in luck. However, if there is no such place within a reasonable radius, don’t worry - you’re still in luck.
Invite a few friends to practice with you and establish a sitting group. It can be as small as two or three people or as large as you like. You could get together once a week or once a month and simply sit for a mutually agreed-to time, followed by a conversation about how the practice is going for each of you.
Mediation is like exercise for the brain, and every healthy body needs regular exercise. So stop reading and start doing!
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the (others) author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of StickeeBra, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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