Now that you are excited about the benefits you will receive from an ongoing meditation practice, the next step is to begin making part of your daily routine. Here’s step-by-step support for your budding meditation practice:
1. Make a commitment to yourself. Five minutes a day? Ten? Thirty? One hour? Commit to a meditation practice, no matter what daily quantity, for three months; then decide if you like it or not.
2. Choose your meditation space. Make it nurturing, comfortable, simple, relaxing, and peaceful. Use this same space each time you meditate.
3. Choose your meditation time. Meditating at the same time every day builds an automatic response into your mind and body. Your whole self begins to cooperate when you sit down for your time!
4. Find a spiritual symbol that resonates with you. Why? A symbol that is steeped in tradition or meaning for you will magnetize your innate spirituality.
5. Find a methodology that works best for you. Try a few of these to find out your own meditation style preference:
a. Perhaps a guided meditation would help keep you focused. There are CDs, mp3 recordings, YouTube videos, and even smartphone aps with all sorts of guided meditations. Find two or three that you like so you can use them interchangeably.
b. Centering prayer is a wonderful tool for a busy mind! Take a prayer that resonates with you, and recite it slowly to help you quiet your mind. Repeat slowly and sincerely throughout your time.
c. Mindfulness is the practice of observing your thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and breath, with detachment, non-judgment, and compassion. Being present with what is, without having a conversation about it in your head, is an excellent and very portable meditation practice.
d. Visualization is a method often found in guided meditations, but you can create your own. Imagine yourself spreading out of your body, filling the room you are in, then stretching through your whole house, then neighborhood, then city, then state, then country, then throughout the entire planet, then universe! Sit in that expanded state without inner comment.
e. Group meditation is a great way to keep your commitment to yourself. Although it may not be feasible to meditate with a group every day, once a week—or even once or twice a month—has great value. You receive a vibration boost from others when everyone is generating energy for the common purpose of meditation.
6. Keep a journal. Meditation is going to awaken you to new ideas, experiences, and insights. Writing them down helps assimilate those new understandings into your consciousness.
7. Practice every day, no matter what! Some days, your meditation will feel extraordinary, or maybe it won’t. Either way, trust that something is happening, even if you aren’t consciously aware of it. Go back and remind yourself of the benefits of your practice. Let it be okay that you don’t feel enlightened at the end of your first month. Meditation is like brushing your teeth—you just gotta keep doing it for the best results!
Now give it a try! You will be grateful that you gave yourself this gift of a meditative life!
Lynn Barrette, LCSW Blending psychology with spirituality, I offer tools for forgiveness, acceptance, meditation and relaxation, and positive parenting solutions.