The question of when to meditate can be answered with a quick “whenever you can”. However that is an answer easier said than put into practice. In an ideal world our lives would have sufficient unencumbered time to do everything we want, when we want to do it. Today, that is hardly the case, we rush, from waking through the day keeping up with all of our obligations until we fall into bed at night and hopefully a restful sleep. With all of this busyness, when do we find time to create and maintain a meditation practice?
We have all been told how important it is to meditate daily. The benefits are well documented, the reduction in stress, anxiety, an increase in a calm wellbeing and the achievement of a tranquility we cannot obtain any other way. What wonderful attributes to aspire to. Unfortunately, aspiration alone does not bring about peace of mind. We have to exercise our intent through consistency, determination, confidence and patience.
Deciding to meditate or setting the goal to meditate daily is the very first step to creating a successful practice. Bringing that decision to fruition involves all of the steps we normally follow in order to accomplish any endeavour we undertake.
How long will you meditate? 5 minutes 3 times a day, 15 minutes, 1/2 hour an hour? How long do you want to meditate, how much time can you dedicate to meditation? How much time will offer you the benefits you are looking to cultivate? Once you determine how long you want to meditate make that an agreement you keep with yourself.
Decide when the best time would be for you to meditate. Does your lifestyle offer you the opportunity to meditate at the same time in the same place every day? Some people prefer to begin their day with a quiet meditation practice to gather their energy before facing the chaos. Others find that calming the mind before bed works wonders for a deep restful sleep. Would taking time during the middle of the day recharge and refresh you, make your more alert for your work and business?
Answering the when question occasionally involves answering the where question. Where can you meditate during your day? There are many opportunities during the day, many places that offer the quiet time needed to meditate in your room at home, your office, the bathroom at work, while waiting for a Doctors appointment, as a passenger in a car, taxi, on a bus,
or in the park outside your office at lunch.
Granted the Doctors office is not the optimal place to meditate, however it can offer you a quiet time to slow down during a day that is running on fast forward. Rarely do patients talk to each other while waiting to discuss their personal health concerns with the Doctor. You don’t need to sit in the lotus position. Quietly, sit in the waiting room chair, close your eyes and begin your practice. I usually keep my sunglasses on. Nobody even knows my eyes are closed. Set an alarm on your phone and place it in your pocket, it will silently alert you when the appropriate time has elapsed, without alerting anyone else.
While creating your meditation practice you may wish to consider if you prefer to meditate on your own, with a group or a combination of the two choices. Each option has it advantages. Give yourself the opportunity to attend a group meditation at one of your local meditation centres. See how meditating with others may expand and enrich your own private practice.
Be diligent and consistent in your effort. Return each day to your practice. Sit for the agreed time. Maintain your focus on your chosen object, gently bring your mind back when it wanders off to finish the shopping list, or think about that email you need to send to a colleague.
Follow the teachings you have been taught, give yourself time to develop and grow within your practice. Understand there will be days you will be frustrated, your mind won’t cooperate. It will open a multitude of doors, releasing all sorts of thoughts and images to crowd out any attempt at calm. Be patient. There will also be days when your concentration will be like a sharp knife you steadily hold on the object of your focus. Recognize and be aware of these small victories they will build your determination to continue, your confidence in yourself.
Be determined not to give in to procrastination, laziness, or other attempts to avoid your practice. Our mind can play many tricks on us in an effort to lure us away from meditation. Meditation is a way for us to exert control over our mind, over our emotions. It is a way to rein in the chaotic or looping thoughts. Our Ego doesn’t want this, it wants to be in charge, allowed to do whatever it desires with emotional abandon all the while wrecking havoc on our lives. Each time you overcome an obstacle to your practice you strengthen your confidence. Honour yourself – Keep your promise to yourself meditate everyday.
Be confident in your ability to continue, have faith in yourself. Practice daily. Step by step your initial attempts will become an anticipated and appreciated daily habit. You will overcome any barrier you may place in your path.
Be patient. The benefits won’t be noticeable right away. It will take time to build your practice and to see the positive results. Your friends and family may recognize the benefits before you do. Keep at it. Little by little you will become calm and experience more of the beauty in life.
Only you can experience your practice, reap its benefits, overcome the challenges. Only you can appreciate your effort and only you can know when is the best time for you to meditate. The first step is to decide to do it and then follow through.
Bring harmony into your life, begin your practice.
Your meditation chair or cushion awaits you.
Cheryle, October 2016