You want to meditate often...great! Let me give you a couple of advices beforehand, so you don’t fall into common traps.
As mentioned by James Clear, new habits can take quite a long time to stick...so when it comes to the regular practice of meditation, we should be careful and intelligent about it. Take your time and don’t overdo it. Most people can take years before they start meditating regularly, mostly because they tend to do excessive amounts of meditation instead of small regular chunks of practice. Yes retreats and long weekends spent meditating have clearly positive benefits for you, but if you can’t keep up that lifestyle every weekend, I suggest you change strategies.
Try this right now: decide how much time you would be ready to meditate...every single day, including the weekends and days where you “don’t have the time”. Really come up with a reasonable number before reading the rest, don’t skip this.
Ok, ready, you have a number in mind? Now, take that number and divide it in half. If you were thinking about doing 10 minutes everyday, than do only 5 minutes instead...and here is the reason why. Today is a special day for you, you were unusually motivated to read this article, follow its guidelines (hopefully), and come up with a daily meditation time that you “think” is reasonable...but it is not. The harsh truth is, if you haven’t found a way yet to meditate regularly yet, it means you’re doing too much at some times (like today) and not enough at other times... so balance your efforts.
Meditation can be applied very very very simply, I cannot emphasize that enough. For example, the practice of breathing meditation does not require you to sit, or take a lotus position, or go away from all noise and distractions, or become a monk...it only requires you to look at your breath. There is no need to go on retreats or in meditation groups for you to practice meditation regularly, that is a clear mistake. Going on retreats is a way to deepen your already regular practice, not to make an irregular practice into a regular one. When we understand that meditation can be applied very simply then it only requires of us: time, concentration, and an object for which to meditate on...such as the breath.
Meditation is a very flexible exercise and can be used on any object such as external sounds, a light, your breath...and those should be available to you at any moment of your life, really. So right this second, you can meditate on your breath..even if you're walking, talking, sitting, eating...the combinations are endless. Just make sure to use your favorite kind of meditation often, when you're moving to somewhere else, taking the bus, driving your kids to school, paying your taxes... at any moment. When it comes to the breathing meditation it might be even easier because the breath is always available to us, as we constantly breath...so I would recommend this approach above others.
If you’ve read the previous paragraph, you might understand now that “meditation can be practiced at any time” and you would be right. Find a meditation practice that you prefer and modify it to fit best with you. It’s your time and it is meant for you, so do it in a way that resonates with you the most. I personally do not sit in the lotus or semi-lotus positions but on my knees instead, and I meditate for 30 minutes straight because I like it that way….But you might like something different such as using candles, music...or even practicing meditation while taking a bath. Find a way that you like but remember...make it very simple so that you can do it almost anywhere and anytime, that way you will never miss a single day of meditation.
Here is a simple exercise you can follow, a super-simple breathing meditation session of 5 minutes that I highly recommend you.
6 November 2017