Oakville Zen Meditation

#213 Few tips to keep a regular daily meditation practice Feb. 12 18

Few tips to keep a regular daily meditation practice Feb. 12 18

About yourself:

Prioritize. You need to somehow insert into your brain that meditation is just as important as brushing your teeth, showering, eating, and reading, whatever it is. I think it’s amazing how much time we find to answer irrelevant email but how so little time there is to sit daily. We always find time for priorities, never enough time for what we perceive as “non priorities”.

Pick a doable amount of time to sit. Don’t strive for an hour unless it seems easy to you. Fifteen minutes to a half hour daily work fine. Up it, if that seems easy and fits in with your schedule. Even five minutes will activate those neural pathways.

Be flexible. If you miss your morning session, be creative rather than been pissed. Take a mindful, silent walk at work; sit before you fall asleep. Don’t throw in the towel just because your daily routine got screwed-up.

Be gentle and non judgmental on yourself. If you think you’re a failure and rebuke yourself for missing a day or a week, meditation then becomes anxiety and another excuse for self-hatred. Look, meditation training is like swimming upstream, doable, but takes constant effort. Be forgiving with yourself; yet keep practicing as it is. No big deal.

Consider each sitting as a new and unknown adventure in which you are just experiencing just the present reality of the moment as it is. New stuff is quite often exciting. By doing so, the feeling of routine daily practice such as “ déjà vu” will be minimized if not gone.

About your meditation:

Once a while, review your motivations to meditate.

For few seconds ask yourself as you sit down, “why am I meditating today”?

See what is emerging. Then ask yourself, what are my deepest reasons for practice? Return to these motivations when the meditation is difficult and the mind restless. A liberated mind takes work and reminders.

Allow meditation to become a discipline.

Try to do it at the same time in the same place everyday. The way to cultivate a habit is to actually do it. The more consistent you can be, the easier it is for the new pathways to be born into your brain. Meditating only when you feel like it will take you nowhere except the exit.

Never, ever judge negatively the quality of your meditation because this is a trick of the mind to force you to quite. Meditation is to be mindful to the present reality: your posture and your breathing. Instead, your mind wants to wander and be in control as he always does..

Your breath is your leach controlling the beast. It is not easy and will never be. Trust your meditation practice whatever its quality.

Sometimes sitting feels impossible. Then use your designated time for some kind of spiritually supportive practice: read a dharma book, listen to a tape, and write in your journal.

If all of these fail, don’t get mad. Take three breaths, re position yourself and start again. It is not a failure.

Always keep in mind that the benefits of meditating cannot be found on the quality of your practice but on the quality of your life that is how you are dealing with your emotions and life in general. Meditation will always remain a battle against your mind, but life will become less and less of a struggle since the benefits of mindfulness meditation are cumulative even if you don’t feel it over time. Just trust your practice.