Here we cover two vitally important things to keep in mind if you are just starting a meditation practice or continuing a pre-existing meditation practice.
When NOT to get discouraged
Here’s the first one: remember that the goal of any particular meditation “sit” is not to come out feeling more peaceful. Any given meditation may produce a sense of serenity… and it may totally not.
This is a long game. Meditation helps create a more settled, clear, peaceful mind over time and with consistent effort. There is no need to feel like a failure if you don’t feel more serene after any given meditation sit.
Meditation is a failure-free zone
In fact, meditation is a FAILURE-FREE zone. The point of meditation is to be aware of what’s going on inside of you, not to judge it. You literally cannot fail, and this is why: even a sense of failure you may have can be observed and identified impartially. Such a sense of failure can be grist for the inner awareness mill!
If you need inspiration: think of it as a daily vacation
If you are having trouble motivating yourself to start or stick to a meditation practice Here’s a nice inspirational tip:
Meditation is like a mini vacation for yourself.
When you sit for a meditation, whether it’s for 2 minutes or two hours, you turn inwards and place your attention on your inner world. You are taking a break from your “outside” life.
It’s a designated time where you’re totally allowed to relax and not worry about things going on in your life.
Important disclaimer: this does not mean that worry won’t come up. In fact, if you’re stressed or have a lot of unresolved emotions, a LOT of stuff is LIKELY to come up during a meditation. But it’s a time where you can see the negative feeling or thought arise, acknowledge it, and let it pass as best you can by gently bringing your attention back to your chosen meditation focal point (be it your breath, a mantra, etc.) The perk: allowing and acknowledging the negative thought/feeling will actually help to process and abate it.
While meditation is an acquired taste for most, over time it really becomes such a treat. So give meditation a fair shake by allowing yourself the time to grow to appreciate it.
A relaxing meditation to try
Pretty much any meditation will serve to relax you (and, over time, give you that I-vacation-six-months-per-year kind of serenity). After all, they all involve being still, turning inward, and letting all of the stuff in your mind settle.
If you are feeling a lack of motivation to sit and meditate, guided meditations can be helpful. You simply slip on your headphones and listen as a gentle voice guides you along. Here are a couple of resources for guided meditations:
- The Insight Timer is a free meditation app that comes with a wide range of guided meditations.
- Our clients at our Washington DC acupuncture clinic also love the Headspace app
Another option would be a loving-kindness meditation, which is designed to generate good feelings and spread the good vibes within you and out into the world. (On top of feeling good, you’re doing good!) The basic steps are:
- Sit in a quiet place.
- Set your timer.
- Close your eyes.
- Bring up a mental image of someone in your life (this includes yourself).
- Imagine them smiling or looking happy. Or recall something appreciable that they did in the past.
- Hold that mental image and see if eventually generates a warm, happy or positive feeling.
- If you are able to sense a positive feeling, turn your attention to that rather than the mental image of the person.
- Sit in the awareness of that feeling as long as you can feel it. If it dissipates, go back to the mental image of the person and see if you can generate it again.
- Continue until the timer goes off.
- More on how to practice a loving-kindness meditation (video and article).
So many other benefits of a meditation practice
There are so many benefits to having a regular meditation practice — even just 15 minutes per day. Explore our videos-articles covering several other benefits below.
- Give yourself a daily vacation with a meditation practice More vacation time with a meditation practice
- Prime your mind to investigate the BIG questions in life with meditation Develop more mental clarity to advance your truth-seeking and deep-thinking
- How to take the ‘problem’ out of your ‘problems’ (meditation to the rescue) Strip the problematic-ness from your problems
- How meditation helps you be less judgmental (and more discerning) Judge less, discern more (and how that makes you happier)
- Use meditation to generate (and spread) positive feelings Generate positive feelings (and spread them) with loving-kindness meditation
- How meditation makes negative feelings more manageable in your day-to-day life Make negative feelings more manageable with this simple technique
- How meditation makes you more like Neo from The Matrix
- Meditation gets you FOCUSED (and therefore happier, and more productive) Train your mind to be more focused (making you happier and more productive)
- Sensitize yourself to the subtleties of experience with meditation Sensitize yourself to the subtle (yet POWERFUL) thoughts and emotions that determine how you interpret the world
- Cultivate the World’s Most Useful Attitude with meditation Develop life’s #1 most useful attitude with meditation: that of acceptance (and why practicing acceptance does NOT make you a doormat)
Questions or comments about meditation or your meditation practice?
We’d love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments below