5 tips to make meditation your daily practice
Each breath is a new beginning
It is the beginning of 2023, and many of us have quite a few new year resolutions. I am always so happy at this time of the year seeing meditation classes, yoga studio and the gym are full of people with great energy. It is indeed one of the most exciting times of the year. But then at some point during the year, the excitement slows down. Life gets in the way?! A common question I get from my friends and clients is " How to make meditation a daily practice?".
Well, If one of your 2023 new year resolutions is meditation regularly, then I have got your back!
With experiences of 10 years doing my own meditation and helping others learning to meditate. Here are my tips on how to make meditation your daily practice:
1. Make it exciting & fun. Create a physical space for the practice. Set the mood.
It could be a beautiful shrine with candle, incense, flowers and many of your favourite spiritual books. Or it could simply be a little corner of the couch with your meditation cushion. You pick a physical space for it and only for it, then it will be a lot more effective.
Meditation doesn’t need to be all serious. The practice can be so much fun. Allow yourself to be creative with designing your own practice. It can be really minimal with just sitting in silence at a corner of your bedroom. Or it can be maximal with your space set up and combinations of different practices like breathworks, chanting mantra, mindfulness, or open eyed meditation, and walking meditation, etc.
2. Make it easy. Create a mental space for the practice. Reduce obstacles that in the way of your practice.
One of the main reasons why meditating in early morning is so much easier than at the middle of the day is because in the morning your mind is still fresh. Your mind hasn’t been stuffed with news, with ideas, worries and thoughts from all the conversations and interactions of the day yet. But if you can’t meditate in the morning for some reasons, then anytime of the day would be great too. The trick is to set a fixed time if you can, and deliberately prepare mental space for the practice. From my experience: a shower always helps freshen myself, or at least washing my face before my midday practice. Some people read spiritual books before there practice to set the mood. In Vedic tradition, yoga in the practice of asanas originally was created as a preparation for meditation.
3. Honour exactly where you are. Start small.
There is no good in comparing yourself to others on the practice of meditation, especially when you just start out. Meditation seems to come a lot easier to some people than others. That is because everyone is different. Our personalities are different. Our living conditions are different. Our daily activities are all different.
Honour where you are and work with what you have to begin with is the best you could do to form a regular meditation practice. What is your goal in meditating regularly? Is it to be an expert at meditation? or is it to do your life better? Even a minute of meditation per day matters. Sometime a minute of stopping and not reacting to situation is all we need. And a minute of meditation daily could help you strengthen that " muscle". Think about a minute per day for 365 days? So, start small and you can always increase the length of the practice later on. Design your own practice that works best around you firstly, and that will make it stick.
4. Celebrate your effort. Reward yourself.
One fun way to make your daily meditation practice effortlessly is to track your practice and reward yourself. The thing is our system do release quite a bit of positive emotions when getting some instant gratification. Just as how we easily be sucked into the instant gratification on getting likes on social media. It is just the way our human system is. And we can make it work for us in the way of forming great habits. Reward yourself after 6 or 7 days, 10 days, 30 days, 100 days, etc. Celebrate by doing something nice for yourself or sharing it with others.
Something worth mentioning is that rewarding yourself here is on the effort of showing up for your practice. Having thoughts during the practice is normal. Meditation is the art of keep coming back to the present. It is not about expecting no thoughts. There is no such thing called "bad meditation". The effort of coming back to the Now is meditation. Therefore, it is never about judging your meditation experience and rewarding the "good meditation" only.
5. Get support by being part of a meditation community or going to classes, or having a meditation coach.
This will help you learn more about the art of meditation from others and from sharing your own experience. Plus, you get to connect to like minded people.
I was a part of a spiritual path – a community of meditators for almost 4 years in my early twenties. After I left the path, I started to go to some other meditation classes to meditate with others twice per month while still continuing to meditate on my own at home. And I learned so much more by doing so. Being part of a supporting group helps me strengthen and deepen my personal practice at home. I recently created a meditation community in Auckland where I live so that we can all meditate together sometimes. So if you are in Auckland, join me here.