Regular meditation practice is building something strong and powerful for your life. Getting started is difficult, unless you have a plan that makes starting easy. Keeping up with a regular practice is also a difficult action that is made easy with a simple plan.
Starting a meditation practice takes time and dedication. But, once you have developed your practice as a habit over many years it becomes a way of life. You won’t be able to give it up any more than you could give up eating.
The best way to start anything new is to start slow. Do what you know you will be able to do with ease. Something you can build on.
Starting a meditation practice is no different. But, you first need to find the best meditation for you. You can do that by reviewing earlier articles in this series, in particular this one on The Three Types Of Willful Meditation. Take your time and try out two or three different techniques before deciding on one to stick with. And, stick with it for at least a year and a quarter so you can correctly gauge its benefits for you.
Of course, you can change sooner if you need, especially if you find a teacher you want to follow, then you would want to do what they recommend.
The best way to make a practice a habit is to do it at the same time every day. Many teachers will say to meditate first thing in the morning. While this is the best time for most people, it may not be for you. The absolute best time is when you will do it!
The next thing is to start slow, as in only meditate for a short period of time. Pick the length of time that you can guarantee that you will stick with! If you try to meditate for thirty minutes or an hour to begin you are almost guaranteed to not stick with it. It doesn’t matter if it is as short as one minute, as long as you are sure you will do that every single day. You can always lengthen the time later.
A good time limit to set at first is three minutes. This is a practical length of time that anybody can do. You can start with less if you feel the need, or start with a longer time as long as you are sure about your ability to stick with it. Honestly though, I wouldn’t recommend going past five minutes in the beginning.
This is your commitment to yourself. Practicing for three minutes every day is far superior to meditating for thirty uncomfortable minutes a few days then giving up because it is just too much. However, if you are feeling good on a particular day you can always stop you timmer alarm and meditate a little longer. Just keep your commitment to your regular time no matter what.
It takes three weeks to develop a habit. Likewise with meditation. After three consistent weeks with no missed sessions your habit will be started. It may not be a strong habit yet, but it is a great start nonetheless.
Once you have reached this milestone it is time to increase the length of time that you meditate. The best increase is one minute. Your new commitment is now four minutes at the same time every day no matter what, barring a catastrophe, of course. You can still go over if you like, but keep your minimum four minute promise to yourself.
Now that you have developed a habit you can increase the length of time sooner. The ideal is to increase your meditation time by one minute every ten days. This way you will find yourself meditating for thirty or more minutes with ease.
At the above pace of increase you can get up to 30 minutes in less than a year. When you consider that you will be meditating for the rest of your life a year really isn’t that long. You can continue to increase your time if you like, however I don’t recommend going over an hour.
Every time you meditate it is like weaving a beautiful cloth with golden thread. Each meditation is a beautiful gold thread added to the weft and warp of your golden cloth. As time goes by, you will have something beautiful and indestructible. It is something that will give you refugee in your time of need, and strength anytime you need.