The first thing it has taught me is I need to meditate more.
It was a personal goal set the beginning of September in a Pranayama and Meditation group that practices at Sutra on Tuesday mornings. I used to meditate when “the mood” struck me, for as much time as I thought necessary (until I got bored). The goal I set for myself was to meditate two times a day (morning/evening) for 20 minutes each time. The first 7 days of this goal, I would meditate seated silently (vipassana) when I had time in the morning and in the evening when I had time. I was quite sporadic with this practice and it was more of chore than I knew it should be. I missed one morning because I didn’t have time and one evening because I fell asleep. Sound familiar?
I knew if I was going to do this well, I would have to adjust my schedule. So, I started meditating using mala beads as a tool help me focus. I also did my practice first thing in the morning (before coffee!!) and right before going to bed. This was more manageable, and I felt like I would achieve something first thing in the morning and then it became a reward at the end of the day.
After this new routine of bookending my days with meditation, I was falling asleep faster and sleeping all night through. This is the most consistent sleep I have had in 10 years. I also was able to look at a situation before just reacting to it, then I could be more diplomatic in my response (still working on this one). Going forward, this will be part of my daily routine.
Based on my experience, my advice to you is:
- Don’t try and make big changes all at once;
- If you have never tried meditation start small, build it into your daily routine, and make it manageable within your schedule;
- If you don’t know where to start, find a Yoga studio that also includes meditation as part of their class schedule and start in a group setting. Not only will the instructors be a wealth of information but the people you will practice with will have all been beginners just like you;
- Try all the types until you find what works best for you. There are many types of meditation and numerous tools to help you build your practice;
- Recruit your friends to join you. It is great to meditate in a group;
- Hold yourself accountable. Keep track of when you reach a goal and share your milestones;
- Be kind to yourself if you miss a practice. It will always be there waiting for you;
- Be consistent. Even if you do not want to.
Have fun with your meditation practice. Even as adults, sometimes we need a timeout.