The Top 5 Tricks to Meditating Regularly.

Via on Apr 29, 2010

I’ve had to develop tricks through the years to get myself to meditate.

I can practice yoga with the best of them for hours a day, but I haven’t yet managed to override the part of my brain that is certain that sending that package out, or calling back that friend, or devoting half an hour to edutainment take precedence over sitting still and letting the mind settle into a blissful state of being.

While you’re on your way to letting meditation be a recurring guest star in the sitcom of your life, let me share my tricks with you.

5. Go somewhere for it. Do it with others. Not only is there an inherent accountability factor, but if you have a time, a place and a routine, you have successfully tricked your mind into thinking, “Hey! One more thing to do!” Mind likes doing. Mind does not like being. Give mind doing till it likes being. Repeat.

4. Take a bunch of five-minute meditations a day. No time for one more thing in your life, you say? I bet there are plenty of spare moments to connect with the peace inside if you pay attention. You can sit still for five minutes at the end of the day, with the lights turned out. You can focus on your breath and the sensations in your body when you’re standing in line anywhere or waiting for a green light. You can practice alternate-nostril breathing while on the bus. You can walk down the street a little slower, savoring each step. Heck, you can even run down the street in an non-frantic way with a meditative awareness on your body movement. “Peace is in pieces” as a friend and fellow meditator says. Find the peace in the pieces of your day.

3. Set it up so you enjoy it. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard or seen people sit in lotus position, or kneel, or any other stance that not in a million years would feel comfortable to them. Newsflash: Lotus can be a fantastically comfortable position to sit in… if it’s actually comfortable for you! If it isn’t, why torture your body? No need to make meditation look a specific way, and no need to add another discouraging factor to meditating regularly. Sit down in your favorite chair! Or lie down! (But keep your body in a spread-eagle position or arms above your shoulders on the floor so you don’t fall asleep.) Use pillows! Use a Lazy-Boy recliner if you must! The point is, you want to encourage your coming back to your practice by always being comfortable, always making it the most enjoyable experience possible. Now click over here for my line of Lazy-Boy Meditation Recliners. No, just kidding.

2. Use something to make it easier. Yes, there are the techniques that have you gazing at a candle, or repeating a certain mantram — but the possibilities don’t end there. Walk much slower than usual at the nearest park and shift from thinking into perceiving. Take a hot bath and close your eyes and focus on the sensations of relaxation. Or use music: no-words, slow, no melodic structure. Tibetan-Bell type music is the best, because it focuses your attention but, in the absence of melodic structure, doesn’t engage your thinking mind. Be in a comfortable body position, put on headphones, follow your breath, perceive the sound, and you’re well on your way to regular meditation. Below are my preferred CDs.  (Images are clickable.)

1. Teach it. Ha! The oldest trick in the book: those who teach it, need it the most! You lead the group and it’ll guarantee you’ll show up and do it. “But I must know something about meditation to teach it,” I hear you say. Not really. How much more is there to it other than “Now we are still and let thoughts pass like clouds in the sky and come back to the slow, relaxed breath over and over again?”

Okay, now let me go meditate before I get caught up in anything else.

About Ricardo das Neves

Ricardo das Neves is the author of Unenlightened: Confessions of an Irreverent Yoga Teacher, and is occasionally known to tweet (@spirithumor). See MORE VISUAL YOGA BLOGS HERE. When he’s not trying to be funny, he acts very serious teaching yoga classes in and around Seattle. Subscribe to future VISUAL YOGA BLOGS here. Connect with him on Google+

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17 Responses to “The Top 5 Tricks to Meditating Regularly.”

  1. Scott says:

    RIcardo,
    That is the best post about meditation ive read in many years. really, really helpful – and i actually DO meditation in the funny lotus position. In particular, i like point number 5 about making a regular time and place to get the mind thinking it has to do something and tricking it into just being. excellent point.
    thanks for the post.

  2. Iris says:

    Great post. Though I thought it was super important to make sure your back is straight while you meditate, making the Lazy-Boy suggestion null…

  3. Tobye Hillier yogi Tobye says:

    There's an iphone app I use called "personal om" it's basically just a timer with a few nice pics and some tibetan chanting in the background. What I found helped, was to set the timer for a short 5 mins… when the timer stops I actually find myself happy to carry on! setting aside only a few mins is enough fo me to calm down, settle and carry on for a bit longer.
    Some deep breathing before hand is always a good one as well… ya kinda just slip into it then!

    Liking it Ricardo!

  4. anon says:

    Very good article. The bottom two music selections are available for .99 mp3 on Amazon.

  5. Bonni Yerex says:

    Experienced a serious deep vein thrombosis in March of 2005 and recovery was a long one. Trust me, the recliner works like a charm. For six months or so it was just me, my recliner and my mind, alternately empty or forming visualizations of thin, flowing blood and ultimate healing. When I was able I began walking with and used the thump, thump, thump of my footsteps to empty my mind. Thankfully, my dog looks both ways before she crosses the street and knows her way home.

  6. Tee says:

    Something available to every single person at any time of day or night is taking three completely deep mindful breaths. Might take all of a minute, but you will breathe in peace and let out the stress that has accumulated between your practices during the day to take these three breaths. Alternately, one can also take opportunities such as this to send metta. Now seems to be a very good time for that.

  7. markekis says:

    As a music teacher my ears/eyes perked when I read your comment, "Tibetan-Bell type music is the best, because it focuses your attention but, in the absence of melodic structure, doesn’t engage your thinking mind." I have definitely enjoyed the effects of Tibetan Bell music, but hadn't thought about whether that was because of a lack of melodic structure. I wonder if hearing a melody in one's head is the same as hearing a thought (words) in one's head? My intial feeling is that there should be a difference, but then as I write this I realize they are quite similar. Hmmmm. thanks for the post!

  8. Jayney says:

    reading post has inspired me. I read 1 Go somewhere, google searched for a loacl class & i found a class and am going tonight Thankyou. PEACE!

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  13. Thank you for your comment, Patrick. Perhaps it's the case for you, but for my body, lying down doesn't modify the quality of the meditation. Unless I were to fall asleep, as you point out… :-) See my post here:
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/05/is-it-&ldq

  14. Fantastic suggestion! And you're right, it does make a significant difference that carries through the entire day…Thanks for reading and for commenting!

    For more of my posts: http://www.elephantjournal.com/writer/ricardo-das-neves

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