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I’ve struggled with establishing my own meditation practice for years.
It wasn’t until I decided that sitting for one minute a day was enough. I also learned that my mind does summersaults, and I’ll never be able to shut her up. It’s okay. Perfection is not what meditation is about. Meditation is a mini time-out so we can tap into something deeper. But it won’t happen right away. First, we established the practice of sitting every day, then we embark on a meditation practice.
Start with giving yourself permission and give up the idea that the practice should be X amount of time or that the mind should be still. We limit ourselves if we have this preconceived notion of the experience before we even begin. There have been countless times that I thought meditation was just not for me. Establishing a steady practice will come with challenges along the way and there are countless benefits to sitting every day.
What if we can take away all the preconceived notions of what meditation is “supposed to be” and just sit for one to five minutes anyway and take a couple of deep breaths and let the mind chatter? The point is just to practice sitting. Just like when people are training for a marathon, they are taught that if they don’t have a good run and need to walk, then just walk. It’s about learning to spend that much time on your feet. Sitting every day for any length of time is just practicing sitting. It’s creating a new story about what we can do, instead of looking for confirmation for why we can’t.
Daily sitting is the practice of rewiring the brain and creating a habit in the body and mind. This habit, with consistency, will become so ingrained that there will no longer be the question of wondering if you have time to meditate. You’ll meditate without hesitation.
How to build a practice
Find a comfortable seat in a quiet room. It doesn’t need to be a big space, or with an altar adorned with pictures of spiritual teachers, incense, or crystals. I have a girlfriend who meditates in her closet. I have sat on the edge of my couch for only a few minutes at a time when I didn’t have a lot of time to sit.
Start like this:
>> Find a comfortable seat in a chair or on the floor
>> Set a timer for one to five minutes
>> Sit up tall with a long spine and soft shoulders
>> Close your eyes
>> Take three deep breaths
>> When the mind pulls you away (because it will), take a few more deep breaths
>> Or, use a guided meditation—guided meditations are a good introduction for beginners
Every time you take your seat, it will be an entirely different experience. Create the mindset that some days you’ll be able to practice more, and some days it will be less. Sometimes the mind will be chatting up a storm and other days you’ll experience peace and bliss.
Let every experience be okay. Know that every time you sit, the practice of meditation will grow deeper in your body, mind, and spirit.