27 Nov Make Meditation an Everyday Habit
There are a lot of different ways to meditate. Choosing the ‘perfect’ way to practice meditation might seem like an arduous task. However, it’s also a pointless endeavor. The goal of meditation is to not find the ‘perfect’ method, it’s to form this habit in the easiest and simplest way. So, we are going to make our method as simple as possible.
- Commit to just 2 minutes a day. Start slow if you want the habit to stick. You can do it for 5 minutes if you feel good about it, but 2 minutes each day is a good place to start.
- Pick a time and trigger. Not an exact time of day, but a general time, like the morning when you wake up, or during your lunch hour. The trigger should be something you already do regularly, like drinking your first cup of coffee, brushing your teeth, having lunch, or arriving home from work.
- Find a quiet spot. Sometimes early morning is the best, before others in your house might awaken and start making some noise. Others might find a spot in a park or on the beach. It really doesn’t matter where — as long as you can sit without being bothered for a few minutes. A few people walking by your park bench is fine, so don’t fret over them.
- Sit comfortably. Don’t fuss too much about how you sit, what you wear, what you sit on, etc. An easy way is to sit on a pillow on the floor, with the back leaning against a wall. Those who can sit cross-legged comfortably might do that instead. Still, others can sit on a chair or couch if sitting on the floor is uncomfortable. Zen practitioners often use a zafu, a round cushion filled with kapok or buckwheat. Don’t go out and buy one if you don’t already have one. Any cushion or pillow will do, and some people can sit on a bare floor comfortably too!
- Start with just 2 minutes. This is really important. Most people will think they can meditate for 15-30 minutes, and they can. But this is not a test of how strong you are at staying in meditation — you are trying to form a longer-lasting habit. And to do that, you should start with just two minutes. You’ll find it much easier to start this way, and forming a habit with a small start like this is a method that is more likely to succeed. You can expand to 5-7 minutes if you can do it for 7 straight days, then 10 minutes if you can do it for 14 straight days, then 15 minutes if you can stick to it for 21 straight days, and 20 if you can do a full month!
- Focus on your breath. As you breathe in, follow your breath in through your nostrils, then into your throat, then into your lungs and belly. Sit straight, keep your eyes open, softly focused on the ground. If you want to close your eyes, that’s also fine. As you breathe out, follow your breath as it comes back into the world. If it helps, count … one – breath in, two – breath out, three – breath in, four – breath out … when you get to 10, start over. If you lose track, start over. If you find your mind wandering (and you will), just pay attention to the wandering mind, then bring it gently back to your breath. Repeat this process for the few minutes that you meditate. You won’t be very good at it at initially, but you’ll get better with practice.
And that’s it. It’s a very simple practice but do it for 2 minutes, every day, after the same trigger each day. Do this for a month and you’ll definitely form the great habit of meditation.