It’s easy to put it off till later – oh, yeah, I’ll get around to it tomorrow, or maybe I’ll start when the kids are in college. Here are 4 tips to help it happen sooner rather than later.
1. Let’s groove tonight
You could call it creating a habit, but that sounds so blah. Instead, tell yourself you are creating a psychic groove in time and space, so that your body and mind will start to resonate with the time for meditation and gravitate towards the place when that time arrives. You will eventually create a positive habit, a vibrational groove in space and time. Hmm, that’s funny, why do I feel like breathing deeply and being still right now? Oh, it’s 6 pm, that’s right, it’s meditation time!
Make your space aesthetically pleasing. Have a small table set up with inspiring pictures of people or places. Put a sacred object or two on in. Make it a place that you want to go to, even if it’s just a small corner of a room.
2. Stop telling yourself your not the meditative type
If you really don’t want to have the joy, healing, rejuvenation and refuge a meditation practice offers, then keep telling yourself: “I’m not the meditative type! I’m a very active, busy person. I like to hang out with other people and laugh and have fun. This meditation stuff is for relaxed people, not me!”
What is the meditative type anyway? A monk with a shaved head freezing his tuckus off on a mountaintop somewhere? This is a great stereotype to keep in mind if you are dedicated to preventing yourself from having a fulfilling meditation practice. The fact is that anyone can meditate. All that is required is a little space, a little time, a mind, body and spirit.
It’s even free. And meditation doesn’t mean that you are going to have to stop having fun. Actually some of the most fun-loving people I’ve ever met are dedicated meditators. Meditation helps you take yourself a little less seriously, to take a little less interest in the live-streaming drama, and to be a little more content with the people around you. The only caveat is that you actually have to do it for it to work.
Replace the negative self talk with positive affirmations: “I will meditate today because I love and want to take care of myself and all the people that are important to me.” Or some variation of this that makes you feel good. Negative self talk is a great red flag. Practice seeing it that way. “Hmm. That’s pretty harsh, why am I feeling like this? What needs are unmet? How can I change this?”
3. Get a meditation buddy
Lots of people have running partners, biking partners or tennis or golf buddies. A meditation buddy is the same sort of person, find someone you can meet every day to meditate with. If you live with someone, ask them to be your meditation buddy. If they don’t want to meditate, tell them that they can do shavasana, listen to their i-pod (not loud enough for you to hear too thanks), or read while you meditate, but ask them to support you in your efforts. Ask them to make an agreement that both of you will take 10 minutes twice a day to do something quiet for yourselves together. And who knows, when they see how it affects you, they might want to try it to.
And if you don’t live with or close enough to your meditation buddy, set it up so that you call each other twice a day and check in about meditation. No guilt or questioning motives needed; just a gentle, friendly reminder. Arrange your buddy-ship so that you both meditate at the same time; you both know that at a specific time, you and your buddy will be meditating together for however long you decide upon. That way, you know you are not alone. I mean, you are never alone in this anyway, but meditation can seem isolating. You can feel like you are the only person on the planet who is sitting alone in a room by yourself. This is simply untrue. More and more people are meditating these days and we all need it individually and collectively. The vibration you are helping to create will bring healing not only to yourself, but to your family, community and ultimately the entire world.
4. Even Yo-Yo Ma has to practice
Yoga students and teachers alike frequently tell me that they aren’t good at meditating. But why is it we know that to learn something we have to take lessons and practice, but when it comes to meditation, the most useful skill a human being could acquire, we are just supposed to know how to do it intuitively?
What if you picked up a cello this afternoon and tried to play it? You had never had a cello lesson before. You weren’t sure which strings were which. You didn’t really even know how to hold it. You really love cello music and you would love to learn how to play. So you saw away a bit and it sounds horrible. Then you decide to give up because obviously you have no talent.
Probably wouldn’t happen that way. Because you understand that to be good at the cello, you will have to learn and practice, ask questions, listen and find solutions. That’s how we learn anything, meditation is no different. So remind yourself that you are learning how to do something that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Be kind and gentle with yourself when you feel like you are getting nowhere with it. And be persistent. It’s been around forever, it works and you can do it too.