“To a mind that is still. The whole universe surrenders.” — Anonymous
You may have heard of meditation or even practiced it for a while. With so many thoughts clouding your mind, you were not sure if you were doing it right. Maybe you got bored in the process or didn’t experience any of the claimed benefits. Maybe you couldn’t find time for it with all the other demands in your life.
Eventually, you gave up.
Meditation is known to reduce anxiety and stress, enhance focus and resilience and have a strong positive impact on the physical wellbeing. And yet, most people who start meditation will quit within a few weeks.
The reason is simple.
They didn’t create an environment to be successful.
When you train for a marathon, you need to understand the entire training process, create a routine for your practice, get coaching or advice from those who have experienced it and keep a track of your progress.
Learning to meditate is the same, but for the mind. It will become an inherent part of your life. But how do you get there?
In this article, I’m going to outline 5 simple steps that will help you get back on meditation and master it.
1. Kill Your Expectations
Meditation is not like running. You will not feel the blood pumping into your veins or the rush of finishing a few miles.
Meditation is not like Yoga. You won’t feel like your body has opened up after the session.
Meditation is not like pottery. At the beginner level, you will not feel the flow and won’t get the satisfaction of creating something.
If you have expectations associated with other forms of recovery from meditation, it will fail you. Once you get rid of what you would like to experience, only then will you experience the true value of meditation.
2. Fix Your Mat, Fix Your Time
If you believe you can change — if you make it a habit — then the change becomes real.” — Charles Duhigg, The Power Of Habit
Most people leave meditation at the mercy of their schedule. When they do make up their mind, they spend a few minutes to decide where they will meditate. These simple decisions add fatigue to your already overworked mind and your willpower will give up on bad days. If you are not regular, it won’t become a habit. If it doesn’t turn into a habit, you won’t experience the benefits. Without doubt, you will quit.
If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us. — Dr. Marshall Goldsmith”
You have to create an environment where it takes minimum effort to start meditation.
- Find a corner in your house and make it your meditation spot.
- Find a time in the day when you can meditate without distractions on most days.
With these two decisions out of your way, you can focus on the exercise of mind.
After a few weeks, even on the days you are traveling, your body will remind you to meditate at the same time. Even if you miss your practice for a few days, when you are back home, the meditation corner will easily help you to get started started again.
Make these two changes today. You owe this to yourself.
3. Join a Community
Meditation is difficult.
Willpower for daily practice will gradually reduce.
The initial enthusiasm and desire to succeed will seem like a distant memory.
You have to anticipate this and then build a mechanism to get back your motivation.
As per Daniel Coyle, author of “The Talent Code”:
“When we look at someone we want to become and we have a really clear idea of where we want to be, it unlocks a tremendous amount of energy. Look, they did it. I can do it. It sounds very basic, but spending time staring at the best can be one of the most powerful things you do”
Join a community of meditators. It’s that simple.
Observe the best meditators by joining an active group, on whatsapp, facebook or instagram. There may be paid classes in your city or a community center that organizes group meditation on a weekly basis. If not, join a virtual class or organize a session at your home. If you can’t find a group, but know a few meditators, go ahead and create your own group.
- You will end up meeting someone who is more advanced than you or has overcome challenges you are facing right now.
- You will not feel alone in the process.
- You will get inspiration on a daily and weekly basis.
- Your motivation will return and you will get the strength to continue.
- You will soon be surrounded with people whose influence will make it impossible for you to quit.
4. Build Peak Experiences
“Joy comes later on, first comes the hard work. Success is for those who persist till then” — Unknown
When you learn to drive, it isn’t fun for the first few weeks. You are scared of every vehicle on the route and it feels like work. However, one day the streets are empty and you press the pedal. It feels like you are flying. You feel the euphoria. This experience motivates you to get better.
You have to build peak experiences in your meditation to persist.
Gratitude meditation, Forgiveness meditation and Loving Kindness “metta” meditation are three powerful techniques to get peak experiences of love, peace and calmness immediately.
Listen to the guided meditations for the first few days and customize it for the duration that is feasible at the end of your practice.
If you are consistent in your meditation, you are growing without knowing. These techniques have their own psychological benefits and will give you validation to continue.
5. Track Yourself
“Of all the things that have been helpful to me in personal growth and goal achievement, using my journal daily is at the foundation” — Dr. Benjamin Hardy, author of “Willpower Doesn’t Work”
You need to journal your actual experience of meditation to understand the subtle changes you’ll undergo.
It is very small in the beginning. You are able to concentrate well in a session, note it down. You stay calm in a situation that would have given you anxiety, note it down. Create personal evidence for the progress you are experiencing every week. This will serve as a great source of encouragement when you feel like quitting.
The benefits of meditation will compound over time. It will change your outlook, your clarity, your compassion so strongly that you would need no journal to convince yourself. But for today, get a journal. Become your own judge in this process.