Though techniques are easy to pick up, meditation itself can be hard. Getting your bum on the cushion and keeping it there is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Lots of undesirable feelings can come up – boredom, apathy, “monkey mind” where you are so distracted with thought after thought that you can’t even muster up the tiniest bit of concentration.
Keep a few of the tips below tips in mind (pun intended). When your motivation is lacking you can use them to nudge yourself into a more willing state.
1. Adopt a playful attitude – Don’t worry if you feel you’re not doing it right! If you’re going to start meditating then you’re going to experience frustration. It’s a simple as that. The key is to let it pass and simply return to the breath without chastising yourself in the process. There’s no set method and everybody is different. Say to yourself, “It doesn’t matter if I’m not perfectly implementing this technique or losing concentration, it’s all part of the journey.”
2. Set a schedule and stick to it – Having a regular slot each day for your sitting practice is more important than you might think. Indeed, if you had to choose between occasional long sessions and regular short ones, you should opt for the latter. It’s the consistency that really cultivates permanent calm and concentration.
3. More relaxation is the key to focus – Whenever you feel that you’re distracted, relax more deeply. Take a few deep breaths, feel the sensations in your body and gently, return to the object of your attention. The mistake is in assuming that to concentrate more you need to tense up and “get it down!” This is an error and only leads to more distraction.
4. Remind yourself of the benefits – In the early stages, if you’re struggling to muster the motivation to stick to a practice or see a period of meditation through, remind yourself of the benefits. Emotional well-being, calm, physiological health, greater connectedness with life…these will often work to enliven your desire to continue.
5.Adopt a proper posture – The mind is a funny thing. It tends to associate certain postures with certain activities. By continuously adopting a regular posture, you will be training your mind to get into the “meditative state” more quickly
6. Find a group – Meditation in groups is an incredibly harmonious experience. Whether it’s the collective energy of people coming together or the strange serenity of shared silence I don’t know. But there definitely is a tangible effect.
7. Judge the results subjectively – Determine whether or not your mediation practice is working by judging the results in your own life. Do you feel less stressed? Better able to concentrate? Less at odds with yourself at home and at work? The acid test is your own experience and ultimately the biggest potential source of motivation.
8. Non-judgmentally start again if you derail – Should you lose motivation and stop meditating for a few days or weeks, don’t judge yourself too harshly. Simply accept that it’s normal for this kind of thing to happen and begin again.
Copyright © 2002-2013. All rights reserved