Here are four very simple tips for turning your dabbling, on and off, casual, swinging, it-loves-me-it-loves-me-not relationship with meditation into a daily practice that actually helps you. I will be talking about a similar topic tomorrow night at the Shambhala Center of New York. Hope to see New Yorkers there. It’s supposed to be cold, but not as cold as it is in the Midwest right now!
1) Establish a space. Before you do another session, create space for it, even if it takes an hour. Instead of just sitting in a messy corner you carve out in a rush, on some old pillows you threw together, create a real space in your home for your practice. Get a real cushion, and set up a little altar which is personal to you. It could be just a picture of somebody who inspires you and a candle. That simple. But we need a space that reminds us of our practice every day.
2) Connect daily with friends who meditate. The Interdependence Project has two groups on the insight timer app, which is a great tool for social networking and meditation. Don’t worry, it’s not Tinder :-). Even better than an app would be to set up a buddy system where you get 2 to 4 friends who meditate together, and set up an email or text message system every day were you just checking after successfully meditating. IDP includes this as part of our year-long immersion program. It works great.
3) Take a Real Course. Of course, you could just read a book or listen to a podcast, but an ongoing course is much better because of the study aspect, as well as the group aspect, and especially the accountability aspect of sticking with practice for, let’s say, 4 to 6 weeks. I’m teaching this online course “Finding Your Path” that starts next week. If you are near a Shambala Center, I would highly recommend one of the “Meditation in Everyday Life” courses.
4) Take the Long View. There’s a reason we call this a path. At this point we’ve all been through enough New Year’s resolutions to know that we are going to face resistance and hard times with any health practice. We should think about the kind of relationship to our mind we want to cultivate several years from now, not 10 minutes from now. Expect resistance, expect obstacles, forgive yourself, and then show up to practice again.
Happy 2014. Let’s make it a great one.
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