I'm often asked how to make meditation a daily habit.
It's actually very doable.
Meditation might not always feel easy - the monkey mind loves to jump about - but when we accept this and trust the practice it is incredibly simple. It's also a beautiful, transformational practice that takes very little time - as little as a couple of minutes a day.
Here are 4 essential components to what I call 'everyday meditation': meditation that easily fits in with and enhances everyday life beyond measure. I encourage you to give this a try.
Make a space at home that is your meditation space.
I have a 'yoga room' at home. This is nothing grand. It's a very small room. It's where I always practise. I have an altar, some images and yoga props. I keep it clean and uncluttered. As such, a sort of 'practice energy' is always there.
A dedicated room isn't imperative though. A corner or small space anywhere in your home (or elsewhere if you're travelling) will do, as long as it feels quiet, clear, comfortable and 'right' for you. If it helps, have a candle or flowers or something that sets the mood for you. When we use the same space each time it feels good, creates a positive energy over time and is part of a healthy habit.
If you can, come to this place around the same time each day, for example before you have breakfast or leave the house in the morning to set you up for the day. I know that life can be crazy sometimes, so there's no need to be too rigid about this, but again, regularity and consistency make for a healthy, long-lasting habit.
Comfort is key. If you have tight hips, a bad back or sore knees, please don't try to force yourself to sit cross-legged on the floor.
Here are some other options:
Take a chair if necessary. Just have your feet flat on the floor and your spine as straight as possible (for energy flow):
If crossed-legged is ok for you but you find it hard to sit up straight, use cushions under your sit bones and knees. Ideally the hips are higher than the knees. Support keeps the body comfortable and aligned:
If you like the feeling of being on the earth but crossed-legged is not comfortable, you could try this option:
You can also insert some padding under your knees and ankles if you need to.
If you find sitting still difficult, try meditating after you have undertaken some physical activity, whether that's taking a walk (and including some physical yoga) or doing the hoovering!
Simplicity is key. I enjoy quiet. There is so much noise in life and we are only meditating here for 2 minutes after all. These go by in a flash. However, if you find it helpful to begin with, you can always have some gentle music on in the background.
Have a focal point: either an awareness of your breathing or a word/phrase that resonates with you. Some people like to use 'peace', 'all is well', 'love', 'I am infinite' or 'I am breathing in, I am breathing out'.
Once comfortably seated, set a timer for 2 minutes. Eyes and mouth gently closed. Natural breathing. Focus your mind either on your word/phrase or if you prefer the breath, focus your attention on the tip of your nose. Feel the air enter and leave your body through your nostrils. It will feel slightly cooler on the inbreath and warmer on the outbreath.
Every time the mind wanders - to a 'to do' list or a sound outside or whatever - gently and kindly bring it back to your focal point.
After the 2 minutes slowly get up and continue with your day.
4. Oh well
There is no need to have any expectations or goals. No analysis or judgement about how it went. Trust the process and the practice. When we are committed, this really works. It's a great blueprint for being present and having clarity, compassion and creativity in our life too. Bliss.
I once read someone advocate the attitude of 'oh well' when the mind dances around. If it does, it does. No problem. 'Oh well, that's the way it was today, I'll just come back and sit again tomorrow'. Gradually the thoughts lessen and the exquisite spaces between thoughts grow. Just give yourself a chance and keep returning.
The effects of these 2 tiny, quiet minutes each day (or almost every day) are a revelation.
Over time many people naturally feel drawn to sitting for longer. Maybe 5 minutes, then 7 , then 10 up to 20 etc. See how you go. If you want to stick with 2 that's equally great. A little each day is more effective than a lot once a week. Build up your time gradually to make it sustainable.
Worth a try?
If you found this helpful, please feel free to share it with your friends. You can always meditate with a friend, colleague or someone from your family. Share and spread the calm and contentment.
Photos: author's own