Meditation doesn’t seem to do anything for us (unlike the quick pick-me-up of a coffee or flick through a news feed).
Sitting in silence doesn’t get us ahead in any of our self-improvement projects (in fact it takes time away from the gym and our to-do lists).
It doesn’t offer to make our lives easier (unlike buying that new, better, faster time-saving thing…), and unlike a holiday away somewhere, it demands something of us, …meditation can easily slip down our list of priorities!
If this happens to you and holding a meditation discipline is important to you, consider the following tips.
– Try naming your meditation time
A name might remind you of what you like about it or remind you of what it is for you. Instead of thinking of ‘meditation’, you might be more into it as something like ‘just sit’ time, my ‘no worrying’ time, my ‘leave myself alone’ time, or ‘rest in being’ time.
If you’re prone to trying to please everyone, this might be a time where you give yourself permission to not enter into thoughts about others’ well-being and get to experience yourself feeling free of trying to be a good mother, a good guy, good at your job… if you feel that you’re always trying to get through something, waiting for something to be over, then this might be a time where you let yourself not go with those thoughts of not being ‘there’ yet and sit in the freedom of them passing on by.
Whatever your motivation for practice is for you at the time, feeling yourself existing before, after and during all of the usual thoughts that drag us around all day, can be very empowering.
Consider this: Are we Addicted to Trying?
– Try not to rate your meditations as ‘good’ or ‘bad’
…especially in terms of how busy your mind was. Talk like this disempowers us.
Sensitive to our environments, minds take on all sorts of flavours, it has nothing to do with you. And although disturbing in itself, a crazed mind or chaotic, restless energy in the body is not a personal failing and neither is the conditional relief that can be experienced from a temporarily stupified mind and body, an accomplishment. Ask any bartender.
– Join a meditation group or start one
Meeting with others once a week can be supportive and encourage you throughout the week.
– If you find that you get sleepy…
Try not to eat for an hour or so beforehand, try some breathing exercises, a cold shower, do it after a run or time in the garden, try gently slapping the body, gazing upwards for a while (holding the eyeballs up stimulates alertness) or keeping your eyes open.
– Know what times suit you
Some find it especially difficult to maintain distance from thoughts in the morning because they feel that they have so much to remember to do in the coming day to make it go right; and some too easily lose alertness or fall asleep in the evening.
Know what times suit you, know that there will always be reasons not to, and that encountering resistance is part of the practice.
– During the working day
Particularly over lunch, some office buildings will let you book office space, some teachers set aside their classroom, people go to their cars, to a park or to graveyards to carve out the time and space for them to sit quietly.
– To focus you before you start
Consider having a quote or some words of something that you’re really into at the moment in your practice to remind you of why you practice, or even why you love this practice…
– Consider making short, dedicated bursts of awareness meditation part of your daily life
So that you don’t go in cold every time you go to sit more formally. Some people like to commit to merely witnessing every time they enjoy a hot drink, get in the shower, do the dishes, or commit to 50 breaths as they gaze out their office widow during their working day.
– Attend a retreat
Pulled from the distractions of daily life, retreat centres are purpose-built to encourage practice. From peaceful and relaxing surroundings to supportive guides and all the details of daily responsibilities being lifted from you, you give yourself the very best opportunity to unwind and sink into your practice.
Attending retreats offers you support where you might be struggling, the comradery of dedicated others, and the immersive environment can inspire your own practice.
Tushita Mystery School offers support in IAM meditation, which emphasises no beliefs, no postures and no trying to master a technique to become a better something; it encourages simply resting in the awareness that exists before, after, in spite of and through all conditions.
Read: Questions about Meditation, answered
In addition to IAM meditation retreats, Tushita Mystery School offers Breathing and Cold Therapy retreats that are combined with IAM meditation. IAM Breathing retreats are especially designed to enhance the body’s natural vitality, which is beneficial for maintaining alertness amongst the pull of thoughts.
Curiously asking yourself what is a mystery school? Hopefully our full article will answer all your questions.
Who wrote this piece? Tushita Mystery School blogs are written by a number of Students at the Tushita Hermitage. Their anonymity supports their self-forgetting practice.