In this increasingly sped up world we live in, many of us now believe that effective meditation is a great way to deal with problems, live in the moment, and of course manage stress.
Aristotle once quoted ….. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
If you agree with this ancient Greek philosophers perception on excellence and have been intending to replace some old negative habits with some new and life changing ones, then meditation is the best place to start.
You’ll find creating other new and rewarding disciplines far easier to establish once you’ve grasped the 7 habits of highly effective meditation below:
1. Commit to “half of tiny.” Anytime we introduce something new, we tend to run into resistance. At first the motivation will be there, but “life” gets in the way. Here’s why: we try to solve our entire problem all at once. Have you ever done this?: Decide you’re going to lose 30 pounds… Make an extra $30k per year… Remodel your house… Publish a book… Run a marathon…
You get into a frenzy of activity and then get totally overwhelmed – How am I going to fit this into my schedule? How am I going to manage this extra “thing”? I don’t know what I’m doing! And you quit.
So don’t look at “life-changing.” Look at lifestyle. To create the meditation habit, commit to just a few minutes a day. Not 30, not 20, just however many minutes feels realistically doable to you each day. 10 minutes? 5 minutes? 2 minutes? Whatever it is, it’s right for you.
Now: Commit to half of that. And then do it every day, until it feels natural and normal.
2. Be aware of resistance. These urges can arise unnoticed and if we act on them, we don’t take action on the habit. So whenever you think about “not” meditating, bring your attention to the resistance. Being mindful of these rationalizations and urges takes away their power!
3. Pick a consistent time of day. This is the easiest way to make meditation part of your routine. Remember you’re meditating in super tiny chunks so it’s not going to be a disruption.
4. Pick a trigger activity to “link” your practice to. For example, you may get pleasure from having a cup of coffee in the morning. Link that to your meditation practice! Put on the coffee pot and go meditate for your teeny chunk of time. Link the pleasure of your morning coffee routine with the emerging pleasure of your emerging meditation routine.
5. Be comfortable! If people were told that to meditate “properly” they had to twist their legs into Lotus, or even half-lotus, many would not meditate at all. Don’t fuss too much about how you sit. Or, for that matter, where. There is no wrong way to “be,” after all.
6. Relax… and be okay with a wandering mind. Your mind will wander, and you might feel frustrated and mad that you can’t make it shut up. I can teach you to quiet your mind (it’s surprisingly easy) but, most of the time, simply being aware of your mind’s travels is best.
Effective meditation is about being in the moment. Since most of our thoughts are “yesterday” and “tomorrow” it’s easy to lose sight of the moment. So just practice bringing yourself back to now. Your mind wanders off to a fight you had with your significant other… notice that and tell yourself, “hey, I’m thinking about something in the past!” That’s enough to break that thought loop and bring you back to the moment.
If your mind persists in going back to that topic, fine. Notice it, and bring it back. Over and over, like a yo-yo, like waves in the ocean, like the breath… back and forth from moment to thought to moment to thought…
7. Relax… and be okay with physical sensations and environmental distractions. Suddenly you’ll develop an itch. A strand of hair will blow across your face. A fly will buzz next to your ear. The neighbor’s dog will bark. That doesn’t mean you’ve broken your meditation, even if you’ve come out of a trance-like state – as long as you don’t get caught up in a domino effect of thoughts triggered by this physical “intrusion,” you’re still meditating.
Awareness of a sensation and practicing non-judgment of it, is a wonderful skill. Say you have an itch. Pause after you notice a sensation; note your discomfort; “be with” the sensation as long as you can, resisting the urge to scratch it – you may notice that by focusing on the sensation of the itch itself, the urge to scratch it may disappear. It’s really fascinating to practice this!
These 7 habits will help you create the most wonderful habit of all, meditation. For those of you wanting to speed up the meditation process using LifeFlow, even though the full audio entrainment process takes approximately 7-8 minutes, don’t feel that you can’t use LifeFlow while you’re committing to a 2-minute meditation. You can, and it will help you relax which is so helpful when you’re starting out.
As you build your daily practice, you’ll find that LifeFlow helps you go deep into effective meditation very quickly; stimulating the release of serotonin, dopamine and other feel-good chemicals – and this pleasurable feeling will help cement the habit!
Let meditation be an integral part of your everyday routine with these easy steps!