It's all over the news and the internet, how beneficial it is to meditate everyday, and you really want to but just can't seem to make it happen, right? Here are 3 keys to having a successful practice. By adopting the 3 "C's" to conquer your practice, you can shift from the hope of doing it to the reality.
"C" is for COMMITMENT
The willingness to do the practice is the very first requirement. I tell my students to think about your WHY?. Why do you want to meditate? If you are like me it's to quell your pervasive anxiety.
- How about to manage stress?
- Maybe you want to become more focused and productive?
- To connect deeply to yourself and others - To live a calmer, happier, healthier life.
These are just some of the many benefits that show up for you with a daily practice. You have committed to going to the gym, to a yoga class or out for a daily run/walk. You make time every day to take care of the things that matter to you. You make appointments for the doctor, to get your hair colored and to have lunch with a friend. You meet your deadlines at work and make sure your kids get to the field on time for their games. Those are all things you are committed to. Have you noticed that for meditation, you have been trying to "find the time to fit it in?" That's just it, you will never "find the time" you need to make the time! When I first started I put "Meditation" in my calendar daily and a reminder came up to let me know it was an appointment I made with myself. Somehow putting on my calendar elevated it's importance. Commit to your practice as you make a commitment to yourself for other things in your life.
"C" is for CONSISTENCY
When I was learning to meditate 10 years ago, I went to a weekly class on Wednesdays. I loved it so much, that Wednesday became my favorite day of the week. I would hear my teacher say "Great you are here for an hour, better you were meditating every day for just 10 minutes". I listened for probably a year before I even attempted to meditate on my own. Yes, just 10 minutes a day is better than 20 minutes twice a week. Consistency is key! We are like Pavlov's dog. Our brains love repetition. Doing the same thing every day is a way to make something a habit. Try to sit at the same time, in the same place. Mornings seem to work best for most people. First thing, on an empty stomach, starting your day off right. If that is not the best time for you, find a time that is. Even if it's short, sitting in meditation quiets the mind and settles the nervous system. On the days you can sit for 20 minutes do that, but don't miss a sit because you can't commit to a full 20 minutes.
"C" is for CHOICE- CHORE OR CHERISH
How do you choose to see your practice; as a CHORE or something you CHERISH. The attitude you bring to your practice helps you to make it stick. As a CHORE, one more thing on your long list of "To Do's". If so, let's face it, you may leave it until the end and not get to it. Can you shift the way you see it to be an activity that you CHERISH? A time for deep self-care, a time that is something you do just for you? It feels so good to spend a few moments in the midst of our crazy, busy lives, just sitting quietly and being and not doing. It's ok, you won't be less productive or lazy, in fact, you will probably get more done in less time as you train your attention through the practice of meditation to be more focused on task. I always feel like it's the only time when no one can find me, a sanctuary all my own. It is the greatest gift I can give to myself and I know I am a better spouse, mom, daughter and friend because I meditate!