Following my invitation to take on a daily meditation practice a few of you asked to try and introduce meditation as a more regular part of your daily life which makes me very happy. Although I’ve correspondent with some of your and talk with a few I thought I’d better write down a few pointers on how to begin.
We discussed taking in a challenge until Christmas but of course I encourage you to sustain the practice well beyond that.
Setting your intentions
First of all clarify to yourself why you want to take on regular meditation practice. What really matters to you. What you expect to get out of this practice. Clarify it and write it down. So you can always go back and remind yourself what really matters to you.
I always find it beneficial to take baby steps when introducing a new habit or a change of behaviour so my advice is to begin to practice gradually. For the first week sit only twice a week – excluding our Tuesday meetings (altogether three times).
Planning your weekly schedule
Look at your weekly and daily schedules and decide
- What days will be suitable for the next couple of weeks.
- What time during the day will be suitable – morning/ noon/ evening
- How long you want to sit for 10/15/20/30 minutes.
- Weekend practice – I suggest that one of those days will be a slightly longer sit over the weekend so the mind is less bubbly and more relaxed.
How to practice
It is important that you know exactly what and how you practice before you sit. Beginn with placing your awareness on the rising and falling movement of the breath and then allowing everything to be what it is and label every mental or physical formation. Go back to the foundation for insight practice and the art of labeling posts for detailed practice instructions.
Spiritual practice is a discipline. It is a training of our minds, bodies and hearts to be with everything. So sit for the whole duration of time you intended to. Do not cut your designated meditation shorter then planned , even and especially, if it is extremely uncomfortable. Even if you are bored, restless, resentful or simply wishing you could be doing anything but that just be with it. Allow that to be. Accept that this is where you are at that moment and then let it go. But even more important than that the practice BEGINS when you are stepping out of your comfort zone….
But the spiritual path is mainly an inclination of the heart towards the mystery of life. So if you feel like sitting more than you set yourself to – sit!! don’t hold yourself. If you feel like sitting an extra time during the week or during the day – bless you. Sit and explore what’s going on in your mind. If the heart is inclined to sit and practice allow that and be mindful of the mental and physical formation that accompanies that calling. And let that too, go.
For now all I ask is that you write down your intenstions for practice and the days and times that you intend to sit. Please also write what is your meditation sign. You are welcome to send me a short email with the technical details. In the future I will introduce the meditation diary and we will discuss it further.
A meditation Sign
Please also try and find a meditation sign so that you will apply mindfulness on a more mundane basis throughout your days.
In the coming next weeks you will gradually increase the number or times and length of sessions you sit. You will also have the choice to introduce more meditations on compassion and loving kindness to your daily practice.
In addition, I will offer some ideas and exercises on how to keep the practice and attitude of insight, love and compassion on a more mundane basis and ask you to try and play some fun games with me.
Try not to skip any of our Tuesday meetings until Christmas as these meetings set the foundations for your practice and also give an opportunity to ask questions etc.
I plan to hold two half-day meditation retreats in November and December so if you take the challenge I ask you to attend both mornings and give practice a deeper go. It will be over the weekend. I will know more details in the coming few days.
There is a also possibility to see me in person should you find that necessary or beneficial. Contact me and we will discuss the details.
I do hope this summary is helpful. I am open to any questions or clarifications.