Falling in Love with Meditation

Woman meditatingby Carol Hendershot

“I meditate so that my mind can’t complicate my life.” Sri Chinmoy

When I realized that our theme this month was “Making Practice Enjoyable,” I felt a stab of fear. Communicating the joy of meditation to people who are just beginning to meditate felt really daunting.

Don’t get me wrong; I love meditation, once I get on my cushion. But, just like most meditators, or would be meditators, getting there is a challenge. I can always find something else that needs to be done. Some compelling article to be read, some laundry to do, a class to prepare for… If you’ve ever tried to meditate, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So, how can we “fall in love” with our practice enough to keep us coming back again and again?

  1. First and foremost, remember your WHY! One of my favorite quotes that reflects why I meditate comes from Sri Chinmoy, “I meditate so that my mind can’t complicate my life.”
  2. Download one of those meditation apps with a beautiful bell at the beginning and the end, so you don’t have to keep peeking to see if the time is up.
  3. Start Small – The biggest mistake I think we all make is setting up grandiose expectations. “I’m going to sit for 45 minutes everyday without fail.” My suggestion is to decide what is reasonable and then cut it in half. So, if you think you can do 10 minutes every morning or evening without fail plan to do 5 instead. My guess is that it will start to feel so delicious you’ll want to stay longer. And, when you realize what’s happening in the rest of your day, you’ll even want to do more.
  4. Woody Allen is famously quoted as saying, “80% of success is just showing up.” When you first sit down, take a moment to congratulate yourself on your success. Wow, you’ve arrived!
  5. Start with kindness. Before you do anything else, take a few moments to reflect on your good qualities. That’s right, not the stuff that you think needs to be fixed, but the stuff you’re proud of, all the little things that make you, you!
  6. Once you get that warm and fuzzy feeling going, offer some loving-kindness to someone that’s made a positive difference in your life or someone you love. This can even be your favorite pet.
  7. Now that you are all primed, tune in…feel the sensations in your body as you breathe in and breathe out. Notice if it doesn’t actually feel like waves washing through your body. Stay as long as you like, savoring the sensations of your breath.
  8. Take a moment at the end to offer some gratitude. Think of five little things in your life that make it easier. That first cup of tea or coffee, light bulbs, toothpaste, a good book, cozy socks…

Other things you can add over time.

  1. A scented candle
  2. A meditation cushion
  3. A guided meditation
  4. A creative visualization to get you warmed up
  5. A brief yoga practice or walking meditation