For the purposes of this article? Yes, Allen Iverson! We are talking about practice.
Below are 4 easy tips about starting your own meditation practice that I have found to be useful.
Tip #1: Come to meditation with an open mind and a commitment to change
You don’t have to come to meditation with a clear mind, but it is crucial to come with an open mind. Everything that I thought meditation provided has changed and shifted shapes over the course of the 3 years I have been practicing. That’s not to say that it won’t meet some of your expectations, but allowing meditation to arise as whatever it does during your initial phase of developing a practice will help you to strengthen your non-judgmental mind and apply it to anything that comes into your field of awareness down the road. This will also help you to commit yourself to change by accepting whatever happens during your meditation. It’s not always easy navigating your mind, but it is always worth it.
Tip #2: Find your Minimum Achievable Dose
As I talked about in my last blog post “I think, therefore I meditate”, it’s not about the amount of time that you meditate for, it’s about the consistency of doing it everyday. I think about meditation just as I do building any habit, you first need to show your mind that this is a useful tool to use in the future by doing it consistently. Richard Davidson at the Center for Healthy Minds says that you can receive brain-changing effects with a daily dose of 9 minutes of meditation. You don’t have to start off with 9 minutes though, find what fits your schedule and find the amount of time that you will be willing to do everyday, for at least a month. Once the month is up, I’d bet that you will be content with continuing and maybe even increasing your meditation time. If I’m wrong, please let me hear about it!
Tip #3: Find a quiet and preferably dark place when you’re starting out
Our mind will talk enough during the course of our meditation, so eliminating as many distractions as we can as we’re trying to build a practice will help to keep us coming back!
Tip #4: Do it at the same time each day
Just as with building any habit, doing it at the same time every day will help to further engrain this habit in your routine. I find that doing it first thing when I wake up is most beneficial to me to help set the tone for the day. Lunchtime or right before going to bed can also be great times to do your meditation practice, just make sure that you’re not nodding off before your meditation practice has ended, at least while you’re developing the habit!
These things will make you well equipped to establish a practice of your own. Commit yourself to trying it for a month with these tips in mind, and I think you will find meditation to be beneficial in your life!
–Nick Zolfo, Wellness Consultant with LulaFit
This is post #3 in Nick’s series on meditation practice.