How do you start a meditation routine?
Before we begin with the ideal meditation routine let’s create a daily meditation practice habit of doing so you can experience the many benefits meditation has to offer from your efforts.
I could guide you through the most simple relaxing meditation process yet if you don’t fall into the habit of doing on a regular basis there is little you will gain from your efforts especially at the very beginning.
This may change later as you incorporate a more spiritual existence and begin to live and breath the very essence of spiritual life but it takes time and effort to reach such a transcendence state.
Wanting to start meditation is one thing consistently practising meditation on a daily basis is another. Thus, creating a habit of doing from the beginning is crucial if you want to realise the many benefits meditation has to offer.
Creating A Meditation Practice Habit Loop
A habit is a 3 step model that goes through a cycle better known as the habit loop. The steps include…
1/ The Cue is the trigger that prompts the behavior, a cause that leads to a habit;
2/ The Routine is the act, the behavior itself that’s being performed; and
3/ The Reward is the benefit of doing, the effect or outcome of the behavior after the habit has occurred.
Thus when you are thinking about the habit you want to ingrain into your life…”to consistently meditate daily” think beforehand of the routine and what it consists of and how you could tweak, adjust and improve it.
Also look at the reward or the benefits, what will you get out of consistently meditating everyday…which I will outline and articulate later in the article.
Furthermore as I have explained in a previous post knowing exactly what you want to achieve beforehand from your daily meditation is crucial to the level of consistency you will show and the benefits you achieve. So CLARITY of THINKING of PURPOSE should be part of your initial preparations before learning how to meditate.
Once you have understanding of WHY you are want to meditate daily the next step is to create a trigger to ignite the HABIT of DOING.
Now we are all different, and thank God for that so our WHY’s are different and so will the trigger or cue but let me give you an example to work off and to get your creative juices flowing a little.
Say you set up a room in your house especially for meditating and every time you walk in the room at a particular time of day it sets off a cue…”I need to meditate” – it’s the trigger of I need to meditate now. The act of meditating becomes the routine and the feeling of accomplish after the meditative session becomes the reward…the benefits of actually meditating.
The reward connection tells the brain at that time tomorrow when you walk into your meditation room it’s time to position yourself to meditate. In order to receive the benefits of the previous session. It then becomes an accumulative effect and if the cycle completes itself enough it becomes automatic, mindless and a habit, a behavior is formed.
So now that you know how to create a behavior, a habit of doing let’s talk about how do you start a meditation routine.
How Do You Start A Meditation Routine
Starting a meditation routine will prove a difficult task at the beginning because of the confusion surrounding what it is you are trying to accomplish and how do you go about doing it. Once confusion sets in frustration takes over because you aren’t getting the results you seek and desire. Frustration leads to anger until you either give up or look for alternatives.
Let’s see if I can steer you in the right direction to avoid at least some of the pitfulls.
The first question I get asked is “how long should you meditate to see results”.
Now you aren’t going to like the answer…everyone is different!!
And thank God we are….
But I’m going to lay it out from experience, when I first sat down to meditate 2 minutes was like an eternity, no bullshit, 2 minutes….you got to be kidding me….nah a full 2 minutes.
The mind’s blabber was in overdrive that my head nearly exploded and the sitting position drove me into a fidget frenzy.
At my peak I have meditate for over an hour in the morning and at night for months on end…so please do not despair, be persistent, be consistent.
Understand that according to LeftBrainBuddha – “Some researchers have found that as little as 12 minutes a day of meditation over an eight-week-period can produce noticeable changes in the brain, decrease levels of anxiety, and increase immune function and overall happiness and well-being.”
So don’t beat yourself up even if you only last a few seconds, come back again the next day as per our habit loop and start the process all over again, again, again and again…your progress will surprise you. Time meditating will pass very quickly…
However a word of warning, like anything, life will interfere with all good intentions and some days along your journey you may dip a little, meditating will feel like a chore and 12 minutes again will feel like forever and you will struggle.
Again don’t be alarmed and just work your way through it. Work your way through the habit loop. Accept the challenges along the journey, yes it’s a journey not a sprint to the finish line. There’s no winners or losers just those doing, experiencing, contemplating through the maze.
I hope this has answered your question of “how much should you meditate per day? “
Eventually it will be up to you and your circumstances how long does your lifestyle permit you to spend exercising the mind to chill out, to relax, to let your energy flow naturally with the hope of connecting to some higher force within you…
It all comes down to desire. What are your intentions and desires? This will determine your level of commitment and discipline to do and to fight through the challenges and obstacles constantly holding you back to the existence you seek to escape.
Go back to the why you are meditating further enforce the habit loop and build on the previous days meditation. You will soon determine your own pattern for the results you seek and desire.
First and foremost remember it is a journey a lifelong journey of exploration and experience to learn and grow from…
Here I will share with you a centering process you can practice to get you started, it’s a guided meditation of sorts so try and rehearse it before actually putting it into practice.
Basically get familiar with it before practicing it in real time….allow yourself up to 30 minutes of practice but please don’t beat yourself up if struggle through 10 minutes. The process is only meant to get you started doing until you figure it out for yourself.
What is centering?
David Ryan in his classic book Living Life Without Limits explains it this way…
The hustle and bustle of day to day living with all its negativity and anxieties that we feel and is projected towards us distances us from tuning in with our deeper and inner feelings and our genius qualities. We lose our connection with our true selves.
Thus, to become centered we need to let go of the constant bombardment from the outside, physical world and become more in tune with our inner mental world.
David continues by explaining how we can do this…
“We do this by shutting out as much of this “real” world as possible and retreating to our inner quiet and still mind. This is where the vast storehouse of all knowledge of past, present and future knowledge exists.”
“There are no limitations on any questions you may ask yourself in this inside world and any request you ever make of it will always result in a favourable response.”
The process is about connecting with your intuition. David Ryan explains it as the “Teacher Within You”.
The silent teacher who tries so desperately to talk to you and give you valuable information and insight on what’s going on in your life right now, but most times is drowned out by the noise and the rush of the outer world.
Understand that each and everyone of us has this teacher within us, this quality and gift called intuition. But we don’t connect very well with it in the real world we live in because of the constant distractions around us.
However, when we quieten down, become very still and venture within, it becomes your very true and faithful servant.
“Its knowledge and its access to the seemingly unknown and unknowable is breathtaking.” David Ryan
This how you connect to it and cherish it.
A Centering Technique For You To Start With…
First find a comfortable position in a place where you won’t be disturbed by anyone for at least 30 minutes. Again don’t beat yourself up if you fall short of the 30 minutes just do it…
This area must be a quiet place where there is no noise and where there is plenty of airflow and at a comfortable room temperature.
Now, sit, kneel or lay down with your back straight. Close your eyes and allow your imagination to run wild for as long as you need to. After some time when you feel totally relaxed and comfortable, imagine yourself in a beautiful scenic countryside or beachside setting, where there are no modern conveniences, just peace and tranquility.
When you feel, through your imagination, you are there, tell yourself you are going to move to the very centre of your being, starting at the count of seven down to the count of one. Before you start the count tell yourself you are going to ask your inner all knowing mind what your natural ability is…what your creative genius in this world is…your purpose in this world…
Then very slowly start your count from seven down to one dwelling on each number as you imagine it closely in your mind’s eye. When you eventually get to to the number one, thank you inner mind for taking you there, then start asking yourself silently “What is my Natural Ability?”
Over and over and over again slowly, as if you were saying a mantra or a prayer. Allow in any information, insights, images that comes through, when the right answer comes you will know as one of those “ah-ha” moments or feelings.
When you are finished tell yourself, “I will return to the outer world by counting from one back up to seven, I will open my eyes and feel refreshed and totally alert”.
Don’t stress if you don’t get the answer you seek immediately just trust the process and continue with the meditation routine forming the habit loop. He answer or answers you seek will come…possibly when you least expect them to…
CONCLUSION – Practical Tips For Starting Your Meditation Practice
1/ Understand and seek clarity as to WHY you want to learn how to meditate;
2/ Don’t stress the duration of your meditation session – meditate for as long as you can building upon each session;
3/ Create a habit loop..starting with a trigger that works for you;
4/ Set up an permanent meditation space to meditate in;
5/ Choose the meditation method and position that suits you and the goals you seek and desire;
6/ Let your meditation flow, stay in the moment and don’t force it; and
7/ Be consistent, stay disciplined.
There you go…now it’s up to YOU!!!
Start today, be consistent and enjoy a lifetime of benefits…