I’d love to have a penny for every person whose told me that they wish they could meditate, but… (insert an excuse here).  I get it.  As simple as meditation is on the surface, it is a very difficult thing to do in this fast paced world.  The picture above is a lovely stereotype for how meditation looks and feels…However, when we first start meditating, it’s easy to feel like a failure because we don’t attain the above ideal.  It has taken me years and years of trying to actually develop a regular practice.  And honestly, I still fall off the wagon sometimes.  Here are some things I’ve learned along the way to help me get back on.

  1. Set a reasonable, do-able amount of time.  5 minutes?  10?  You can always go longer if you feel like it.  But if the amount of time feels daunting to you, you will find excuses not to do it.
  2. Set a timer so that you don’t have to think about the time.  Often you will be surprised at how quickly time goes by.
  3. Make sure you are sitting comfortably.  It is fine to use a chair or sit against a wall, but maintain good posture so you don’t get sleepy.  Experiment with different configurations such as pillows, blankets, meditation stools, etc.
  4. Meditate first thing in the morning.  If it’s the first thing you do, you won’t get distracted.  Don’t allow yourself to do anything else first (except maybe pee).
  5. Meditate every time you get a chance.  Waiting for a friend, in line at the bank, stuck in traffic.  The more you do it, the better you’ll get at dropping into it.  Tie a string around your wrist as a reminder to meditate whenever an opportunity presents itself.
  6. Meditate in a group.  I’ve found that meditating in a group is far easier than doing it alone.  This is especially true if you have experienced meditators in the group.  Many places have ongoing groups already established and that is obviously easier than starting your own group.  However, if you can’t find a group that works for you, even getting together with one other reliable person will be helpful.
  7. Go on a retreat.  Get used to meditating outside of your every day grind.  The structure and expectations set by the retreat can get you do actually do it.  Then you will at least convince yourself that it is possible and then have one less excuse to not do it.  As you begin to integrate your practice into your normal life, don’t expect yourself to meditate as long or as often as you are able to on vacation.  Use your experience as inspiration and follow the above tips to create a lasting practice.

What am I missing?  Do you have any advice on how to make meditating more accessible to people just starting out?