Take meditation off the dreaded to do list and create habits to make meditation as much as a highlight as slipping into bed at night.
Setting ourselves up for an easeful meditation is like preparing for a good night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene starts when you first begin to contemplate sleep in the evening. You dim the lights, have a cup of tea, put your phone on charge, maybe you shower or put pyjamas on, brush your teeth, go into the room where you will sleep, read a little from a book, and then after all that (which as we’re doing it seems basic and takes little effort), we finally lay our head to the pillow and begin to drift off. If you just finished dinner and tried to immediately lay down and sleep the body wouldn’t be primed to drift off. It would be kind of jarring. Trying to meditate without a little bit of prior self-soothing and priming is the same.
So, if you feel frustrated by your meditation practice feeling not so easeful, begin by establishing some consistent habits around your medi times.
1. Meditate in the same place or at the same time - create routine. Set your timer for a specific time. If you learned to meditate with me it’s an 18 minute practice. That could be 18 minutes of just the initial breath work, or 18 minutes in the final stage of transcendent meditation. It doesn’t matter what happens in the 18 minutes (or however long you choose) just sit until the timer ends.
2. Sit in the same position each time and take time to get super comfy - use this as an opportunity to start to move your awareness out of your day/life and into your physical body.
3. Have a pen and paper handy to make a to do list of things that pop up that are tempting excuses to give up on meditation (e.g. “google window cleaners”, “buy mum a birthday present”, “send that email”, etc.). Empty the mind out onto paper before you start or even halfway though if necessary.
4. Affirm something to yourself before you begin - choose a mindset to be in that will be beneficial. For example, “I love the way meditating makes me feel”, “meditating makes me so much more peaceful”, “I easily connect to source when I sit still”, “meditating makes me glow”. Something that is motivating for you.
5. Meditate with the same technique each day. Use a particular practice and be consistent with it rather than chopping and changing all the time. A self-guided practice is a more sustainable lifelong practice than seeking out different guided meditations all the time. If you were stranded and thirsty and searching for a source of water would you be better off digging 100 shallow holes or consistently digging down in one place?