Anandi’s mini guide to maintaining your meditation practice
I meet lots of people who are convinced they’re just unable to meditate. They’ve tried, perhaps numerous times, but they just can’t do it.
There is this big myth out there that when you meditate, your mind is empty – so if you sit down to meditate, and you start thinking about what to cook for tea, you’re not doing it properly, you’re failing, you can’t do it.
People tend to think that those of us who meditate don’t have those pesky thoughts when we’re meditating. The truth is, everyone does. It’s how you react to them that makes the difference!
Your mind is a thinking machine – it wants to do its job!
When we sit down to meditate, we try to make our minds focus only on the object of meditation. The mind’s instant reaction to this is to feel that it’s being forced into a cage and can’t expand. With practise, the mind comes to understand there is no cage, and that it can expand into the infinite. In actual fact, our thoughts are the cage or prison. If we can stick with our practise, while our mind tries to make us get up and clean the kitchen or walk the dog or go to bed or watch X Factor, eventually we will get past that initial phase.
Here are my keys to meditation:
- Stick with it! Commit yourself to 40 days, and make sure you stick to it – even if most of those 40 days are spent trying to ignore the itch on the end of your nose! You need to give your mind time to settle, and meditating every now and then when you’re in the mood is not the way to do that!
- Do it at the same time every day, preferably early morning – before your mind has woken up and become preoccupied with all the things we think about during the course of the day.
- Don’t make excuses. I’m sure you can come up with 10 cast iron excuses right now, as to why you couldn’t or shouldn’t meditate first thing tomorrow morning. If you want to start to meditate, get on and do it. Ignore the excuses!
- Prepare your space. Things like candles, incense and deities can help to bring you into your meditation space – as can a nice bell timer on your mobile to chime at the beginning and end of your practise.
- Remember that your mind will make excuses. Sometimes we think there’s a real reason we can’t meditate – but really what’s actually happening is that the mind is scared of this new territory called peace and space; it’s not used to it, and will do anything to avoid it – which is why your nose always itches within 5 minutes of beginning your meditation!
Give yourself the gift of meditation