Starting Your Personal Meditation Practice at Home
If you participate in a meditation group, or a Yoga class, there is always a desire to practice at home. Sometimes, meditation groups meet for a session and slowly disband. Now, you have decided to continue where your group left off.
On the other hand, you may be a complete beginner and perhaps you have read, or heard, about the many benefits of meditation; but where do you start and what are some valuable tips? Which form of meditation would be best to start with? Whether you have practiced before, or not, the following tips are designed to help you develop a steady meditation practice at home.
Make a Personal Meditation Appointment
Making a sincere appointment with yourself, and putting it in writing, is the first step. In this way, you can form a regular time to begin and end your daily practice. Most people find it easier to meditate in the early morning or late at night. When your house becomes quiet, this is the best time to meditate.
Whether you choose morning or night is not important. If you are an early riser, morning is a logical choice. However, if you have difficulty getting up in the morning, meditating at night will work best for you. You may be told that morning is the optimum time for meditation, but if you are currently having trouble getting to work on time, why would you choose to shorten your sleep cycle?
Here is a sound reason for rising early: Once you form a habit of waking early, within a day, or two, you will begin to go to bed earlier. Your sleep cycle will naturally default to the same amount of sleep. This is much similar to how your body adjusts when traveling through time zones.
Yet, some people resist waking up earlier, as if it were “the plague.” If you fall into this category, there is no need to cause inner turmoil, just make an appointment to meditate at night.
How Long Should My Meditation Sessions Last?
The average guideline, for a meditation session, is 20 minutes for a minimum practice. Many advanced practitioners have longer sessions because meditation has become a rewarding experience.
If you have set aside the time, the amount of time practicing is not as important as the quality of the experience. For example: If you manage to focus your mind and reach a state of awareness, the amount of time it takes is irrelevant.
Twenty minutes of fidgeting and self-judgment is a waste of meditation time, but it is a lesson in patience and developing inner calm. This experience will frustrate you and serve as an obstacle to your meditation practice, but the deeper reward is to learn from past mistakes. In some cases, you would be better off to try 5 to 10 minute sessions, just to make a habit of training your mind toward tranquility.
Sessions that bring about states of relaxation will eventually develop into a deeper meditation experience. This also brings attention to the frame of mind you have before meditating: Approach each session without judgment. Approaching each session, without self-criticism, sets the foundation of your practice.
This also explains why some people cannot meditate without the guidance of a teacher. We often talk about “mind chatter,” but it is usually random and unorganized thought. In the case of constant self-criticism, this is also a form of negative mind chatter, which serves to work against us.
Everyone has negative thoughts, but most of them are fear based and are not rooted in reality. We all have the potential to purge negative thoughts from our minds, if we choose to do so. This is why meditation is so valuable – you have the ability to change everything around you by cultivating positive thought.
Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications