#10 – Minimize interruptions
This can be done by eliminating anything external that can disturb your concentration. Lower the volume on your phone, close the door, close your eyes and for the time being leave the ordinary world behind. It is also helpful to let your friends and family know that during this time you don’t wish to be interrupted. If, while meditating, one part of your mind is listening for the doorbell, or is ready to jump up if the phone rings, or to come out if someone wants to talk, it will be very difficult to concentrate.
#9 – Meditate at the same time of the day
Experienced meditators find that if they always meditate at the same time of the day, say, 6:00 am and 5:30 pm, then when that time of day occurs, their mind naturally enters a meditative state. Optimum times for meditation are usually around sunrise and again sometime around sunset.
People beginning meditation frequently report having difficulty finding the time to meditate. Writing out your daily schedule and then brainstorming all sorts of different ways to make time may help to get over this hump. Regular meditation can reduced the amount of sleep you feel you need due to the deep state of physiological rest during meditation. You may gain as much as 1-3 hours of usable time.
#8 – Practice twice a day regularly
If one sincerely desires to explore meditation, it is important to establish a regular habit. Most meditation practices recommend that you meditate twice a day—in the morning to prepare for the day’s activities, and in the evening to ensure a deep, restful sleep. This twice a day meditation ties us in with the world’s daily rhythms and helps to establish a rhythm and harmony in our life. It is important to maintain this regularity. Even if there is an “emergency” (like being late for work), take 5-10 minutes to meditate.
#7 – Meditate in the same place
Try to arrange a corner or even a small room for your meditation practice. Keep it clean and fresh and try to do your meditation there all the time. When you go to that spot, your mind will naturally want to meditate. Of course, you can meditate anywhere – in an office or a car, on the bus, outside – but it helps, especially in the beginning, to have a quiet and special place.
#6 – Meditate with a light stomach
After eating, the energies of the body are directed toward the digestive processes at the expense of the mental processes (we have all noticed the sluggishness that follows a heavy meal). Because meditation requires alertness, concentration, and mental energy, it is helpful to do it with an empty stomach. If you are really famished, take a glass of juice or milk or a light snack. If your body is really hungry, your meditation may be distracted.
#5 – Sit in a comfortable, erect posture
Concentration is enhanced with a straight back. Slumping or slouching impedes mental energies, impairs breathing, and diminishes mental alertness. So it is important to sit as straight as possible. A firm surface is very helpful. Gentle stretches or warm-ups can help to prepare the body for meditation. Most of the early yoga postures were designed to help people sit with a straight back for long periods of time while they meditated. Some people find that putting a blanket or small pillow underneath their seats alleviates pressure on the knees and induces better posture by elevating the spinal column.
#4 – Keep good company
One of the greatest supports through the ups and downs of your spiritual journey is time spent with others who are treading the path of meditation. This mutual support helps you to find answers to questions, gain inspiration, strengthen the will force, and learn from others who are more advanced in their practice. Weekly group meditations are also a great help for the serious meditator.
#3 – Read spiritually elevating books
The intellect, which has to keep quiet during meditation, also needs scope for growth and development. Therefore, it is recommended that one set aside some time each day for reading spiritually uplifting books. After meditation is a good time to take a few minutes for this, as the mind is clear and calm and more easily absorbs ideas.
#2 – Talk to a meditation teacher
Teachers of meditation can answer questions about meditation and teach you a personal meditation technique. Many problems or difficulties you may be having with meditation can easily be solved with the help of a qualified teacher. So never miss the opportunity for a consultation with a teacher.
#1 Be persevering
Many people experience a sense of discouragement or frustration when the results of their first few meditations do not measure up to their expectations or hopes. You may find when you sit down to meditate, many thoughts arise in your mind. You set your mantra going and then drift off to something else. Sounds and noises from without may sidetrack your internal concentration and your body may become restless. At times like these, one can easily get discouraged and think nothing is happening. However, many of the benefits of meditation come from deep within the mind and do not show themselves immediately. By constantly bringing your mind back to the mantra, you are building up your capacity to hold your mind steady.
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