"Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most." ~ Buddha
Many people these days are starting a mindfulness meditation practice with great intentions and lots of enthusiasm. They've heard of the stress-reducing and other health benefits of the practice, and are eager to start meditating. However, few of them stay committed long-term. And those who don't stick with it, will have a hard time dealing with stress in their lives.
There are several reasons why many people quit after a short period of time:
- They don't understand what mindfulness meditation is.
- They're not sure how to get started.
- They don't have a plan for following through.
- They don't have a support group.
Mindfulness meditation is like any other skill, it takes a little time and effort to learn, but it's surprisingly much easier than you might think. You just need a little guidance and the right resources. Here are 5 tips to get you on the right track, and keep you motivated.
1. Write a Goal Statement
Most successful people will tell you that one of the greatest secrets of their success is setting goals. Not having a goal is like trying to get directions from Google Maps without entering a destination. You won't know where you're going, or when you arrive. So, if you want to start a meditation practice and stick with it, then I suggest you establish some goals.
Write down your meditation goals. Decide how long and how often you're going to meditate, and how you're going to learn the techniques. They don't have to be elaborate, but they should be specific. And don't make your goals overly ambitious, or you won't follow through and get discouraged. What I suggest is that you write a short goal statement, and post it some place you'll see it every day, such as your bathroom mirror, or near your computer monitor.
2. Start Meditating for Short Periods
The best way to start a meditation practice is to simply start meditating. I know I'm stating the obvious, but you'd be surprised at how difficult this can be. We often procrastinate until we find the perfect time. Don't wait, start immediately.
Find a quiet place where you can sit for a few minutes without being disturbed. Close your eyes and begin following your breath. Observe how your lungs expand with each in-breath, and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural. As your body relaxes, notice how you take each breath in one graceful motion.
When a distraction arises, observe it mindfully as it comes into being, then let it slip away without clinging to it. Then gently bring your awareness back to your breath.
Start with about a ten minute session, then work your way up to about twenty minutes or more. It may be a challenge to sit still in the beginning, but it will get easier as your mind settles down over time.
3. Practice Writing Meditation
Writing meditation is a new technique to reprogram your subconscious to help you achieve your goals. It only takes about 5-10 minutes a day, and it's highly effective. The premise is simple. You just copy by hand a set of affirmations over and over, and it will force your brain to rewire itself for the new habits. Within a week or two, you'll find yourself acting differently without any conscious effort.
4. Join a Mindfulness Meditation Group
The meditation group is an indispensable tool for helping you stay motivated and committed to your meditation practice. Not only will you benefit from meditating with others, but you will also gain the support of meditators just like you. What I suggest is that you look for a mindfulness meditation group in your area, and attend it regularly. If there aren't any near you, then start your own. It's really simple. All you need are a couple of people to get started.
5. Learn the Practice More In-Depth
Learning the mindfulness meditation practice more in-depth will enable you to get more from your efforts. There are several ways to learn, but probably the most economical way is through a book that explains the principles and techniques, and how to apply them. There are several good books on the market to guide you. Choose one that's easy to understand.
Making a resolution to start meditating is easy, but following through can be a challenge for beginners. These 5 tips will help you get started, and keep you motivated and committed to your practice, so you can learn how to beat stress, and realize true inner peace.