Today I Evolve

Make meditation an important part of your day.

Meditation is one of the best things you can do for yourself on a daily basis. Spending time in silence with your mind is something many of us are afraid of. We fear that we may find something we don’t want to see. Usually it’s the opposite. There is beauty in all of us. There is peace in the silence. I challenge you not to be afraid. What lies within can give you so much power. Below are some thoughts and tips I have learned on how to incorporate meditation into your life. I hope you find them helpful.

Create a space that works for you.

There is no RIGHT way to meditate. If anyone tells you that their way is better, they don’t know what they are talking about. I truly believe that meditation can be done in many different ways. What’s important is to find out what makes sense (and feels good) for you. Maybe your “meditation practice” is focusing on your breathing for 15 minutes on the train during your morning commute instead of playing with your phone the entire time. That’s a wonderful place to start! Alternatively, maybe it excites you to make an amazing space in your home that is filled with blankets, meditation pillows, incense, soothing music, and low lighting. You go to this place of peace whenever you can and make a big deal out of it. That’s great too! Whatever makes you feel good and encourages your daily practice, is okay in my book. It’s the process of clearing your mind and spending time with yourself that is most important.

Make meditation a part of your normal schedule.

Many of us realize that meditation is a valuable thing to do. We know it’s good for our mind and our body and often think about giving it a try. However, few of us actually make it part of our daily practice. I find it helpful to think of meditation as a normal part of the day. Think of it this way: If you already have a goal to go to the gym three times per week, why not make a goal of meditating for a short time three times per week as well? I read once that you should compare your meditation practice to something else in life that you consider mandatory. For example, most of us consider showering an important thing to do, so we do it often. Why not do the same for meditation?

Meditate for short periods of time at first.

If everyone meditated five minutes a day, many more lives would be empowered and many more minds would be helped. Start with a small, attainable goal and make it a habit that you will not break. I have created a series of meditation timers for myself that I use daily. On a good day I will meditate for 30 minutes, but I have another timer for 10 minutes that I use if my day is particularly busy. Don’t make an excuse. Even if you only have three minutes, meditate!

Try to smile during meditation.

I learned this technique a few weeks ago and have been using it in and out of meditation. It’s amazing. Simply smiling will immediately put you in a place of ease. Sometimes it can even take me completely out of a sad place. Our bodies (and minds) are so easily fooled. We have been conditioned to associate smiling with a certain feeling inside. Therefore if you meditate with a happy face, you will feel it. Try this outside of meditation too. If you’re feeling stressed, escape into a private room, close your eyes, and smile for 30 seconds. It may feel ridiculous at first, but give it a try.

Meditate with others.

As an extremely introverted person, I don’t like to be in social situations very much. However, I have found meditation in groups incredibly rewarding. When you are sitting in a room with other like-minded people all hoping to better themselves through meditation, you definitely feel a connection. Not only that, but the space is filled with positive, relaxing energy. At home I often have a hard time meditating for long periods of time. Usually my computer is only five feet away from my meditation area and I know that emails are coming in and need my attention. It’s sometimes very hard to break away from the stress of daily life when the only person in the room holding you accountable is yourself. When you meditate with others, it’s very easy to get into the mindset of meditation. I am able to meditate for an hour straight when in the company of Buddhists at my local meditation center. This is something that is much harder to do on my own. There’s no shame in taking inspiration from others. Many towns have a meditation center. I would look to see if there is a group you can join in your area.

Read before meditation.

I meditate every day that I can and I always read first. I have a whole collection of books on the subjects of the mind, Zen, Taoism, etc. I read a chapter or so and find inspiration and empowerment in the words. Without fail, it puts me in a new and better mindset than before. It also gives my mind something helpful to reflect on if my thoughts do start wandering during meditation. I’ve also found that sitting in silence after learning something powerful from a book helps me to digest the lessons and take them with me throughout the day. By reading before meditation, not only do I make the meditation better, but my day becomes better as well. There is a wealth of amazing books that you should definitely start reading. Today I Evolve is a good place to start!

Set a time and stick to it.

Determine when meditation will help you the most during the day and make a realistic schedule. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning. Meditating in the morning can put you in a wonderful state of mind for your work day. However, it may also put you back to sleep if it’s too early or turn out to be short-lived after you read your first passive-aggressive email in the morning. If this is the case for you, maybe you should try meditating during lunch or around dinner time. Meditating before sleep is a popular time for many people. Sleeping with a clear, peaceful mind is truly a beautiful thing. Personally, I like to meditate mid-morning and take as much positive energy as I can throughout the rest of my day. I also meditate before drawing or composing music, which is very helpful for me as well.

The point I am trying to make is this: if you make meditation an important part of your day, it can transform your life more than anything else you are currently doing. Instead of relying on money and material possessions to get you through life, try looking within. You may have everything you need already.