Tip #3: Take a 60-day meditation challenge
Having convinced yourself of the benefits of meditation and having decided on your technique, we suggest that you resolve to practice for a certain period of time, such as 60 days. Some people find keeping a journal is helpful. We even know people who have started a blog site to chronicle their meditation journey.
Holding that resolution will enable you to override those days when you don’t want to do it or feel you don’t have enough time. Once the habit is established, you will find it very easy to commit on a daily basis.
The oft-quoted view that a habit is formed in 30 days seems to have little scientific basis. Current research indicates that the time taken for a new habit to get established varies greatly among different individuals and is certainly longer than 30 days. The time to set up a new habit is also, not surprisingly, dependent on the activity, with simple tasks taking less time. While we don’t have any scientific backing for this, we feel, on the basis of the experience of thousands of Art of Living meditation practitioners, that meditation is so rewarding and satisfying that it is one of the easier habits to establish.
Tip #4: Don’t evaluate your meditations
Many people, especially those who are new to meditation, tend to evaluate or judge their meditations.
There is really no such thing as a bad meditation. While it is true that on some days your meditations will feel deeper and more satisfying than others, it is good to know that the ones in which you felt your mind didn’t settle are also of value. Meditation enables stress to be released from your nervous system and that release generates mental activity.
To paraphrase Sri Sri, meditation is like washing a dirty white cloth under a tap. Sometimes the whiteness of the cloth will be more apparent (this corresponds to the deeper, more satisfying meditations) and sometimes the dirt coming out will be more visible (meditations where the mind is more active). You can’t wash a very dirty cloth without sometimes seeing the dirt coming out. Similarly, more superficial meditations go with the territory. Have a positive attitude; believe that you’re in for the long haul (60 days) and what happens in any particular meditation is fine by you. Know that profound long-term changes are inevitable with regular practice.
The jet plane route to getting really comfortable with your meditation experience and to deepen it is to take on board Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s “three golden keys to meditation”.
Prior to each meditation, we suggest you keep these three intentions in mind and then let them go:
- I want nothing – you’re putting aside all your desires, including that for a “good” meditation; you don’t want to know or plan anything
- I am doing nothing – letting go of all effort
- I am nothing – letting go of all the labels you put on yourself
Tip #5: Regularly re-inspire yourself to practice
Making meditation a chore or adding it to your to-do list is a sure-fire way to stop practicing, so take the time to occasionally re-inspire yourself. Attending a group meditation, repeating the Art of Meditation course, and catching some of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s profound talks on meditation on video or in books are some of the ways you can kick-start your enthusiasm.
We wish you well in your new life as a regular meditator!