With the new year and Tuesday’s New Moon in Capricorn that just passed by, it is an ideal time to reevaluate how we shape our meditation practice. If you’re looking for ways to revitalize your daily practice or if your meditation cushion is sitting in the corner gathering dust, here are a few ideas to spruce up your meditation practice.
Ideally, we meditate every day somewhere private and free from distractions. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can meditate just about anywhere; on the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office, or in our parked car before a meeting. In fact, finding these interval times throughout the day to meditate can deeply strength our practice.
I recently started using the Insight app which provides guided meditations and tracks your daily progress. My favorite feature is the manual timer, which allows you to set intervals with custom sounds. I often use this to incorporate several minutes of breathwork to settle the mind before my meditation. You can even save presets for your go-to meditation routine. Another feature I like about the Insight app is it allows you to set a warm-up before your meditation begins. Give yourself a 10-15 second warm-up, find your position, check your alignment, and settle in to practice.
If your practice is feeling stale, think about ways to mix it up. Are you called to try a guided meditation? Or a meditation retreat? Maybe you find a friend to join you in meditation. You don’t even have to be together. Just set a time and text each other when you’re about to start meditating. The support of a community will empower you to practice every day. We can always be experimenting, learning, and growing.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we’re not good at meditating. There is no success or failure with meditation practice, no winning or losing. The only time we fail is when we don’t practice. Finding our way to the cushion (or chair, or bed) is half the battle. A beautiful analogy for meditation depicts the mind like a puppy. You set the puppy down where you want it to stay, but a minute later the puppy wanders off. So you pick up the puppy, and you set it back down in the original spot. This is meditation. Each time the puppy gets up to wander, you’re not going to get mad at the puppy for doing what puppies do. It’s the natural way of the puppy. You’ll simply pick the puppy up and rest it back down where it started. Treat your mind like a puppy. Each time your mind wanders off, gently return to where you started, the breath.
Keep meditating every day. If you miss a day of practice, don’t give up! Tomorrow is a new day, and you can always start over. No one will hold it against you. They won’t even know unless you tell them. Just keep practicing when you can, how you can. That is the practice. That is the path.
Be the witness.
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