“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” Old Zen adage
I love the above quote because it so perfectly sums up meditation!
Do you feel stressed or anxious, sometimes for no clear reason?
Do you struggle to focus and think clearly?
Do you have trouble sleeping or wake in the morning feeling exhausted?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, congratulations, you are a human being and you will benefit from meditation. If you answered no to all 3, please share with the rest of us how you’ve learned to handle life so well in the comments section below!
My relationship with meditation
Way back in 2005 (I can’t believe it was that long ago!), I made it my New Year’s resolution to meditate every day for the entire year. I had dabbled in meditation a bit but never committed to doing it regularly, although I knew it was probably of benefit to me… Sound familiar?
I decided to read the book Meditation as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa to help me along. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! Every person I’ve ever loaned this book to has ended up buying their own copy – one friend wouldn’t even give me back my (worn) copy, but bought me a new one! How’s that for a ringing endorsement?
This book taught me a lot about meditation and gave me a lot of different meditations to try over the year. Meditating daily for one year was an incredibly valuable experience that literally CHANGED MY BRAIN and taught me a lot about managing stress. I slept better, dreamed more, felt less day to day stress, got sick less often, etc, etc… But somehow, after that year, my commitment to meditation waned. Just a few years later I was barely meditating at all anymore and I spent at least 2 solid years INTENDING to meditate regularly without actually doing so!
100 day meditation challenge
My amazing life coach, Tim Brownson, is a big fan of meditation. This year he challenged me to get back into meditation 10 minutes per day. Since February 4, 2013, I’ve meditated for a total of 19 hours, 20 minutes, which works out to an average of 7.7 minutes per day. So, I haven’t meditated daily, but I have significantly increased my habit of meditation and reaped the amazing benefits that just 10 minutes can bring!
My new goal is to meditate for at least 10 minutes per day for 100 days in a row! I started July 1st (Canada Day!) and will reach 100 days on October 8, 2013.
What you’ll need:
- 10 minutes per day, every single day, any time of the day.
- Somewhere to sit comfortably where you can be alone and undisturbed.
- A meditation technique to use. My personal favourite is Alternate Nostril Breathing, but you can use any other technique you like. Check out Tim’s free ebook for several more ideas (such as the Lovingkindness, another favourite of mine).
- A way to time your meditation (so you won’t be checking the clock every 10 seconds!). I highly recommend the Insight Timer app (more detail below), but you can use a simple egg timer, watch, alarm, anything really.
There’s an app for that…
The Insight Timer app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android, in either a free or paid ($2.99) version. Here’s why it’s awesome:
- It times your meditation sessions for you with a beginning bell and a closing bell, both of which you can choose.
- It tracks your meditation sessions – simply tracking a habit significantly increases the likelihood of continuing that habit!
- It shows you at any given time all over the world who else is meditating.
- Use Insight Connect for charts and graphs of your meditation sessions and to collect stars when you hit key milestones.
- The Insight Connect community helps you stay motivated.
I invite you to join me in meditating every day. I will be posting regular updates on my progress, as well as articles about what exactly meditation is, the benefits of meditation, research on the effects of meditation, links to great meditation resources, and more!