7 steps to starting a meditation routine

Take it slow, be gentle on yourself, follow the 12-second rule

At our most recent Go Confidently series event, Susan Piver, mindfulness expert and New York Time best-selling author, shared with the audience how to put spiritual wisdom into practice at work, home and everyday life through the practice of meditation.

She taught us that the key is to live mindfully and stay centered through meditation. How do you get started with a home meditation practice? You must “take it slowly and build it in a way that makes sense for your life.”

Here’s how to get started:

1)     Establish your seat.

You don’t have to create a fancy space or spend a lot of money, but choose one place for your practice — either a corner of your bedroom or office, a particular chair in your living room. Choose a spot that you enjoy being in. Keep it clean and tidy. If you like, you could have a small offering table with flowers or a picture of someone or something that inspires you. Don’t get carried away here though. Keep it simple.

2)     Choose your time.

Try to meditate at the same time every day. Most people find that the morning works best, but you may have kids to get off to school or a job that requires an early start. Maybe you are a night owl and find it better to practice when you get home from work or just before bed. You can experiment with times of day, but whatever feels best, stick with it. There is nothing magical about this; it just seems that habits thrive on routine.

3)     Declare your intention.

As you sit down to begin your meditation, say to yourself something like this: “Now is my time to practice. Everything else can wait.” Commit yourself at the outset.

4)     Follow the 12-second rule.

This rule states that when you have a setback (i.e., miss a day or a week or a month of meditation), you must feel awful, guilty and ashamed — but only for 12 seconds! Then you have to just cut it out! It’s thoroughly NOT useful. The only thing worse than slacking off in your practice is feeling bad about slacking off in your practice. So please don’t do that.

5)     Value consistency.

While it is great to sit for longer periods of time, what is more important is to sit regularly. In other words, 5 minutes per day is better than 35 minutes once aweek.

6)     Make time for contemplation.

Have an inspiring book near your meditation space and read a paragraph, page or chapter before or after your practice. When we marry even the slightest bit of contemplation to our practice, our realization deepens.

7)     Adopt a gentle attitude.

It is most helpful if you view your meditation practice not as a time to work on yourself, but as a break from working on yourself. Our minds require rest and stillness just as our bodies do. If nothing else, your meditation practice is a time to simply be with yourself as you are without trying to “get” something out of it. The basic attitude, then, is gentleness. To take such an attitude toward yourself has tremendous implications for your life outside of meditation. However, do not take my word for this! See for yourself what arises from your practice.

Wish you would have gone to Go Confidently?

Don’t miss the next one. This series of free speaker events was created to inspire people to realize their full potential through thoughtful discussions on health-related topics of interest. Bring a friend and open your heart and mind to what living well can really mean. Check our website for updates on the next scheduled event.


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