Do you have the best of intentions to meditate, but never do, or you can never sit still? Read on to learn five ways to instantly improve your meditation practice by our meditation expert, Tom Cronin.
Do you want to start meditation, but find the whole idea too difficult or overwhelming? Are you committed to a practice, but it isn’t working somehow?
In my experience, here are the five major reasons your meditation practice isn’t working. Read through, remove them, and set yourself back on the path to happiness by instantly improving your meditation practice.
1. Remove distractions
When meditating, remove all possible distractions from your external environment. This also means being realistic about the place and time you decide to start meditating: early in the morning, late at night or while tucked away in a quiet office during lunch hour are usually ideal. But trying to meditate when a child needs feeding, a dog needs walking or a partner’s just come home from work and needs to talk? Less than ideal.
Find a time in the day which works for you and try to dedicate that time and place to your meditation practice. Guard it fiercely — block it out in your diary and stay firm when social commitments come your way. When you are able to associate that time and place with meditation you will be more likely to stay on track.
2. Stop thinking about your thoughts and judging yourself
Ask anyone and they will tell you that the most difficult aspect of meditation is trying to control the thoughts that enter your head. But it’s only natural: you may have a clear head one minute and the next you’ll find that you’re thinking about what you are going to cook for dinner, or how you have to go into work early the following morning. When it happens, identify that it is happening, address your thoughts and release them. Don’t beat yourself up; it is not about control, but a practice after all.
3. Follow a routine or a practice that works for you
Some people get too caught up in what they think they should do while meditating. What matters most is simply what is going on in your mind as you meditate, not what you’re wearing or how you’re sitting or how long you can do it for. Try to remember the purpose of meditation and focus on accomplishing that goal, even if it just for a few minutes a day.
4. Release tension in the breath
The importance of letting go of exertion in your breath when you meditate should not be overlooked. As you deepen in meditation, your breath will become fainter. Allow the breath to be smooth and gentle.
5. Listen to a stillness sound
When you listen to a Stillness Sound – whether it be a mantra, music, your breath – as you meditate, you connect with your mind on a deeper level. Your Stillness Sound will help you to achieve a state of relaxation right away, and to start nurturing the sense of bliss that comes from mental clarity. [Editor’s tip: You can also learn more about Stillness Sounds by visiting Tom’s website here.]
So there you have it, some simple tips to help you maintain a regular meditation practice and experience more calm in your life. Let me know how it goes!