Tips for Creating a Daily Practice
Read the list and notice the tips that most resonate with you. Try those first!
Joining a local group class can be a great way to learn foundational meditation techniques, meet like-minded people, and get into a regular groove.
There is a reason why it’s often easier to meditate in a group or while listening to a guided recording. Being in the presence of a centered teacher with whom we resonate offers the opportunity to see, feel, and even match their meditative depth and helps us learn what’s possible in our own meditation space.
Be sure to choose a teacher who feels right for you. Even a well-known teacher, although highly recommended, may not be your right match. It's super important to follow your inner guidance on this one!
If attending a class locally is not an option, there's been an explosion of online support for building a meditation practice. You can choose from a variety free and paid meditation apps.
One app I’ve tried and continue to use is Headspace. They offer a 10-pack foundations meditation series for free with the option of subscribing to access other meditation packs focused on specific topics such as Creativity, Acceptance, and Relationships.
Another popluar free app that I use is Insight Timer. This app includes free guided meditations, paid content, and a timer feature that allows you to create meditation timers with signal sounds at different points in the meditation. For example, if you create a 15-minute meditation timer, you can program a sound to go off at each five-minute interval. I find this helpful to bring me back to focus on days when I'm more challenged to stay present.
If you don't have access to a group meditation circle, using one of these apps can be the next best thing. Let your intuition guide you to one that resonates with you.
If seated meditation just doesn’t speak to you, or if you want to supplement your seated meditation practice, other ways of cultivating a meditative space include journaling, walking in nature, sound meditation or drumming, intuitive drawing, and mindful movement practices such as yoga or intuitive dance.
How’s It Going?
I would love to know how your meditation practice is going and if you found any of these tips helpful. Please use the contact link below to send your impressions. I do my best to read and reply to all responses.
I first heard the saying "bloom where you're planted" when I was in college. I was talking with a friend who was a year or two older, expressing my dissatisfaction with living in the Midwest and how I longed to live somewhere else. I don't recall the specific dissatisfaction--maybe I was dissatisfied with local culture, the climate, or state politics. Whatever it was, when I was done making my case for why I would be much better somewhere else, she looked at me in an neutral, matter-of-fact way and said, "You can bloom wherever you're planted." I was stopped in my tracks. I felt the truth--and the freedom--in her words to my core.
Over the years the truth in this concept has sunk in more deeply, offering levels of interpretation that go beyond physical location alone. The underlying message for me is that no matter what your physical circumstances are (location, environment, physical body, finances, relationships, current skills and talents) you can either choose to focus on how a different set of circumstances would be easier or more desirable, or you can choose to focus on taking the next steps to grow from where (and who) you are.
When left unchecked, our critical minds tend toward dissatisfaction and comparison, seeing the grass ever greener over there. If you find yourself falling into this line of thinking, it's rather normal, so don't be too hard on yourself. Appreciate your awareness. Think of the seed that happened to land in the crack on a sidewark, or the tree you saw growing off a cliff made of seemingly pure rock. Recall the flowers that sprout and bloom from the most unlikely places, and see if you can take a step toward acceptance--of yourself, your situation, and how you got here. Simply taking a breath and saying to yourself. "I am willing to accept this situation" can create the opening for a shift.
The wonderful and maddening thing about acceptance is that when you finally do reach acceptance of what is before you and where you're at, that's when the door opens to your next step.
Inspiration is everywhere--even in the cracks in the sidewalk. Begin where you are.