Creating A Daily Meditation Practice

"Meditation allows you to find the truth that will set you free." -Freeman

Answer these questions in your journal:

1. What benefits from meditation would you like to enjoy?

List as many as you can think of, and be as specific as possible.

2. Brainstorm several possible times during the day when you could meditate?

Top tip: Have the times be linked to another daily activity that you already do such as eating breakfast, coming home from work, walking your dog, or tucking the kids into bed. Plan to do your meditation sit before or after the activity. In this way, your pre-established routine triggers you to do your meditation. Psychological research has found that such triggers greatly ease the establishment of a new habit.

3. Of the answers given in number two, which time offers the best conditions for you to meditate?

Which time will find you most calm, fresh, and alert; will minimize distractions; and is least likely to be interfered with or overridden by other priorities?      

4. Given your answer to number three, where is the best location for you to do your sit at that time?

Which location will minimize distractions, be as quiet as possible, and afford you the most isolation?

5. Given the time and location of your practice, what else can you do to further reduce distractions?

Tell family members or roommates about your practice and ask them to not disturb you at that time? Turn off your cell phone and landline ringer during your sit? What else?

6. Given your answers above, create your specific meditation intention.

It is helpful for your intention to have three components:

1. It clearly defines a specific behavior that is easy to do and measure.

2. It is triggered by another event, location, or time.

3. It includes accountability by recording your progress.

Here is a sample intention to model yours after:

I intend to do a 5-minute meditation sit each day (clearly defined, measurable behavior) on the floor of my bedroom (location) after drinking my morning glass of water (time triggered by daily event) and then record it in my meditation log (accountability).

To create your intention, substitute in the location and time you have decided work best for you. Use your meditation log to track your meditations.

7. Think of other routine activities you do during the day, where you would like to try open-eyed, mini-breath meditations?

This could be while waiting in lines, riding the bus, caught in traffic, while on hold on the phone, and so forth. Mini-meditations or conscious breaths help decrease your impatience and frustration, while increasing your peace and joy.

Test Drive Your Intention

Bringing a new intention into your life rarely meets with immediate success. Unexpected things arise that sabotage your best intentions. It takes persistence.

Any day that your intentions are unsuccessful, answer the following questions in your journal:

1. What prevented me from successfully completing my intention?

2. What can I do to prevent this situation from happening in the future?

3. If I can't prevent this situation from arising, what can I do to not let it derail me from completing my intention?

Be Flexible

You may need to alter your intention by changing the location and time of day, or by setting a back-up time should the original time be impossible on some days. Continue to tweak your intention until you find one you that works.

Whenever an emergency prevents you from meditating at the time and place decided, do your best to still get your formal meditation sit in each day.