Meditation is a subtle skill that takes a good teacher to learn from and then consistent daily practice. It’s not something you’re going to necessarily “get good” at but it can become easy for you and feel more natural to do. If meditation is frustrating or hard for you, you will benefit from these tips.
1. Learn to meditate from a good teacher and establish your own daily practice
I know there are lots of resources out there that can help you to meditate instantly. Nope. Meditation isn’t fast food. It’s a slow-grown subtle practice that requires personalized instruction from a qualified teacher. It’s like learning the piano or learning to swim. The very best way to get all the benefits of meditation is to learn a proven method from a good teacher and then establish a personal practice that you can do every day—without relying on apps or being guided.
2. Know why you’re meditating, your intentions
This is a good tip for life, too. Knowing your intentions will help you align your actions to what matters most to you. Because let’s face it, there are lots of people, situations, and opportunities that would love to have your undivided attention. To stay on track with meditation, know in your bones why you’re committing to it so you can keep saying yes to your practice, especially when you’re distracted by all the other things.
Everyone misses a meditation sometimes. If you skip your practice, don’t worry about it. Be kind to yourself and decide when your next meditation will be.
3. Use a proven meditation method that you feel confident using unguided so you’re not tethered to apps
Relying on apps for your meditation practice is like riding on the back of a tandem bike. The person who’s pedaling in front is getting the benefits of the workout while you’re on the back taking a nice leisurely ride. Nice, yes, but meditation is more than an opportunity to relax. It’s a tool for dissolving accumulated stress in your nervous system. It’s a tool to help your mind stay in the present moment. It’s a tool to help you focus on one thing at a time. It’s a tool to help you know yourself, who you really are, and know what you really want. You won’t get that far on the back of the bike, so learn how to meditate on your own, unguided, using a method that’s proven and taught to you correctly. I teach the Simple, Easy, Every Day Meditation Method. It’s a proven method that will serve you for a lifetime.
4. Make meditation a non-negotiable
Every student I teach eventually runs into resistance with their meditation practice. It’s normal. That’s why it’s helpful to know your intentions (see #2 above) and also know not to listen when you start arguing with yourself about doing your practice. You don’t argue about brushing your teeth because you know it’s necessary for a happy, healthy mouth. Make meditation a non-negotiable just like you do other self-care practices like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, drinking water, eating fresh food, etc. Meditation only works if you do it.
If you get off track with your practice, it’s ok. Don’t be hard on yourself. Be kind to yourself and begin again.
5. Accept that your meditation practice will change over time
One of the 5 secrets every meditator needs to not suck at meditation is to let go of expectations. Every meditation will be different so don’t expect your meditation to go a certain way. With daily practice, YOU start to change so it makes sense that your experience will be different, too. Stay adaptable. And stay open to deepening your knowledge and your practice by working with your teacher and also learning from others who are on a meditation journey as well.
Be willing to be a beginner. Learn a new technique or recommit to your current one.
6. Find ways to weave meditation moments into your day
In addition to your seated daily practice, you can find moments during the day to practice being mindful. Mindfulness can be practiced by bringing your attention back into the present moment and being with what’s happening while it’s happening without the inner commentary going on in your head. You can turn any moment into a mindful moment.
Ideas for mindful moments include:
- noticing your surroundings while waiting at a stoplight
- feeling and smelling the soap bubbles as you’re washing your hands
- feeling your feet as you walk from your car into the office
- savoring a bite of food
- listening during a conversation
- noticing your breath and counting your breaths to 10
- rubbing lotion on your body after a shower
7. Find a community you can meditate with
I was a closet meditator for 2 years before finding a community of people who could relate to where I was on my meditation journey. The friendships I’ve made since then are the most meaningful and long-lasting of my life so far. (This was an unexpected benefit of becoming a meditator!) My students also love having a group to meditate with. My online meditation group, The Moment Membership, helps them to stay accountable and consistent, gain confidence with their practice while connecting with other meditators. The members have forged rich relationships and because they share their experiences, they’re helping each other along the way. Check out The Moment Membership.
There’s a reason that all spiritual traditions have some kind of a community. In addition to solitude, we need connection with one another to fully thrive.
8. Take note of changes you notice in yourself that may be attributed to your meditation practice
Meditation is a practice that works in you in a profound yet subtle way. Sometimes other people in your life may notice the changes in you before you do. It’s good to keep a “maybe it’s meditation” list so you can start seeing the results of your practice. Over time, there will be no question about it, but until then, get into the habit of wondering if maybe those small shifts are because of your meditation practice. It will encourage you to keep going if you start to feel impatient about getting results.
9. Come back to the basics when you feel frustrated or off-track
Many people start meditating with a pure beginner’s mind. This is the attitude you want to bring to every meditation, but we’re human and we like to make things complicated. When you start feeling like meditation is a struggle, go back to the basics of what your teacher taught you. Remove all unnecessary elements and embrace the practice again as if you’re learning it for the first time. Meditation is effortless. If it’s not effortless for you, that means there’s an opportunity to de-clutter your practice. These 5 meditation secrets will help.
Instead of giving up, consider recommiting to your practice. Get the help you need in order to begin again and stick with it.
10. Acknowledge and appreciate yourself for taking good care of yourself
Meditation is an essential practice for your life. It’s a foundational habit that all your other habits will build upon. I believe that meditation is good for you, of course! But ultimately it’s good for the rest of us because when you’re a daily meditator, you’re becoming more You. You’re bringing the best You into your relationships, your workplace, your community, the world. You’re taking responsibility for yourself and the rest of us get the benefit of that, too. So congratulations! You’re a truly awesome person. Meditation is not a waste of time. Far from it. It’s how we bring the change we wish to see into the world. And it happens through You.