Planning to start or enhance your meditation practice in 2018? Set yourself up for success by doing these 2 simple things now.
1) Set your intention.
This a simple, yet very powerful first step. Don’t be fooled, in mindfulness practice there is more to this than writing your intention down and sticking it on the fridge. This is the beginning of working with your mind.
Like goal setting it is best to be specific by setting a date you will start your practice and the amount of time you will meditate daily. For example “Beginning on News Year’s day I will meditate for 5 minutes every day.” If you can nail down a specific time of the day (morning, after lunch, before I pick up the kids, after dinner, etc.) that works for you, even better. Simply form and hold this conscious intention in your mind through out the day. Begin working consciously with your intention now and you will find far less resistance to beginning your meditation practice on New Year’s day.
When you think about it, conscious intention is how we accomplish everything in life. As a small child you wanted to play with a ball. Your parent would toss the ball towards you and you would reach out your hands ‘intending’ to catch the ball. The mind willed it but it took many weeks of practice to actually get the body to respond as you intended. Eventually the intention propelled the body to complete this simple action.
We can use this same power of intention to reprogram unconscious mental processes that might create roadblocks to starting our meditation practice….or anything else you want to accomplish! This is the foundation of working with your mind. In traditional Buddhist meditation we use a roadmap to a happier life called The Eight Fold Path. One of the eight elements on this path is intention. It’s that important.
2) Find your tribe.
In Buddhism we take refuge in and pay homage to what is called the Triple Gem. The three gems are the Buddha (our teacher), the Dhamma (the teachings) and the Sangha (the community). Yes, the community is just as important and revered as the teacher and teachings. Meditation practice is the journey of a lifetime. To sustain us and guide us it is vital we find our Sangha, our Tribe.
Perhaps it is a tribe of two to start when you tell a friend of your intention regarding meditation. Like finding a workout partner for the gym, we know this can strengthen our commitment to the action we have chosen. Even better, if you find someone that shares your intention and you can experience meditation together.
Next, gather information about local classes or online courses that are available and sign up for one. Having been a student of meditation for 30 years, I can tell you there is tremendous benefit from practicing with a group. Not only does group meditation support you on a physical level, but you get to share your questions, difficulties and experience with other students. Although this is a very personal experience of working with our mind, our tribe is invaluable on this epic journey.
In essence, the key is to start in this present moment.