Meditation allows us to create space between inputs we receive from the world and our corresponding actions. Using this space, we can make non-reactive decisions, allowing us to gain more control over our lives. Basically, becoming emotionally non-reactive makes you a superhero.
1. TAKE THE LONG VIEW.
If you we truly want to make meditation a part of our lives, it's going to take a long time. Before even getting started, I can promise you that you'll mess up. I have, and continue to, often.
But our breaks are only a problem if they don't end.
2. DO IT IN THE MORNING.
When we do anything in the morning, before the day begins, we shield ourselves from potential distractions. If we do things later in the day, there are a million things that could come up and get in the way.
So, meditate in the morning to avoid having to resist distraction.
3. GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER.
Did you miss a morning? Nobody will find out if you have nobody to tell.
Get a partner who is also trying to change something in their life (doesn't need to be meditation but it helps if it is), and make a commitment with a specific end date. That way, it doesn't feel like you're committing forever.
How to Meditate
Instead of trying to control your breath, watch it. Notice how sounds in the appear without you making any effort to hear them. Observe your thoughts arise and pass away as time continues. Watch yourself.
2. BE STILL.
Don't move. Resist the urge to take actions on any of your thoughts. Allow your mind the space to think freely, and feel at peace with your environment.
3. FEEL IDENTITY-LESS.
If you can, notice that everything you can experience comes and goes. Since you can't be identical with your experience, what is your identity? Nothing. We are each just branches on the tree of consciousness.
I love listening to my friend Sam Harris when I meditate. He put together this track with all three steps built into it.
When introducing anything new into our lives, the start is exponentially harder than any other part of the process. Ideally, we only introduce one new habit into our lives at a time, and focus on it with full force.
Long-term adoption of meditation as a part of your life is the goal.
2. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS TOO.
We meditate to improve our ability to make decisions throughout the day.
Our small time investment in the morning is supposed to make the other hours in the day much happier. By intentionally working to be mindful throughout the day, we allow meditation to become a significant part of our life.
3. DON'T MISS A WEEK.
Everyone always says we need to do this or that every day. Invariably, we miss a day, get down on ourselves about it, and before we know it, we've fallen out of the habit entirely.
I say, don't miss more than a week at a time. If you want a couple days or a week off, fine, but then it's back on track.