“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,
but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
-Shunryu Suzuki, Zen master
Many of us initially began meditation with the best of intentions to continue regularly, but life somehow manages to get us sidetracked and we may fall off our daily practice schedule. We miss one session, then another, and before we realize what has happened we are no longer making the time to practice. Rather than beat ourselves up, this is a good opportunity to put into practice what we are constantly learning and re-learning on the meditation cushion. We can gently come back and begin again at any moment in time.
We may have the desire to rekindle our mindfulness meditation practice, but the shift from desire to action can sometimes feel overwhelming. Rededicating our meditation practice through a simple intention such as healing or self-compassion, whether for a loved one, the world, or ourselves can be helpful and can give us the push we need to get started. Below are some other practical steps we can take to reenergize our mindfulness meditation practice.
Join a meditation group or class. Practicing with others can be incredibly powerful and will certainly leave us feeling refreshed and recommitted. Whether to provide new tips or helpful guidance, or simply as a set appointment to meditate, joining a local meditation group or class can be especially helpful. Maybe there’s a center near your workplace, or in your neighborhood that you can stop by to check out and consider trying out. You can always sample a single session before signing up for a full session pack to make sure you’re comfortable with the instructor and setting.
Read about meditation. Whether you’re browsing mindfulness meditation blogs on the web or picking up a good title on the topic, reading about meditation can inspire us to get back on the cushion. Sharon Salzberg and Chade-Meng Tan both provide practical guidance in their books, among others.
Keep it short and sweet. We might not think we can initially fit in a a longer meditation session into our already packed schedules, but we could probably fit in 5 minutes. Re-starting with a shorter practice time will make our mindfulness meditation seem more doable.
Seek out a teacher. As with any skill we are learning, the guidance of a teacher can be particularly helpful as we begin or restart our meditation practice again. Even if we already know the basic techniques of mindfulness meditation, working with a teacher can provide us with the extra support we need to deepen our practice.
Take it high tech. While many of us use meditation as a time to unplug, a few useful apps have recently been developed to help us in our quest to be more grounded. One such app is Insight Timer, which allows you to time your meditation via smart phone. Beyond simply acting as a timer, the sense of community of fellow meditators and app users around the world can also help us feel connected to others who are meditating.
There may be times when we’re working under tight deadlines or other external pressures that squeeze our meditation practice out of our schedules, but oftentimes this is when we need our practice most. Whenever we find ourselves struggling to maintain our regular practice, trying one or more of the above suggestions may be just what we need to get back on track.
Meditation instructor Alice Lash offers mindfulness meditation in Miami. Contact Mindfultime to learn how you can rekindle your mindfulness meditation practice today.