Today’s big idea is that while meditation is a wonderful, healing, loving thing to do, it’s sometime hard finding time to meditate. And a common obstacle to actually sitting down to meditate is the thought of, “I don’t have time.”
So let’s take a look at making the time for meditation so that we can get out ahead of that thought. Notice I said “making time to meditate,” not “finding time to meditate.”
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Because if you wait to find the time, let’s face it, it ain’t gonna happen. Even if you do ‘find’ pockets of time, if you don’t have a plan or an expectation that that’s when you’ll meditate, you’ll most likely choose to do something mindless, like scrolling through headlines of social media feeds instead of tuning in to your own precious self.
When you make the time, you’re much more intentional not only about devoting minutes to this pursuit but also about the fact that meditation is the goal.
My number one, absolute favorite time to meditate is early in the morning
My kids are to the stage where they are sleeping later than I am—thanks, kids, for training me to be up at 6 after those many years of early childhood! So when I can hurl myself out of bed and head downstairs before anyone else is up, I sit at our dining table and meditate there—the silence in our house at that hour feels like a net that’s holding me up, like the net that catches you when you drop from a trapeze. When you meditate first thing in the morning, no matter what kinds of U-turns your schedule takes from there, you know you’ve done something great for yourself. You’re also better able to pivot your attention, and be less likely to beat yourself up about not getting all the things you planned to do done.
My number two, very close to favorite time to meditate is after everyone has left the house in the morning
it just feels like a great way to reclaim my attention and my energy and pull it back into myself. Of course, with the pandemic, there are very few days when everyone but me leaves the house. So I can’t rely on that one the way I used to.
Just behind these top two is my third favorite time, which is anytime I remember
Being able to act on that impulse that says, I have a few minutes! I should meditate! is definitely a set of muscles you have to develop. Because, as I’ll cover in tomorrow’s episode, your ego is highly likely to try and talk you out of meditating. The better you get at trusting that impulse and actually doing what it suggests, the more you will actually meditate, and the less drama the whole endeavor will kick up.
Aside from looking at your calendar and choosing when you’ll meditate, another super powerful strategy is to tie meditation to something that you’re already doing. You just slide it in to a routine that is already well-established and then you don’t have to do the heavy lifting of starting a whole new habit from scratch. For example:
If you drive your kids to school, or drive to work, pull over somewhere along the way and meditate there
Or, make it a point to meditate after you pull into your driveway but before you get out of your car. There’s something about being in the confines of your car that is extra cozy, and a representation of how you’re seeking to create a container for your attention while you practice.
Of course, you don’t NEED a car to be able to meditate. You can meditate when you first sit down at your desk in the morning, before you turn on the computer and are off to the races.
If you have a routine around your morning cup of coffee, or you are a journaler, you can tack a few minutes of meditation on before you get started with those things
You can even make drinking your coffee into a meditation by really focusing your attention on every sip and all the sensations involved-the warm cup in your hands, the smell hitting your nose, the taste hitting your taste buds, the feeling of the liquid traveling down your esophagus.
If you listened to my interview with meditation teacher Jess Naim on yesterday’s episode, she talked about the power of a one-minute meditation, and said that she meditates in all kinds of places that you might think was possible—like during a meeting, or in an elevator. So if you’d like more creative time and place solutions, go back and listen to her episodes, it’s number 434.
As I like to say, where there’s a want there’s a way
The time to meditate is there and available to you. Don’t wait to find it. You’re gonna have to make it.
And if you’re finding this hard to do, be extra double sure to come back for tomorrow’s episode, when I’m talking about how to get over your resistance to meditating. Because it’s gonna happen; and when it does, you can be ready for it.