I felt that it’s time to write about how to stay motivated towards meditation, as I have mentioned it in my two last posts and I have not provided any actual solution or recommendation about how to do it (except listening to meditation music and repeating your intention).
Motivation is the most important thing for a beginner. It’s what will keep you going on and help you make it to the next level.
When you have been practicing for a while you will start to feel how meditation is affecting your life in a positive way, and your practice will become more and more effortless and pleasant. At that point your motivation will be your whole meditation experience.
As a beginner though, you don’t feel the same way. When being a beginner you have to struggle to establish meditation in your everyday.
You see, meditation doesn’t give us results from the first days/weeks and that is something that may discourage some people. You will notice yourself feeling bored, restless or disappointed when meditating. At these moments you will need to fire up your motivation.
Meditation needs patience and persistence, and the benefits will come gradually to you. It’s like learning to play an instrument. It takes a whole lot of time to learn how to play a song; and as you continue practicing you become better and better at it.
You have to keep in mind that, what now seems like a difficult procedure, will in the future become something you will be looking forward to do.
I have written down some things that will help you fire up your motivation while not meditating and few ones while you are meditating.
1- The things that will keep you motivated while not meditating
Adapt your everyday activities to fire up your motivation
1♦ Listen to meditation music. A very effortless way to keep yourself motivated is to listen to meditation music while not meditating. Insert it in your everyday life in any way you want. There are many kinds of meditation music for all kinds of tastes. Click here for more information.
2♦ If you want to watch a movie watch an inspiring biography or even better a documentary related to meditation or to your goal in life.
3♦ Read books about meditation or relevant to your goal in life.
Set a realistic goal of reading one book per month or so. Not only will you gain knowledge about your interest, but you will keep yourself motivated too. It’s a win-win situation!
4♦ Read an article everyday about the benefits of meditation or about something relevant. There are many sites out there that provide you with helpful and interesting information.
You can choose a couple of websites that you like and follow their blogs.
Start by reading about the emotional benefits you gain from meditating.
5♦ Embody meditation and mindfulness in your everyday activities. Try to meditate or to practice mindfulness on the bus, taking a walk, washing the plates etc
This is also a good way to compensate, if someday you miss your practice.
How to practice mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness means to be fully aware of what you’re doing right now, in the present. Whatever you might be doing (taking a walk, working, talking with a friend, cleaning the bathroom) instead of letting your mind fly away, focus all your sensations on your task. If you’re taking a walk for example, focus on the smells, the sounds the sensation of the air on your skin, whatever it is that has to do with the present moment. Click here for a detailed explanation.
6♦ Join a forum for meditators. Being able to discuss with people that have the same interest is very motivational and sometimes important for your progress.
7♦ Join a meditation group. Even better than joining a meditation forum is to join a group that you can actually meet and meditate with. Meeting people with the same interest will inspire you.
8♦ Create affirmations. Make an affirmation out of your goal/intention.
Think what it is you want to achieve with meditation and make a commitment to that. Write it down and put/stick it on the fridge or on the bathroom mirror and repeat it every night before going to sleep, every morning and every time before your meditation session.
9♦ Start keeping notes about your sessions. Keeping notes is very useful because they can be of benefit in the future. When you write for example: “What really helped me stabilize my mind today was focusing on a bright light in the center of my head, or inhaling a soothing light.” Small details that we tend to forget and that can be of help in the future.
10♦ Write down which time you will meditate in your calendar. Seeing it written down makes it something established.
11♦ Strive for constant knowledge about what you’re doing. This should be a daily goal; to learn something new every day, in any way. Like I said above, reading a book, an article, watching something interesting, discussing etc.
12♦ Replace the “I have to do” with “I want to do”. If you say to yourself, “I have to meditate” you may feel forced and pressured. Try to switch that to “I want to meditate” and see how that feels.
13♦ Make a pause when your mind is active during the day and just analyze what you are thinking about and why. This is just a check on your mind that will motivate you to explore more or realizing how many unneeded thoughts you have there inside.
14♦ Make a pause and observe your body. Observe your breath, is it slow or fast? Observe if you have tension in any part of your body, and relax that part. What causes that tension?
This habit will lead to self-realization.
Example: I have tension in my stomach. Why? What was I thinking of right now? Or what was I doing? Aha! Every time I think of the x person I have tense in my stomach. Why does this happen? I feel low self esteem when I’m around this person. Why do I feel low self esteem? And this goes on and on until you find the source of the tension.
2- The things that will keep you motivated while meditating
As a beginner it’s important to establish and develop your practice; but your beginner period is also a period of experimenting with yourself to find out what suits you best.
1♦ When we get bored or restless a way to get motivated is to try something different. As you develop in your practice you will find methods and things that were not useful in the past, being useful in the present.
So you can try another technique, another posture or changing the time or place.
2♦ You can just try different, small things that will keep you inspired. For example, in your preparation stage. Try to inhale soothing light and exhale tension. Or count your breaths. Change the position of your hands. Try small things that you may discover to be more suitable to you.
3♦ Always aim for positive emotions. Don’t be judgmental with yourself, don’t get angry or disappointed. If some days your mind is overactive, take it as it is and see it as a chance to get to know yourself better.
4♦ And now something that you should not do. Don’t compare your experience with others’. Comparing yourself with others’ is a great way to get disappointed and discouraged; exactly the opposite of what we want. You should always keep in mind that each one of us experience meditation in a very different way.
I wrote down quite many suggestions so that all of you will find a couple that will suit you and help you with your motivation.
If you have any more suggestions please don’t hesitate to write them down in the comment field below.
Wish you a wonderful day,