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If you implement this one practice in your meditation, you will notice that your meditation becomes very effective soon. Without this, meditation can remain a struggle. So what is it?
Fix the day and time that you meditate.
It sounds obvious. Because it is. When we don't schedule time for the things we want in our lives, we have a tendency to not do them. So write down the fixed day and time that you plan to meditate and then show up for it.
One of the commonly asked questions is "Is there a best time to meditate?" Any time is better than no time. However, from my own experience, I find that meditating first thing in the morning works best for me. My body is rested, the impressions from the previous day have been cleared out and the daily distractions haven't begun yet. So I feel more relaxed in the mornings, which help me better settle into my meditation.
Starting my day off with meditation sets me up to have a productive rest of the day, as it helps ground me. I am ready to face the day with more calmness and awareness. And by committing to a morning meditation routine, I ensure that it actually happens and doesn't get pushed off until later in the day when, suddenly, there are too many other things to do.
What if you can't meditate in the mornings? If that's your case, it's okay. The best time to meditate is whenever you can prioritize it. But then fix that time and make it a practice. Make it your only priority for that sliver of time. Even if it's just five or ten minutes.
If the evenings work better for your meditation practice, avoid these common pitfalls that can sabotage your practice.
1) If you choose to meditate in bed, sit up. Our brain associates laying down with closed eyes with sleep. We don't want to confuse our meditation practice with relaxing into sleep. In meditation, the purpose is to be fully awake and aware.
2) If you choose to meditate before bedtime, realize that meditation may actually make you feel more awake and energized. So it is best to have at least an hour or so between meditation and bedtime. It is important to maintain a distinction between meditation and sleep in your mind, body and habits.
Having a consistent meditation practice takes discipline. If you skip a session, don't be hard on yourself. That does no good to you. Just get back in the game. And keep getting back in the game with absolutely no self-imposed guilt or shame. This isn't a race. And there is nothing or no one to compare yourself to. You don't even need to make up for today's missed session with an extra ten minutes tomorrow. Just keep getting back in the game with a soft and loving heart toward yourself and your efforts.
There is no perfection in this practice. There is only your own unfolding development.