As part of our #MeditationHacks series, we share some tricks to stop avoiding your meditation practice.
Question: I’ve carved out time and space in my home for meditation. But, I still find it so easy to avoid it! Are there any tricks that can help?
Answer: You didn’t hear it from us, but yes, there are a couple of good tricks. First: don’t be ashamed to dial back your sit-time. As they say, the best practice is the one you’ll actually do, so if you can only sit for 10 minutes, and not 25 or 30, then go with 10. And here’s a great little cheat if you can’t get yourself to do even that: simply commit to get into your meditation posture daily. You don’t have to actually meditate, or spend any particular amount of time there—but keep doing it. In time, it will feel more familiar and you’ll be less resistant to actually meditating. All that said, if there’s something else that’s keeping you from sitting, like physical pain or the sense that your time on the cushion is actually counterproductive, honor that. If your meditation is without discernible benefit, use that time for something you can feel good about instead.
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Other Ways to Practice?
Vipassana teacher Konda Mason answers the question: “Is it OK if I find other ways to be meditative besides sitting on a cushion following my breath?”
Not Enlightened Yet?
Author and musician Miguel Chen comforts a practitioner who doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to enlightenment.
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Sleepy Mind, Monkey Mind?
Anita Feng, teacher for the Blue Heron Zen Community in Seattle, helps a practitioner navigate the path between drowsiness and daydreaming.
Is Meditation Painful?
Buddhist teacher Mushim Patricia Ikeda suggest alternatives when meditation becomes too painful.
Don’t Like Meditating?
Lila Kate Wheeler, author and trainer at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, answers what to do if you don’t like to meditate.
Practicing for Myself?
A Mahayana Buddhist who is encouraged to practice for the benefit of all sentient being feels like they are only practicing for their own benefit. Venerable Thubten Chodron answers.
Meditation Leading to an Unstable Mind?
Josh Bartok, a Zen teacher, suggest what to do if meditating leads to an unstable mind.
Still a Schmuck?
A reader asks Sylvia Boorstein: “What’s the point of practice if it’s not making me a better person?”
Overwhelmed by Emotions?
Author and lay Zen teacher Susan Moon is asked: “Should I stop meditating when emotions begin to overwhelm me?”
Practicing on Your Own?
An isolated practitioner asks dharma teacher Mitchell Ratner where to look for community.
Too Busy to Meditate?
As part of our #MeditationHacks series, Vinny Ferraro, senior faculty of Mindful Schools, instructs a parent too busy to maintain a meditation practice, asking: Are there moments in your day when you could check in with yourself?
Not Trying Hard Enough?
Tenku Ruff, a Zen priest, answers the question about finding the balance between trying too hard and not trying hard enough.
Eyes Open or Closed?
Whether you keep your eyes open or closed during meditation depends on your approach.
Am I Breathing Wrong?
You can’t breathe wrong. Generally, Buddhist meditation is not a yogic practice in which you’re supposed to breathe in a particular way.
Feel Like Jumping Off the Cushion?
As part of our #MeditationHacks series, we share what to do when you feel like jumping off the cushion.
The Correct Hand Position for Buddhist Meditation?
We share an explanation of different hand positions used in Buddhist meditation.
Two Tricks for Would-Be Meditators
I’ve carved out time and space in my home for meditation. But, I still find it so easy to avoid it! Are there any tricks that can help?