By Charles A. Francis
These days there is much talk about mindfulness meditation. You often hear about how the practice will transform your life, and how you’ll achieve a multitude of health benefits.
While there are indeed many benefits of mindfulness meditation, for many people, these benefit seem elusive because they’re having trouble getting started and staying committed to their practice.
Which of these statements best describes your experience with meditation?
- “I’m having trouble getting started, and staying committed to my practice.”
- “I’ve tried different ways of meditating, but I still don’t see much progress.”
- “I’m not sure of what to do when I’m meditating.”
- “My mind is racing, and I have trouble sitting still.”
If you answered “yes” to any of these statements, then you’re not alone. I had all these problems when I started, and so have most of the people I’ve talked to. The good news is that there is a simple approach to overcoming these problems.
There are 3 main reasons why most people have trouble getting started with their mindfulness meditation practice:
- Lack of clear goals.
- Not using proper mindfulness meditation techniques.
- Lack of support from peers.
In this article, I’ll share with you some tips on how to get your mindfulness meditation practice off to a good start, and help you stay committed to a regular routine. They will ensure that you see immediate results, and help you stay committed to your practice.
Tip 1: Set goals for your mindfulness meditation practice.
Most successful people set goals for themselves. Whether they’re personal or career goals, they help them follow through with their commitments. In the case of your mindfulness meditation practice, set some modest goals for learning how to meditate and committing yourself to a routine, and write them down.
They don’t have to be elaborate or grandiose. In fact, simple goals will be much easier to accomplish. If your goals are too ambitious, then you’ll never stick to them. I suggest perhaps practicing for 20 minutes daily, for the next month.
It’s important to write them down, because the writing process will help solidify your commitment in your subconscious, which is exactly what you want. We’ll return to this shortly.
To make things easy for you, I’ve developed a meditation goal exercise, which will guide through the process. It even includes a sample goal statement you can use. Click here to download the exercise.
Tip 2: Begin practicing writing meditation.
If you’re not yet familiar with writing meditation, it’s an exercise we’ve developed that will transform the way you relate to other people. It will reprogram your subconscious to be more loving, understanding, compassionate, and forgiving without any conscious effort.
The best part about the writing meditation is that it takes just 10 minutes a day. What you do is simply copy the affirmations of the loving-kindness meditation in a notebook. That’s all.
Now, to increase the impact of the writing meditation, include your goals as part of the exercise. In other words, each time you do the writing meditation, begin by copying your goal statement, and then proceed with the loving-kindness affirmations. This will reinforce your goals in the most powerful way possible.
You can download a printable copy of the writing meditation here. It includes instructions and the loving-kindness meditation.
Tip 3: Begin practicing sitting meditation.
The basics of mindfulness meditation are simple. Our goal is to develop our skills of observation, concentration and mindfulness, so that we can see the world and our relationships with greater clarity. Use the mindfulness meditation techniques we discussed in the previous article.
Don’t worry about trying to be perfect with these meditation techniques. Remember, you’re still learning, and you’ll certainly improve with practice. Also, don’t worry about minor lapses in your goals. If you miss a day, just continue practicing the next day.
If you need help, I recommend the book Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple. It gives you detailed instructions on the 12 Steps of the Mindfulness Meditation Practice, and includes exercises for helping you become proficient with the meditation techniques.
Tip 4: Get involved in a mindfulness meditation group.
A mindfulness meditation group is vital to your continued spiritual growth. While meditating alone is an important element of our practice, so is meditating with others. The group will provide you with the support and spiritual nourishment you need to grow, and help you stay committed to your practice.
If there are no mindfulness meditation groups near you, consider starting one. It’s really easy, and immensely rewarding. I’ve prepared a group starter kit that provides you with a sample format, a preamble to help you stay focused, and some literature about the practice. You can download it here.
Bonus Tip: Try the mindfulness meditation practice for 1 week.
If you’re not yet convinced that this approach will transform your life, then try it for just one week. I guarantee you’ll see immediate results. Here’ your 1-week challenge:
- Write down your mindfulness meditation goals.
- Do the writing meditation, including your goal statement, for about 5-10 minutes daily.
- Practice sitting meditation for at least 20 minutes daily, using the concentration and mindfulness techniques described on our meditation techniques page.
The mindfulness meditation group may take a little more time to find, but I strongly recommend looking for one immediately.
If you follow these tips, you’ll soon see for yourself that mindfulness meditation can transform your life and relationships in many ways. You will also be more peaceful and serene. And you’ve probably already heard about the many health benefits such as lower stress, lower blood pressure, and overcoming depression. It’s even being used for weight loss.
The bottom line is that through mindfulness meditation you will become much happier and healthier.
Best wishes for a productive mindfulness meditation practice!
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