How To Maximize Your Daily Meditation Practice

In this article, you will learn how to maximize your daily meditation practice. As boring as it may sound, the very foundation is to cultivate a willingness to make effort, often referred to as discipline, endurance or motivation.

What is more, it is vital to make the most of the time you have for meditation, regardless whether it is minutes or hours.

The tips and tricks in the post are aimed to maximize your daily meditation practice, so it will yield sweet fruits. Take on the pointers that inspire you and make the most sense...

Before we dig into the core, let me clarify a few things. I have spent years doing long meditation retreats. Intensive meditation retreats make for rapid progress, it also cultivates the willingness to make effort.

While I am all for retreat practice, it is not practical in the long-term to stay away from home, for months on end.

3 years ago, I abandoned my retreat practice and have since experimented with various daily meditation practices. At the moment, I meditate for 80 minutes before breakfast and for 40 minutes after breakfast. Then, in the afternoon I do another 40-minute session.

The sessions are spread out to create a mental momentum. Phrased differently, the spread maintains a concentrated and calm mind throughout the day.

By meditating soon after you wake up in the morning, there is little thought activity. This naturally makes it easy to meditate. On the other hand, if you have a conversation before you practice, the thoughts related to it may linger in your mind, making it harder to concentrate.

As a rule of thumb, avoid any arguments before you meditate. The combination of strong emotions and thoughts can linger for hours.

The biggest difference between group retreats and a daily meditation practice is that you are on your own, thus you must motivate yourself. No one expects you to show up in the meditation hall. In other words, there are no external pressures.

Therefore, group retreats are easier since there are others pushing you along, while the daily meditation practice requires a lot of self-discipline, in the long run.

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Willingness To Make Effort

We are lazy by nature. Who wants to do homework? How wants to clean the toilet and shower? Who wants to wake up at 03:00 to meditate?

Few want to make effort, but we do it to get ahead. We do it in order to gain something.

When you cultivate the willingness to make effort, you get good at making effort. It doesn't matter that you have a headache, want to watch a movie or don't feel like meditating, put everything aside and just do it. Make the daily meditation practice the top priority in your life, everything else is secondary.

Once you start to meditate, the resistance loses its grip on you. It is as if you have crossed a threshold. Use this understanding to your advantage.

The willingness to make effort is cultivated by simply meditating. I find it helpful to do daily physical exercise as well. That both improves physical fitness and maximizes your willingness to make effort.

The words discipline, endurance and motivation are synonymous with making effort.

Once you have cultivated the willingness to make effort to a certain degree, it spills over into every aspect of life. Making everything seem effortless.

Moreover, as a spiritual seeker you need as much effort power as just possible. The spiritual path is as challenging as it is long. The more willing you are to make effort and the more trust you have in the spiritual path, the farther you will reach.

Trust is the fruit of experience, or experience, of the mind and the spiritual worlds, is the proof that gives rise to trust.

Time For Meditation

No matter if you have 5 minutes or 3 hours to meditate a day, make the most of it. That said, do not meditate when you come home after a long day at work. Your thoughts will be spinning like a squirrel wheel. Rather, make the extra effort to meditate first thing in the morning, when the mind is fresh.

Do not think or daydream during your meditation practice. Quality meditation is defined as awareness without thought, or awareness of your meditation object without thinking.

I encourage you to maximize your daily practice by adding some time before and after each session. For instance, add 5 minutes before and after a 1-hour meditation. Why? The point is to make extra effort both before and after the session. This also maximizes the total time.

When I meditate for a few minutes before a session, I set the standard or quality of the meditation. Concentrate and stay with your meditation object from the get-go. Likewise, the added time at the end of the session is an opportunity to squeeze out more effort.

A quick note on effort. In meditation, effort refers to giving continuous, relaxed attention to your meditation object. Don't try too hard. The more relaxed your body and mind are, the better.

Finally, when I am sleepy, I meditate standing upright. Maximize your practice by not dozing off.

Best of luck!

Related:   Daily Meditation Practice   Motivation To Meditate   Retreat Strategies

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