1. Assess your lifestyle. Where is there time (and quiet) that you could use differently? Then schedule the time right into your calendar. Some people set their cell phones up to remind them.
2. Assess your personality style. Can you to sit quietly? Do you need to move or is silence an irritant?
3. Experiment with a variety of meditation techniques (a number are suggested in this booklet) and see which one(s) works best for you.
4. Make a commitment to yourself. Regard it as seriously as you regard any promise you make to another person. If you tend to break promises, take this more seriously. Remember, any broken promise weakens you whether it is to someone else or to yourself.
5. Create a place for meditation. Do you already have a quiet comfortable corner or do you need to claim one? Make your space beautiful and soothing to you.
6. Begin with a minimum of five minutes per day of just sitting still and paying attention to your breath. If you get distracted easily, simply acknowledge the distraction, set it aside and bring your attention back to your breathing (or whatever you are concentrating on). A day will come when you lose track of the time and when you wonder how much longer you have to go, you’ll find it’s been ten or twenty minutes.
7. If you have trouble settling down, give yourself five minutes in which to groan, and really ham it up. Imagine the groan comes up from the soles of your feet. Your household will get used to it. Warn them before the first time. When the groaning stops, pay attention to how you feel. Has it changed? Now, go back to sitting quietly with your attention on your breath.
8. If you forget to meditate one day, let it strengthen your resolve rather than be an excuse not to keep it up.
9. If you are concerned you might meditate for too long and forget to pick the kids up or go to work, you can set a kitchen timer or your own internal timer. To set your internal timer: as you begin paying attention to your breath, repeat to yourself a few times, “I will wake in 20 minutes energized and ready to meet my obligations,” or some such thing. Your subconscious will bring you to normal consciousness at the appropriate time.
Most important: Be gentle with yourself. An important key is consistency in tandem with compassion for yourself. Make an effort every day, but don’t beat yourself up if you feel you have not “performed” well. Meditation is not about performance. It is a practice like brushing your teeth.
Please share any other tips you’ve uncovered through your own practice.