Modern practitioners of meditation face the same age-old question that meditators have asked themselves and each other for thousands of years: how can I motivate myself to meditate every day? We are aware that meditation is good for us, and yet the pressures of daily life and our various commitments can make it hard to ensure we fit a meditation session into our busy schedule each day. These days, when even major news outlets have sections on meditation tips, we can look to the 2,500 years of Buddhist meditation experience for inspiration.
Here we offer five tried-and-tested meditation tips to overcome the most common problems that beginners and experienced practitioners can encounter in motivating themselves to sit regularly.
Tip 1: Reflect on the benefits of meditation
If we are going to devote some time to our meditation practice, we want to know that the effort is worth it. It’s reassuring to know that not only generations of Buddhist masters, but increasingly also modern researchers, attest to the fact that meditation leads to increased levels of well being. Psychologists have found, for example, that “Loving Kindness meditations can have positive effects, in particular in terms of improving one’s resources and wellbeing”, and can even – literally and figuratively – positively affect the very rhythm of our hearts.
Research on the effects of focusing on the intricate and beautiful buddha forms used as meditation objects in Diamond Way Buddhist meditations has found that meditating on Buddha forms improves visual-spatial processing in the brain.
And if that’s not enough for the more worldly among us, it’s even been shown that meditating Buddhists make more rational economic decisions. Something to think about when planning your pension, or when hitchhiking home after your next trip to the casino.
Tip 2: Let go of the idea of a ‘good’ meditation
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, as long as you’re following an authentic meditation technique, it’s difficult to do it wrong.