If you're staying home a lot now and thinking about meditating more consistently, here are three things that have worked for me:
Find the most conducive spot at home for meditating in, set it up, and stick with it. Overtime you'll gradually settle into that space, and before long you'll find yourself looking forward to returning to "your spot".
It takes time to figure out a posture that works for you, so don't fret if you feel fidgety or keep falling asleep at the start. Keep your posture as upright and wakeful as you can without straining the body. Don't worry about twisting your legs into a full or half lotus - your posture just needs to be stable.
Consistency is more important than duration for a start. Aim to establish a daily routine. We're trying to get the mind and body used to resting in stillness, and practicing once in a while isn't going to change that. Begin with a shorter duration, say 10 min a day, and gradually build it up to 15, 20, 30 min.
By the way, you may not need special meditation cushions. I gather whatever cushions I have at home and arrange them in a way that works for my body.
If you already have a regular practice, what has worked for you? Share your wisdom!
Some people, when asked if they would consider practicing mindfulness, would almost immediately respond: "But I can't sit still for even one minute!"
A common misconception about mindfulness, is that the practice requires one to sit quietly, cross-legged on the floor, with your eyes closed, and... basically do nothing. You are not allowed to move or talk, and you are supposed to empty your mind.
The truth is that a mindfulness practice is far from doing nothing. In fact, there really is a lot of work involved. It might look like a practitioner is just sitting there, not thinking, not feeling. But there is so much more to the experience.
In a typical mindfulness practice, we are training our mind to focus and pay attention to the present moment; we are observing the nature of our mind systematically and non-judgmentally; we are inviting curiosity into the experience and learning to accept that whatever that comes up we are okay with it. We are developing the capacity to watch the endless stream thoughts and emotions in our mind without engaging with or reacting to them. We are cultivating patience, building compassion, and collecting moments of equanimity.
Mindfulness is also not just practiced sitting. We regularly practice mindful walking, and do gentle stretching or balancing movements mindfully. Mindfulness should also be practiced in daily life - when we are eating, showering, driving, cooking, sweeping, working, or conversing with someone.
What other possible misconceptions of mindfulness do you think we could address?
Learn and practice mindfulness with us at our 8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program.
About The Author
MiMo founder Erin Lee is a Mindfulness Coach and MBSR Teacher at Mindful Moments, and advocate of mindfulness as the way of life. She conducts the classic 8-Week MBSR Program, as well as the 8-Week MBSR Workplace Program.
Are you a mindfulness practitioner and have meaningful experiences or thoughts about mindfulness that you'd like to share? You can contribute an article on the MiMo blog! Please contact Erin to find out more.