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4 Factors for a Sustainable Meditation Practice

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Watch this excerpt from Session 3: Building the Habits That Nourish You of my self-study course Mindful Resilience. The full course includes meditations and exercises for each of the five sessions.

Transcript:

This month, we’ve been talking about mindful resilience and ways that we can be resilient, using mindfulness. And one of the ways that we can do that is by developing a sustainable meditation practice. Now, it’s not always easy to do so. And we may say things like, when we are practicing, we may notice, “Oh, my day went so much better.” “There was a big difference from when the days I do meditation on the days I don’t.” Or maybe you notice that you’re more focused, when you do meditate. And maybe you also notice that stress doesn’t bother you as much things that come up and arise for you.

But then there’s other times where we say, well, I didn’t meditate for two weeks, because work got busy and this happen, and I just fell to the wayside. Or maybe you feel like, “Oh, this isn’t working for me, or my mind is just too busy to quiet down.” Mindfulness is important for us, can help us but we have to address how we can develop that sustainable practice over time. So there’s four actions that we can do that can assist us.

And the first way is, while you’re here, right now you find a community, even though there is, so many are, there are, there are so many meditation apps, and so many, you know, I’m on one of them, I have meditations on one of them Insight Timer. But it’s really given rise to the idea, you know, focusing on this app that meditation should be practiced individually. Now, true yet, but we can do meditation by ourselves. But the greatest advantage of doing it with a community, it has benefits, of course.

And a millennia ago, meditation was practiced in communities. And in Buddhism, they’re called Sangha. And many times, you’ll hear me call what we do together a sangha. And we have those two benefits. First is accountability. Because the group meets at a particular date and time, and we have something every Monday through Friday at 8:30 am, Central Time. So as you know, and then also, there’s the social support that we have, you know, we spend a little time afterwards talking and some sessions we go a little longer other times, maybe not as, as long. And it helps us to find that inspiration from others from others progress and understanding that the challenges that we face are shared by other people too. And so having our community to practice with is a big help.

Another thing that helps is committing to a non negotiable time for practice. So yes, having that community is great structure. But you also have to establish that reliable time for yourself for personal practice, because that’s very critical. And as you do that, others in your life, your family members, your children, perhaps grandchildren, whoever, they will see you meditating, and they come to expect that and they may become interested in that, as well.

So the third way that you can help yourself with your practice is working with an instructor. Well, here I am, I’m here during our classes. And sometimes I’ve met with one of the some of you one on one. And that’s another way to is to help keep your practice sustainable. If if you work with a teacher, you know, I’ve been doing this for 42 going on 43 years now. And it might help you to gain a little access gain, gain a little bit more information, just like if you were taking golf or playing the piano, you improve faster when you have a coach, someone who can observe and explain to you as well. And so, a meditation teacher like myself, could help you through the struggles or challenges, I should say, that you have when you come up, you know, through your meditation practice.

And the last thing the fourth thing is letting go of expectations. We all carry expectations for our meditation practice. Otherwise, why would we take the time to sit down to begin with. We want to feel refreshed or less stressed or more focused, less irritable because prior practice. And there are just some times and you know I’ve talked about this in the past is sometimes it’s hard for our minds to quiet down, but we have some tools and things that we’ve used to assist us with that. But we have to remember that the progress is not always linear. It’s not always going to work the way that we think.

However, consistent practice is really essential. You have to do it, you have to do it regularly, including when you don’t feel like it. Even myself. There’s days I don’t feel like things. But over time, you’re easily distractible mind learns to rest and open awareness right? Without constantly attaching to the next thought that comes by.

So we have those four factors we have find a community like this, commit to a non negotiable time for practice, work with an instructor and let go of the expectations.

This is an excerpt from Session 3: Building the Habits That Nourish You of my self-study course Mindful Resilience. The full course includes meditations and exercises for each of the five sessions.
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