Much has been written about the benefits of a daily, or at least consistent, meditation practice. Yet somehow, it always seems like the hardest thing to fit into my day. Why when something can be so beneficial do we always have a hard time actually DOING it?
Here are a few tips that I've found helpful in my quest to be still:
*Schedule it in your calendar. Set aside a block of at least 5 minutes in the AM and PM to sit. If this means writing it in your planner or entering into your Blackberry, do it! Making this time a priority in your schedule will help get you onto the cushion.
*Make your space special. This means, create a space that's inviting, healing, that you want to be in. I'd advise against a room with lots of electronics and distractions. The corner of a bedroom is fine. Put out fresh flowers, create an altar, light candles, whatever you need to do to ensure it's a warm environment.
*Don't fight with yourself. This may sound funny but a lot of the time that I'm sitting and meditating, I feel the urge to fight my thoughts. I want to have a "blank canvas" in my mind from which to work wonders and reach states of meditative bliss.
As nice as all that sounds, let's get real! I can barely pay attention to my breath for more than 10 seconds without starting to think about what's for dinner, how the bathroom needs to be cleaned, etc. Don't get discouraged and don't fight these thoughts.
The best thing you can do for "monkey mind" as the Buddhists call it, is just sit, eyes closed, observe the thoughts and when you notice you're drifting, just invite yourself back to the present moment. Focusing on the breath has been the easiest way for me to ground again. It's always there and will never fail guide you back home.
I've been practicing yoga very regularly the last several months and it definitely makes a difference. We have a short meditation at the beginning of class and then again for final relaxation. I recently got a massage and tried to practice my meditative concentration on my breath and I think it really intensified the body work. Keep up the quiet!