When I am first introducing clients to meditation, I try to keep things practical, easy, and low commitment. I want to encourage them to dip a toe into meditation and get some experience with how it makes them feel without bombarding them with 19 changes they need to make to their life in order to make an impact. I encourage them to make space for meditation each and every day, but I suggest that meditation to be just 5-10 minutes in length to start with. I'll go out on a limb and say if you can't find five minutes to dedicate to meditation, you aren't very interested in making a positive change to your life.
I find this approach helpful in allowing clients to feel empowered to beginning their journey with meditation. The great thing is, when you are just starting you really can feel positive changes with those short meditations, and the more frequently you do them, the more they build on one another, and the greater the progress. You begin changing your brain structure, and you can notice feeling calmer, more balanced, more joyful, a greater ability to concentrate, and so on. These effects of meditation are what may be thought of as low hanging fruit - definite advantages which are not difficult to attain.
Some people are only looking to get these types of advantages in their lives, and so they may not need to dig deeper to see what else they can excavate within themselves with meditation and introspection. However, it is natural for one who scratches the surface of meditation to continue to want to dig to see what other treasures there are to find. That was my experience. I came to meditation with a pretty secular interest and a fairly waned interest in seeking much beyond the material plane (read: God), and after a few months I was opening myself up more and more to the wonders of that which we cannot perceive with our bodily senses.
In order to open ourselves up more to the potential of experiencing that bliss which can only come from divine connection, we have to go deeper into the "work." We simply can't get to a level of stillness which can truly penetrate us to our souls with a few minutes a day. We need to keep up with regular long meditations to really give ourselves time to marinate in stillness. I like the analogy Dr. Sue Morter gives of our constant activity being like a ceiling fan, whirring so fast we can't connect to our higher consciousness. When we are still enough to let those fan blades finally stop moving, we can finally float up through them to make that connection. We also "do the work" by spending time in seclusion and silence. If you can get away for a few days in silence, that is wonderful. I haven't been able to experience this myself yet, but I plan to do so once my kids are grown and doing their own things - or maybe sooner, who knows! For now, I occasionally dedicate one day where I am "in seclusion" while they are at school - not going to the grocery store or doing things on my laptop at Starbucks or working through emails at home, but meditating, chanting, reading spiritual things, being silent, ignoring my phone. I can really feel a difference in my energy by the time they get home. As I type this, I am inspired to get one day per month in my schedule to make sure I do this more regularly! It's so easy to let time get away and not make the space for seclusion and silence, so I'm going to take a more active approach to giving myself that time.
There are so many other ways to continue going deeper in your practice, so I'll just touch on the essence of what they all are getting to, and that is connecting with that higher intelligent power which lies outside of yourself. The more time you are spending reaching toward that higher something, the deeper you are going. We do this quite naturally in meditation, but there are many ways to do this outside of meditation as well. The bottom line is, getting to "the good stuff" requires time, dedication, and sacrifice. Like everything else, you get out of meditation and spiritual life what you put into it. It may not be fair to expect something profound to come from your meditation practice if you are putting in minimal time. Luckily, as Paramhansa Yogananda says, the more we meditate, the more we want to meditate - and this goes for those other high-vibration activities like solitude as well. The more time we spend raising our vibrations, the more we seek out vibration-raising activities. The more time we are spending with our consciousness raised, the more the transformational effect is having on subtle levels of our being.
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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