The first gift of meditation is the gift of time. To meditate you need time and space. If you want to create change in your life away from the stresses and tensions, then this cannot happen unless you create space for that change to take place. We are so busy and tied up in what we are doing that although we want to change we have no opportunity to do so.
If we want to make change then the first thing to do is to stop being busy and create a space. Just a small space to start with is enough. This should be time by yourself, for yourself. Most of all it should be a time when you feel under no pressure to do anything, not even meditate. If you feel that you are forced to meditate in this time then it can become another stress. Instead treat it as a time and space for you. Make it a time and space where you do nothing. Try not to be distracted by media; radio, television, newspapers or novels. Try to create a peaceful haven, subdued lighting, gentle music, relaxing aromas.
It is your time, it is for you. Its purpose is to create space in your life so that you can change. How you use this time is up to you. Here are a few suggestions:
- Contemplation of what you want to change and what you desire
- Meditation, finding inner peace and tranquillity, letting go of old patterns and embracing new
- writing, clearing your mind, letting it all out
- reading, self development or spiritually uplifting.
This time is a precious gift, an oasis in a busy life. It seems that life has no space or time to do anything until we stop. The very act of stopping and giving ourselves time away from our usual activity is a great creator of change in itself. Use the time in a constructive way. It can be used to think about how to solve problems but try to avoid going over the story in your mind. Make sure you do not just use it to reinforce fears and worries. Creating a spiral of anxiety should be avoided. If you are going to use the time for contemplation do it in a positive way focussing on positive outcomes. If you find this impossible then use the time for other things.
Creating a Space
We can all find a quiet place where we can be alone, undisturbed by people and external conditions. It is true to say that we can meditate almost anywhere, even whilst walking or travelling by bus or train, but a quiet, comfortable place is most conducive to concentration. It is useful to establish one place exclusively as the “sitting place” or “meditation seat”. The habitual use of this place for this purpose will precondition both the body and the mind into a calm, peaceful and receptive state whenever we sit there. It is best if the place is kept only for that purpose, but this is rarely possible.
Find somewhere, where you can be undisturbed. A quiet room with not much in it to distract the mind is ideal; a setting with light and space has a brightening and clearing effect, while a cluttered and gloomy room has just the opposite. Make sure that all potential disturbances are turned off or down. Disconnect the phone or be determined not to answer if it rings. Ask family not to disturb you. Try to clear away clutter which may distract you, remove anything that reminds you of things that need doing.
Create a relaxing, nurturing environment. The space should be warm, but not too hot. Make sure you can sit comfortably while able to maintain a good posture. Use things that make you feel relaxed; candles, aromas, music, flowers, inspiring images.
Timing is also important, particularly as most people's days are quite structured with routines. It is not especially productive to meditate when you have something else to do, or when you're pressed for time. It's better to set aside a period -- say, in the early morning or in the evening after work -- when you can really give your full attention to the practice.
At lot will depend on when it suits you and your day. Mornings are a good time to meditate because it allows you to prepare for the day, setting out with positive intent and a clear mind. The evening can be more convenient and can be used to settle the mind after a difficult day.
Begin with fifteen minutes or so. Practise sincerely with the limitations of time and available energy, and avoid becoming mechanical about the routine. Meditation practice, supported by genuine willingness to investigate and make peace with oneself, will develop naturally in terms of duration and skill.
Exercise - Making Time
First consider when would be a good time for you to have time and space. It is different for all of use depending on circumstances. If you can, try it at different times of the day to see which works best for you and gives you the greatest benefit. Consider where would be a suitable place where you can sit regularly to meditate. This might be a spare room or a bedroom. Prepare a place so that you can sit comfortably. Collect together a few items that will help to make that space more relaxing for you. Clear away any clutter that might distract you.
Set aside a minimum of 15 minutes each day just for you. Treat is as though you are giving yourself a gift. Be flexible about how you use the time, but try, at least a few times, to use it for meditation. Remember don’t put yourself under pressure to do anything in particular and don’t worry if you don’t get the time.