It’s rare to find anyone who doesn’t have issues with being consistent and sticking to a newly introduced routine. Especially when the routine involves some sort of a workout – physical or like in our case, regular meditation. The more difficult the workout the harder it is to fall into a routine and stick to it. The older we get, the more conditioned we are in refusing to inculcate anything new in our lives.
A different way of looking at it is that the greater the benefit and higher the purpose, the more difficult it is. And something like meditation and spirituality are at the apex of the pyramid of human needs. Therefore, they rank as the toughest to achieve when it comes to practicing consistently.
Don’t be surprised if we tell you that this is how Nature has designed it to be. Human beings can evolve to higher states only by being tested by having resistance and obstacles thrown in their path. You have to prove that you are worthy of it, in other words. Self-improvement goals achieved too easily will not be valued by us and we will likely come back to where we started very soon.
Achievements that come through winning over great difficulties are sweeter and longer lasting. Big muscles are developed by lifting heavy weights, not through a light workout.
So, how can we build our meditation muscle?
Establish accountability by seeking help
Perhaps the most important of all is the question of how committed and accountable we are to what we want to achieve. Today’s world is full of distractions and has way too many things to be done compared to a few decades ago. A lot of people lose focus and many even have their attention spans affected by the extent of rapid switching we are subjected to. In such a world, is what you want to achieve your #1 priority?
If your answer is no, then you need to make it your top priority, at least for a while until you settle down. If you’re adding meditation as the 21st thing on top of the stack of 20 other things in your life, it’s not going to pervade your life strongly enough.
The best way to push yourself to become accountable is to surround yourself and get experienced people who’re successful at that to help you stick to your routine. When you want to get fit, you start working out. And if time and accountability is your problem, you hire a trainer to force you to keep to your workout schedule till it can become a part of your life.
If becoming a meditator is your goal, we have a way out for you. You can contact us with a request to have one of our instructors to keep checking in with you. You can mark your calendars for our regular online sessions – most of them happen at preset times on the same day of the week and time. If none of the slots work for you, feel free to request a time that works for you so you can get regular with your practice. Use the combination of our scheduled and one on one sessions to establish accountability for meditating.
If you’re thinking that you can get to meditating on your own eventually, ask yourself what “eventually” really means.
The work we live in is full of advice on managing many things. Time management, Task management, Personnel management, Relationship management etc… Very few of them are telling you to manage your most precious asset – your attention and what you divert it to. Attention management is about getting your attention to rise above your thoughts and distractions. This is not easy. Which is why no one creates a paid course out of it to take away a few more dollars out of your wallet.
When we meditate regularly, our attention is elevated to a higher state of consciousness. This is a superior, purer state of existence of our Inner Self where there are no thoughts and particularly negative ones that can distract us. But it’s hard to stay at that higher state for a long time. During the rest of the day, we’re distracted by a number of thoughts that start appealing to the negative forces in us – temptation, greed, anger and so on. They wear down our attention and drag it downwards.
When we meditate again, we pull ourselves up and our attention to higher states again.
The solution to keeping our attention elevated is more frequent meditation, even if some sessions are shorter. And we get to doing meditation regularly by making a commitment and giving our routine the time it deserves.
But the more important thing is to watch our attention during the day, observe what it is being drawn to and remind ourselves to steer clear of things that do not add much value to a higher state of existence or self-improvement. Idle gossip for instance. Or criticism or judgment or chasing something very mundane and temporary. Or getting completely knocked over by problems at work or in our personal lives. The desire to quickly get back to higher state must always be at the back of our minds and never be a lost goal.
Shut down the ego and negative voices
These are self-defeating forces within us that need no external triggers. Our ego grows with us in our life. The more we accomplish, the bigger our ego gets. Many times, it also gets subtler so we can’t actually see it ourselves. Generally, the more the ego, the greater the thoughts and the greater the thoughts, the more the probability of negative voices and scripts within us.
To solve this, there are specific meditation techniques that focus on introspection and keeping the ego in check. The biggest of them all is the awareness of how much our ego influences our thought patterns.
When we’re trying to settle down to a routine, our ego will likely tell us that we’ve accomplished a lot and don’t need to do more or rise higher. It’ll tell us that we deserve more enjoyment. It’ll tell us to indulge more than we should and that we truly deserve it. And it may also suggest that meditation is hard, and we’re too good to need it in our lives.
It doesn’t take long for us after all this to degenerate quickly to give up our routine.
The solution is to be aware of such voices and consciously tune them out during our meditation. It’s hard, but with some practice, we can. At the very least, we acquire the confidence that we can deal with these deterrents no matter what. After that, it’s a matter of putting in the effort and getting to it.
We seek perfection, many would rather not meditate at all than meditate for short period; letting go of failures and misses. Others won’t meditate unless they’re in their most comfortable seat or cushion or room filled with fragrance with a ray of sunshine beaming in. Meditate by stealing five minutes at work. Meditate if you have a train commute. When you step out, find that quiet spot in the park or in your backyard to meditate for a while. Sahaja meditation is hardly rigid or prescriptive about techniques and ambience, so use that to your advantage.
Being able to move on from failures and misses is a big part of becoming consistent. In the case of meditation, you need to know that each session is different – some are very deep and beneficial and the others can be downright useless with a lot of thoughts and distractions. But that’s okay. It’s better to keep to your meditation routine even if it isn’t the best experience rather than not meditate at all.
Seek collectivity that can elevate you
We all are susceptible to influences of people around us – our family, friends, colleagues and the community we live in. These can exert positive or negative influences and motivation for us to adhere to our pursuits in life. At times, the people around us can have completely opposite interests, while at times others can inspire us to go higher.
Who we associate with or pay attention to is a big part of being able to keep to our routine. At Sahaja Online, if you’re reading this article, you already know that our entire focus is to keep your attention on higher things, to positively motivate you, to educate you about obstacles and continually drive you to higher states of existence.
Try and engage with us. Join our group of meditators. Build a rapport with any of our instructors you prefer. Make a commitment to meditate and allow us to help you change your life.