Meditation is a powerful tool for improving the quality of your life, both internal and external. For centuries it has helped people attain spiritual enlightenment, while also improving concentration and self awareness, combating stress, and aiding relaxation.
However meditation is much more than a tool for relaxation – by using meditation to restrain the wanderings of our minds, we can bring ourselves back to full awareness of the present moment, and experience things as they really are.
Research, plus common sense, tell us that regular meditation is good for us, both physically, psychologically and spiritually. However if, like most people in the 21st century, you’re wondering how you’re going to fit in enough time for regular meditation, you may just need a little help to get started.
Although most of us have work, family and social commitments, often all that’s needed is a little forward planning and reorganization of our routines to be able to incorporate meditation or another relaxation technique into your daily life. After a while, this too will become part of your routine, if maintained for long enough.
>> Meditate regularly, even for a couple of minutes a day
The word “meditation” can conjour up images of cross legged monks in isolated temples or caves. Although this is true for some practitioners who have devoted their lives to meditation, for most of us, even a few minutes set aside daily will allow us to make steady progress, if carried out regularly. Promise yourself that you will set aside 10 minutes initially, no longer.
>> Review your time management
If your typical day is fairly manic, fitting something else in may not seem worth the effort. However it helps to think of this as an investment of your time, and a commitment to yourself.
Have an honest look at your current time management – even without the benefits of meditation sessions, managing your schedule more effectively will place less pressures on you, the need to rush about may decrease if you’re better organised, and you’ll be that bit less frazzled at the end of each day!
When you do incorporate meditation into your day, if you’re better organised you’ll be less stressed, which will allow you to concentrate on your mediation, which in turn will help you feel calmer.
>> Save time – draw up a timetable!
Making time for meditation needn’t be an arduous task or an exact science. You don’t need to draw up an exact timetable, just a typical week’s regular events and commitments, such as going to work, travelling time, doing the school run, regular shopping trips, making the dinner, preparing packed lunches, washing up etc. Also include visits to the gym or other similar events.Note down what time you usually get up and go to bed as well.
When you’ve listed all of a typical week’s regular events and time constraints, make a second list or tasks that are required regularly, but may be missed, such as paying bills, filing letters, weeding the garden, going to Weight Watchers etc. It may be a good idea to set aside a few hours per week, or an evening, to carry out these tasks.
Having listed everything in your normal schedule, you may be surprised to find that there appears to be more spare time than you imagined. So where does the rest of the time go? Watching TV perhaps, chatting on the phone to friends or just lying on the sofa?
If you can’t account for the amount of spare time shown, keep a diary for a week, noting exactly how long things take to complete. You may then have to revisit your timetable if, for example, you didn’t allow enough time for picking the kids up, doing the weekly shop etc.
Once it fairly accurately reflects your time constraints during the week, your timetable will help you identify regular “slots” for meditation opportunities.
>> Quick time-savers
Changing just a few of our everyday habits and routines can really save a lot of time during the day. One or more of the following tips may help:
When the post is delivered, open it by the bin, so that you can discard all junk mail and unnecessary letters straight away; otherwise these have a tendency to pile up!
File all statements, bills, letters etc as they come in.
Ration your time chatting on the phone! If you have a friend or relative who tends to chat excessively, try calling them when you know you can keep the call short. Your phone bill and your time will thank you!
Switch the television off between the programmes you really want to watch – otherwise there’s a temptation to just sit in front of it through the evening. This will also help, for example, older kids with homework to complete.
Ask for help and learn to delegate! if you’re spending a lot of time doing housework or looking after other people, ask for their help. If someone tries to offload a non-essential job onto you, explain that you haven’t got the time, and suggest they do it instead.
These may seem like simple, or self explanatory suggestions, but most of us can think of several chores or routines that we do regularly that could be carried out by other members of the household, or by friends. Remember – you’re making time for yourself, and this may require taking firm control of your time.
However busy we are, there is room for meditation in our lives, but to enjoy its full range of benefits, meditation needs to be approached with respect. With sufficient time in our schedules set aside for it, meditation can help us properly restore balance and take control of our minds.