Our habits are what defines us. Personality, dreams, and appearance are transient, but what we do every single day makes us who we are.
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
One of the most beneficial daily habits I’ve developed in my own life, along with keeping a journal and affirmations, is the habit of daily meditation. I’ve already outlined what meditation has done for me and how it’s helped me grow here, but I want to go more in depth into the mechanics of making meditation a habit and why it should intrigue you.
A boring enterprise
To those who are approaching meditation for the first time, it’s boring as hell. Sitting in quiet solitude doing nothing for any length of time is the opposite of interesting. But meditation is a curious blend of doing nothing and experiencing everything.
Why do we meditate? We might say we do it because it calms us down, that it brings us into the present moment, or it helps us to organize our mind-space. All of these things are relevant and highly important.
However, the main reason that I decided to make meditation a permanent part of my life is that I’ve learned that the possibilities that lie in expansion of consciousness are limitless. A being with full control of its awareness is a formidable thing.
It’s in the nature of awareness that we cannot know what we don’t already know. So the only way to find out is to sit down, close your eyes and seek the Truth with a capital T.
I’ve now been meditating for a few years semi-regularly and for the last year or so I’ve made it a daily habit, and the benefits are monumental.
It’s hard to put into words the love and awe that’s been instilled in me through observation of what is here, now. In fact the only way to understand the power of meditation fully is to do it. Or better yet, be it.
But how can we develop this habit? Well, as I mentioned before, to the beginner meditation is boring.
How do we make a habit of something that’s boring? When I was a kid, I developed the habit of doing my homework right after school. I would tell myself “Just 30 minutes, right after school. Then I can play”. And that’s the key.
Or actually it’s two keys; Decide when and where, and set a time frame. My advice is to start meditating in the evenings first, only for a very short period at a time. Even just 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Don’t overextend yourself.
The reason I recommend the evenings instead of mornings, is that we’re more likely to be in a hurry or have a lot of other things to do in the mornings and it’s easier to just brush it off. You may even find that sometime after work or school, in the middle of the day, might work even better for you.
Most important of all though, is to do it every single day. Don’t miss out on a single day!
You want to build momentum. If you meditate three days in a row, then miss the fourth day, you’ll be way more likely to miss day five, and even more likely to miss day six and so on.
But after 30 or 50 or 100 days in a row, you’ll want to keep going. You’ll naturally want to avoid breaking your streak, and each day will become easier and easier.
I’ve now meditated for more than 300 consecutive days, and skipping my daily meditation doesn’t even cross my mind anymore. That’s what I want for you, too.
Time well spent
As for increasing the time spent on meditation every day, don’t worry about it too much. It’s really a kind of natural progression. The more you meditate, the more you’ll want to meditate.
I progressed from 10 minutes a day to my current 2 hours a day without much thought, although it took some years and a lot of dedication on my part.
I can promise you one thing though. If you manage to make this a habit, it will change your life in profound and unexpected ways.
The beauty of the present moment experienced directly becomes more apparent to me with every passing day. As I noted in a recent trip report, I had a sort of enlightenment experience while meditating during a psychedelic mushroom trip, and while psychedelics can be beneficial to your spiritual practice, you’ll want to develop a highly attuned awareness of every day life as well.
I was filled with awe at the simple fact that I exist at all! Wouldn’t it have been much more natural, much more sensible for the world not to exist, for there to be nothing? Reality seems like such an extravagance, yet it’s an extravagance that I’m eternally grateful for.
All too often we go about life in a rush, a panic even, skiddily going from one thing to the next, seeking fulfillment in the most elusive fashion, yet when we manage to truly stop and be here now, we see that we have everything we need.
It’s like the story of the beggar under the tree. All his life, the beggar prostrated himself under a high oak tree. His life was short and filled with suffering. At the time of his death, some of his fellow beggars came together to bury this unfortunate man under his tree.
After digging for a while, the other beggars struck something hard and hollow. They dug it out. It was heavy! It turned out to be a treasure chest, full to the brim with gold, silver and precious stones! The poor beggar had lived his life in poverty and despair, and all the while he had been sitting on a fortune! If only he had taken the time to look.
And so it is with us. We seek and seek, hoping to find something to give us meaning and fulfillment, when the entire cosmos is within us. We have everything we could ever want, right here, right now. If only we take the time to look.
You may be interested in reading about my insights and experiences regarding Single-Pointed Meditation, as it can really benefit the rest of your self-inquiry and spiritual practice.
I love you all, and I wish you all the best.