“We do really want to keep the joy in the meditation practice. Not making it so much about discipline and another task to do.” – Allison Joy (Mind Oasis Teacher)
For those of us who have committed to meditating daily as part of Mind Oasis’ 30-Day Meditation Challenge or anyone wishing to begin a consistent meditation practice, it’s important that meditating doesn’t become a chore, a to-do, or something you dread. Your time on your meditation cushion can be something you really look forward to — a reprieve from the busyness of your daily life. If you find that sometimes this isn’t the case, read on for a few suggestions for reinstating joy in your meditation practice.
7 Tips for Keeping Joy Alive in a Meditation Practice
- Meditate in a new space.
Try bringing some variety into where you meditate. It’s good to develop a routine so that your body and brain know that it’s time to settle in once you arrive in this space, but if you’re new to your practice you might want to try out some different spaces to see which one feels the most comfortable.
- Meditate outside.
Nature meditations are an amazing way to connect with the elements and practice presence. Sitting outside for five minutes and focusing in on the sound of the birds chirping totally counts as a meditation.
- Try a new type of meditation.
If you find you’re coming to your cushion with dread, perhaps you could try out a new meditation technique? Some of our favorites include shamatha, maitri or loving-kindness, tonglen, and iRest. We offer a variety free guided recordings on the homepage of our website to get you started.
- Remember your intention.
Every time you sit, reflect on your intention or your reason for meditating. Why are you doing this? How do you hope it will help you or those around you? Try to feel this intention in your body.
- Shoulding on yourself won’t help.
It’s important that you remember not to judge your meditation practice. As our teacher, Elizabete Gomes reminds us, “the only way to fail at meditation is not to try.” There’s no such thing as a “bad” meditation session. It can be difficult to not get discouraged if you have expectations for what you think your practice “should” look like or how you “should” feel after you start meditating. Even after years of meditating, you could sit down one day and feel like you were lost in thought the entire time. So you can’t compare your meditations to each other. Beating yourself up about not doing a “good” job will remove joy from you practice.
At the end of each meditation, take three deep breaths as you celebrate the goodness you’ve done by taking a few minutes out of your day to meditate! Congratulate yourself for carving out the time from your busy day to do something beneficial for yourself and others. You may never know the countless ways that your time spent meditating ripples out to affect other people. Linger in that goodness and allow it to provide motivation for returning to your practice again and again.
- Join a group.
Meditating in community can be a powerful experience in many ways. Not only are you receiving skilled guidance from a teacher, but it offers you the accountability of showing up for a group, inspiration to practice in between, the support of hearing from others, and the opportunity to discuss your own experience. Mind Oasis offers you daily and weekly chances to practice within community from the comfort of your own home or office!
- Meditate in a new space.