As a new mom this year, I’ve noticed many changes in my spiritual practices. For one thing, there seems to be less time to do them! “Free time” is when our baby goes to sleep (for however long that lasts) and that time is usually spent accomplishing other things like cleaning, eating, working, and spending time with my husband. If our baby skips a nap, these duties get skipped too, but our meditation practice has always been a priority.
Before my husband and I had a baby we spent much of our free time meditating each morning and evening. We developed a strong habit of doing a long meditation twice a week as well. Having been regular meditators for over 8 years, we were determined to keep our practice going even with a baby joining our family. Even though we had no idea what becoming parents would mean, we went into our new roles with the agreement that we would help each other to meditate no matter what the circumstances were. By the grace of God, we haven’t missed a day!
Meeting this goal hasn’t been easy, but it has brought forth several opportunities for further growth, adaptability, and acceptance. Without meditation, I don’t think we could be the parents we are today. Being a mom has required patience, compassion, and unconditional love — all qualities that I feel I have developed from deepening my meditations.
My main window for getting things done happens at night time when our baby goes to bed. If I get right to my meditation before doing all of the other duties on my list, then I have more time dedicated to meditation, but it’s difficult to ignore those other needs.
Because there is so much to accomplish in one day, I am challenged with a busy mind. When I sit still in meditation my mind is very aware of those activities. It wants to continue reviewing the projects from the day and begin planning the next ones. This is why I like to practice Ananda Yoga before my meditations. It helps me redirect my energy from action to stillness. Paramhansa Yogananda said that Hatha Yoga can be very helpful to prepare the body for meditation, but it is not essential for spiritual growth. So if I have limited time and have to choose between doing yoga or meditation, then meditation it is.
What I’ve realized in this first year of motherhood is that my focus in meditation needs to shift from quantity to quality. There isn’t space in my life to have those three-hour meditations every week. It’s more important to me to sit in the stillness and feel God’s presence for one minute than to sit for one hour thinking about everything else but the present moment. So, even though I have much less time to meditate these days, I can see that God is teaching me to use my “free time” wisely by going deeper in Him. The situations He gives each of us are truly for our highest good!