A common problem is carving out time for meditation. This challenge isn’t exclusive to novices—even seasoned meditators can find it tough to dedicate as much time as they would like.
And even on days when we’re not immediately pressed for time, the mental habit of anxiety over it, in addition to the many other stresses in our lives, can keep us from relaxing into the deeper states of tranquility and joy that we seek.
What is the solution? Here is a ten-step program that might help.
1. Just start. Swami Kriyananda would often say, “You spend five minutes a day on oral hygiene, can’t you also spend five minutes a day on spiritual hygiene?”
2. Set a minimum. Decide on a doable minimum and steadfastly refuse to fall short. For many years, I’ve maintained a minimum number of Kriyas for my morning and evening meditations. Once your commitment is firm, the universe itself will lend a hand to help you reach your goal.
3. Be regular. Find a time that is under your control, often right after you get up, or before going to bed. Then cultivate a habit of meditating at that time. Habits can be formidable allies or dangerous foes. Consistency lays the foundation for your practice without which your commitment will always be challenged.
Creating a new habit takes time and tenacity. Whenever I’m trying to create a new habit, I set aside a week or a month during which I refuse to waver. Life will test your resolution, but if you persevere it will get easier. A regular habit of meditation will pay vast dividends.
4. Use aids. When my schedule threatens to override my determination, I will set a timer. It helps keep me honest and resolute. A friend who had a difficult time getting up in the morning used to turn on a flashlight and roll it away from his bed. Some people find that a meditation buddy is the solution. Be creative in finding things that help keep you consistent.
5. Quality is more important than quantity. Quality comes, not by greater effort, but by sustaining focus for longer and longer periods of time. While meditating, pour your whole heart into it. You have the whole rest of the day to wrestle with your pressures and problems.
6. Move beyond body-consciousness. The purpose of meditation is to loosen the ego’s grip, which binds the soul to the body and personality. Completely relax the body, then try to feel yourself as energy. As your meditation deepens, identify with your universal soul qualities—light, love, peace, joy—rather than that which separates you.
7. Chant more. Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Chanting is half the battle.” Many chants are lofty aspirations paired with melody and rhythm. Take, for instance, the simple chant, “I Want Only Thee, Lord, Thee Only Thee.” Repeating this affirmation can gradually make it a reality.
8. Surrender everything to God. Mental turmoil originates from the likes and dislikes in the heart. Offering everything you have and are to God helps calm and uplift the heart. The mind will then follow suit. That which is given to God becomes beautiful.
There was a woman who had such beautiful hands that they were often photographed by advertisers. Edgar Cayce, a great mystic and seer, said it was because in a past life she had spent many years devotedly scrubbing the floors of her monastery. Give your voice to God and it will become sweet. Give your money to the Divine and you will always have what you need. Yogananda recommended repeating, “I go forth in perfect faith in the power of Omnipresent Good to give me what I need at the time I need it.”
9. End your meditation by feeling joy. Consistently practicing this simple step will make your meditations sweeter, deeper, and more joyful.
10. Carry your peace into daily activities. Meditation time will always be limited compared with the rest of the day. If you carry the peace and joy of meditation into your daily activities, you will find your life becoming transformed.
Especially when time is short, try these simple suggestions. Even a little dose of meditation is the right medication for a stressful life.
I’ll end with this lovely quote from Swami Kriyananda: “If we enter the clear river flowing majestically to the sea of cosmic consciousness, we find ourselves carried along with increasing ease. At no point do we need to do all the work of swimming ourselves. Ultimately, the current carries us to oneness with Infinite Bliss.”
Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (8:34):
Thank you it is wonderful to have these reminders
Thank you for these timely reminders which I needed very badly in my current situation!
Dear Nayaswami Jyoti’s Jo,
Thank you for this wonderful blog. An excellent guidance to our daily Sadhana and life.
Very helpful. Thanks for sharing
Thanks 🙏 very much since I am struggling to do meditation regularly. Om guru
Dear jyotish ji
Thank u for making things ever easy for us with you regular and beautiful guidance. In a world full of chaos your blogs are reminders that we are guided on the right path at all times
Thank you again
Thanks Jyotish ji for these 10 simple, doable steps.🙏
Thank you, Jyotish!
What a perfect list of realistic and beneficial tips to help start and grow in meditation.
With diving gratitude,
This is beautiful and encouraging. Thank you!
What a perfect list of reminders and tips!
Thank you 🕉
Thank you very much, Jyotish. This message couldn´t have arrived at a better time!!!
Thank you Jyotish, I love your messages, your guided meditations, and these tips to keep meditating. I also love your voice and chanting. I have meditated while listening to your Meditations to Expand our Consciousness hundreds of time. The moment I hear your voice I start to feel relaxed and focused.