How to Look Forward to and Enjoy Meditation

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Becky C 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #2491

    Nick
    Member

    Hello,

    I suspect the answers might be different depending on your personality, but I’d love to hear any tips, strategies or realisations that led to you looking forward to and enjoying your meditation sessions. Previously, I would view meditation as something which is unpleasant but worth it given the benefits, not unlike performing exercise that you don’t like. I’ve since removed my negative outlook towards the process of sitting down and meditating, and also removed the feelings of agitation or resistance I would have to sitting down. I’m now in stage 4 of TMI, and I would say I now view sitting down to meditate fairly neutrally.

    However I’m sure I’m like many people when I say that I often feel like there is never enough hours in the day, and I find myself thinking about all the things I want to accomplish. I’m wondering if anyone would be willing to share how they’ve grown to enjoy the actual process (not just the benefits) of meditation, and actually looking forward to meditating. I know for me it’s often a little easier when I’m well rested, but that’s not something I can always control.

    Any input appreciated.

    #2494

    Frederic
    Member

    Hi,

    Obviously we’re all different but here’s what seemed to work for me:

    • At first, or after a long break from practice, I’d start with only short sessions (“how short for me is okay to not feel any resistance to sitting” kind of short). It would be 5 or 10 min, just enough to feel a bit of relaxation and enjoy that time I took for myself.
    • Then, instead of sitting for a longer time, I’d sit more often: two, three, four times a day, each time with an emphasis on the relaxation, feeling good, really enjoying that small bit of time. Like this, practice time is strongly associated with positive emotions.
    • It was really important to not beat up myself for “not sitting for long enough” or “being lazy” etc.
    • Similarly, I had to let go of the desire for results. I wanted to build the “joy of being a practicioner”. Attitudes of curiosity and playfulness are seriously helpful, and are prepping you for the days when difficulties will come up. Relax. I mean it.
    • Finally, I’d start to increase the sitting time by just a bit. Just enough to go out of my comfort zone but not enough to build resistance. It’s all about staying at the edge and building success. Like weight lifting or stretching, you don’t want to brute force it, just to push a bit over the limit. It may take a while but in the end, you’ll get to the point when you can sit for those 45-60 min not dreading it.

    The book Hardwiring Happiness was really helpful. It’s about enjoying the little things and really feel them, many times a day. I combined it with informal metta meditation and a mindfulness bell application. Each time the bell would ring, I’d try to generate the metta feelings and just feel them. In terms of “strength” for the feeling, I consider that a 1 or 2 over 10 is more than enough. It’s more about the spreading than about the intensity. After a while, the feeling and joy would just happen each time my phone would ring!

    Lastly, I’m all about changing points of view: in my eyes, any emotional reaction happening, any thought happening is an old conditioning or unconscious conflict coming up to find resolution and purification. It’s a good thing! This Ted talk from Kelly McGonigal about stress was of great help.

    In a way, you used conditioning and fabrications for your benefits and build tiny habits. When you show up every day, after a while you start to need it to be functional.

    I hope it was of help and wish you the best.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Frederic.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Frederic.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Frederic.
    #2502

    JC
    Member

    I’m starting to realize that Frederic is very correct on this point:

    “Similarly, I had to let go of the desire for results. I wanted to build the “joy of being a practicioner”. Attitudes of curiosity and playfulness are seriously helpful, and are prepping you for the days when difficulties will come up. Relax. I mean it.”

    I think about meditation as being “my time,” meaning this is basically the only time during the day where I get to just sit and be, and whatever happens happens. Note when your mind judges and don’t become your emotions. If you’re feeling physical pain, try different sitting situations (chair, cushions, lying down, etc.) Also, make a log (I use an Excel sheet) of your sits. As you look back at the progress you’ve made and the amount of time you’ve dedicated to meditating, it will inspire you to want to continue on. In addition, once you start to progress, you’ll experience things that you’ve never experienced before. You’ll change both on and off the cushion. You’ll begin to realize that this stuff is for real, the it’ll quickly drive you to keep making progress.

    Ultimately, meditation is preparing yourself for those dark and difficult days. The easiest and best time to do it is when life is still handing you roses.

    #2518

    Becky C
    Member

    Nick,
    “Previously, I would view meditation as something which is unpleasant but worth it given the benefits, not unlike performing exercise that you don’t like. ” I was laughing 😄 you describe it so well, this is exactly how I felt. I had been making t more and more miserable over time till I would stop, now reading the book I see how many things I was doing wrong.

    I am doing many of the ideas Fredrick and JC listed, in the beginning here, I am not worried about much other than making it pleasant and wanting to do it again later. My sessions are short right now but a few times a day. I am not worried abut progressing anywhere, I am being pretty silly about it really celebrating in my mind when I remember to come back to breathe. Being really thank ful I have this opportunity to learn this stuff, and using it throughout my day, making happiness a priority, learning to make it a state of mind.

    In just finishing up the reading of the book, one thing I am concentrating on is the big picture. There is a lot to learn and practice but the intention of the whole endeavor is to make us powerfully functioning humans, so I want to learn to embrace it all not shut down, grin and bear it, survive like I have spent many years. I want to learn about this joy thing, we all deserve it we are working really hard!

    Wishing you the best

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