How to Stay Motivated and Consistent During Your Meditation Practice [Episode #818]
This week’s topic is: How to Stay Motivated and Consistent During Your Meditation Practice
Many of us are interested in meditation and the benefits, including, to feel more peace, more groundedness, more clarity, more energy in the morning and throughout our days. However, when it comes to actually practicing meditation, we may often run into some challenges. I know I very much did when I started meditating over 13 years ago.
I remember sitting and having a really challenging time getting myself to sit and my mind would wander and my body had a really difficult time staying in one place. I remember the twitching, the micro movements, the imagined itches and the fidgeting. And it really does take consistency and practice to really follow through with meditations and then allow them to get deeper and richer and to get more of the benefits that we’re looking for and then to experience those benefits regularly.
Having a deeper meditation practice really is so worth working on. It creates so many benefits in your life from more connection with yourself and to others, more intuition, more clarity. It’s a deeper sense of confidence. And as I mentioned, the practical intuitive part is just knowing more what to say, what to eat, what direction to go in.
It’s a really powerful practice and there isn’t one part of my life honestly that hasn’t benefited. I feel more connected in my relationships. I feel more peaceful. I feel just happier all around. And there’s nothing more than I would want for you to also experience that.
Kimberly, I’ve noticed I’m getting so frustrated when it comes time to meditate that I end up not doing my practice. It could be that I’m not really noticing the benefits. Can you share any tips that can help get me back on track and be more consistent?
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Kimberly: 00:01 Namaste loves and welcome back to our Thursday q and a show where our topic this week is How to Stay Motivated and Consistent During Your Meditation Practice. So many of us are interested in meditation. We are interested in the benefits of meditation, including to feel more peace, more groundedness, more clarity, more energy in the morning and throughout our days. But then when it comes to actually practicing meditation, we may often run into some challenges. I know I very much did when I started meditating now almost 15 years ago, I believe, well definitely over 13 years. And I remember sitting and having a really challenging time getting myself to sit and my mind would wander and my body had a really difficult time staying in one place. I remember the twitching, the micro movements, the imagined itches and the fidgeting. And it really does take consistency and practice to really follow through with meditations and then allow them to get deeper and richer and to get more of the benefits that we’re looking for and then to experience those benefits regularly.
01:21 So I would say it’s really been only in the last few years, let’s say two, three years that my meditations have. I mean they continuously get to deeper places, but they’ve gotten to a new level. And I really want to share some of the ways in which it’s gotten to that place because we all have that potential to grow spiritually, to grow in our focus, our concentration, and our ability to go deeper into our meditations. So I’m very excited to share this with you today. And having a deeper meditation practice really is so worth working on. It creates so many benefits in your life from more connection with yourself and to others, more intuition, more clarity. It’s a deeper sense of confidence. And as I mentioned, the practical intuitive part is just knowing more what to say, what to eat, what direction to go in.
02:22 So it’s a really powerful practice and there isn’t one part of my life honestly, that hasn’t benefited. I feel more connected in my relationships. I feel more peaceful. I feel just happier all around. And there’s nothing more than I would want for you to also experience that. I will also mention that we are revamping our meditations on our website. There’s still available there, the practical enlightenment meditations, which we’ll link to in the show notes, but very excited. We just ran a research study, a formal research study in Los Angeles for our heart aligned meditation, which is a new method that we will be introducing. And so that will also be coming on our website, so check that out over on our website, my sauna.com.
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Question around the topic of: How to Stay Motivated and Consistent During Your Meditation Practice: Kimberly, I’ve noticed I’m getting so frustrated when it comes time to meditate that I end up not doing my practice. It could be that I’m not really noticing the benefits. Can you share any tips that can help get me back on track and be more consistent?
So all that being said, let’s get right into our show today and our question comes from Louise who lives in Georgia. Louise, thank you so much for being in our community. Thank you so much for contributing your question, which is, Kimberly, I’ve noticed I’m getting so frustrated when it comes time to meditate that I end up not doing my practice.
04:32 I could be that I’m not really noticing the benefits. Can you share any tips that can help me get back on track and be more consistent? So Louise, thank you so much for your question. I really appreciate you taking the time to write in, which I believe is a question that many of us have considered out loud or to our friends or to ourselves, which is this really working? Is it worth my time? I am not really seeming to get the benefits that other people talk about. Am I doing something wrong? So there’s a couple parts here, and the first part that I want to get into is that it does take time to go deeper into meditation, which is like piercing the surface, going past the ego, which means the unbridled mind, all the thousands of thoughts that we think every day that are fed to us every day.
05:32 It means going past our patterns. Our bodies are constantly used to reacting. Our nervous systems are in a constant sort of reactivity moving from one thing to the next. Our bodies and our minds are not used to really fully being in this present moment. We are used to being distracted. We are used to ruminating over the past and imagining the future. And so as simple as it sounds to be here in the present moment, it is by no means easy and it is by no means something that is necessarily natural for any of us. It’s something that needs to be learned and it does take some time to do that. So I would encourage you, Louise, and anyone listening to this right now to remember that it really does take some effort and it’s nonlinear. It’s not like learning a skill such as how to swim backstroke, which you say, okay, I’m going to put in X number of hours this week, and then by week four I should be at a certain level what my experiences with meditation and what a lot of the great yoga gurus teach us is that you may be going along and going along and going along, and sometimes you experience these exponential leaps, which is sort of like one of the monks at the self-realization fellowship.
07:06 Use the analogy with water. He said, you’re boiling the water, you’re boiling the water. It seems like not much is happening, little bubbles are coming, and then all of a sudden there’s this explosion overall and the water starts to really boil and overflow and there’s this big leap in your consciousness, in your level of depth, in your meditation, and then you feel this incredible explosion inside of you of peace and joy and insights and groundedness and all the things that we’ve been looking for. So I want to stress that the spiritual path and the meditation path is not linear, which is how the ego of the mind likes to think of things sort of being neat and going in a certain pattern, a predictable way, but that’s not really how it works at all. So please be patient and please be consistent and keep showing up because it’s important to know that you never know exactly when you may experience a big leap.
08:12 Now at the same time, it is helpful to get the little wins along the way. So even if you just start to notice a glimmer, five seconds, 10 seconds of true presence and true being really centered and grounded in yourself, that can really help to bring more expansiveness. So I would encourage you, instead of focusing on the lack and saying, well, my mind wandered for 10 minutes and I was really only in my meditation for one minute, that one minute can actually do a lot of good. It’s the beginning of really starting to build your ability to sit and to expand that place. So celebrate the small wins, focus on celebrating the consistency and just showing up for yourself. Now, what’s really helped me is some practical considerations, which I will now list another monk. This is NDA, who is a monk at SS R F Ization Fellowship, which is Paramahansa Yogananda’s Meditation Organization, which I’ve spoken about before in my latest book, you are More Than You Think You are.
09:27 He also came on the podcast. And so we will link to his interview. He’s a brilliant man, full of wisdom, full of peace, and he said something in one of his morning talks, which stuck with me. I liked how it sounded, meditation before caffeination. And what this means is if many things, but one of them is of course the actual literalness of putting caffeine in your body, drinking a bunch of coffee, which of course stimulates your system. And then trying to sit in calmness makes it more challenging. Also, by virtue of getting up rustling around, going to the kitchen, making coffee, waiting for the coffee to be done means you’re probably going to check your phone, you’re probably going to start looking around and all of this can throw off your schedule. So instead, what we want to do is we want to get into the practice of trying to meditate as soon as possible from when we wake up.
10:31 For me, sometimes this means if one or both of my children are in bed with me, I don’t want to risk. They can sense energy like we all can. I don’t want to risk waking them up. So I’ll often just sit up in bed sometimes and do my practice there. Or in Hawaii I may sneak out, but that does often wake up my older son. But sometimes we just have to do what we need to do. If you don’t have small children, you can create a space hopefully not too far away. I keep my socks next to the bed a sweater, so there isn’t too much to do before you can just go right into your practice. It’s really helpful to do it right away. It’s really helpful to have a dedicated spot with a cushion, maybe a meditation shawl or blanket or some other basic simple items that make it really cozy and comfortable for you to get into your practice.
11:33 The next thing is to prepare from the night before so you can actually go in and not feel super groggy to things. Cause a lot of grogginess, number one, of course, going to bed late. So you wake up and you don’t feel really clear. It’s really hard to even focus or be there. And number two, eating too late, which means that a lot of your energy has been consumed by digestion over the night so that you haven’t really properly and deeply rested. If you can prepare the night before by eating dinner earlier and also going to bed at a regular hour when you wake up in the morning, you should have more energy and more clarity from the moment you wake up. It is a good sign of your overall energy and vitality to notice what it feels like to you in your body when you wake up in the morning, if you wake up alert and excited for the day, or if it’s a drag and it’s really difficult to get going and you hit snooze 20 times.
12:35 There are many different lifestyle factors which are not the focus of this show, but you can check out some of our Ayurvedic interviews with Dr. Jay. You can check out some of our other podcasts around all of our cornerstones. So food, body, emotional wellbeing, spiritual growth, to see which ones resonate with you to see which ones call to you that perhaps there’s something that you need to shift in your overall lifestyle. But it’s really good to think about your whole routine, your whole practice holistically, and notice the energy that you’re bringing in the morning and notice what could shift potentially from the day prior. Now, the next thing that I want to mention is to deepen into your meditation really does require using your what Yoga Nanda called Yogananda. Mont Yogananda is the great yoga guru who brought yoga to the west, who I mentioned so much because he has had a profound impact on my practice, on my life.
13:38 And he talks about dynamic will. So what this means is using your will, basically you decide to do something and you do it, and then you start to build your concentration. Many of us do not get great results in meditation because yes, we’re physically showing up, we’re sitting there, but where is our concentration? Where is our focus? Where is our mind? So if we’re really honest with ourselves and being honest here, there were many times, many, many times in the beginning, it still happens now, but it becomes a lot easier to be here. There are many times where I’d be thinking about something else and then I’d catch myself and I’d say, wait a minute, how long have I been thinking about what I was going to cook for dinner? Or how long have I been playing that situation out in my mind? Whatever it is.
14:30 So we very much want to make sure that we use our dynamic will. We use our focus and our concentration, and we bring it into the meditation, we bring it into the breath. We feel where our body is whatever particular technique you are practicing, whether it’s focusing on your spine, relaxing your body parts, your third eye, chanting a mantra, getting into the energy, behind the words, behind the actual, what the mantra is saying. So it becomes very powerful the more that we can keep honing the skill of concentration. And again, this can feel greatly challenging. It really was for me. I remember scrunching my nose and almost tightening. I was tightening, squeezing to try to will myself to sit because I was so squirmy and I was so fidgety, and I always used to bounce my leg up and down. If you think putting your toe down and your heel lifted and kind of bouncing your leg, I remember doing that for years because there was so much restless energy in my body.
15:50 And so if you’re feeling that, if you’re in that boat, please do not get frustrated. That is quite natural and common and it can be overcome. It’s really just making that decision again to be present and to keep bringing the mind back. And I promise you that it really does get easier over time. It really does start to train. You get trained like a muscle. You start to become more focused. You start to be able to drop more in easily and deeper. And then the most beautiful thing is when you start to notice your practice coming into your day. And so it’s sort of this cyclical thing. We want to focus more on concentrating and improving our meditation, and then we see more benefits, we feel more peaceful. And then in turn, when we’re more peaceful and we see all these amazing benefits have happened, we then credit the meditation and then we want to go back and to do the meditation.
16:52 But if we’re not experiencing the benefits so much because we’re restless during our meditations, it can be difficult to stay motivated. But please remind yourself of how many amazing saints and sages and yogis and gurus have talked about the benefits of meditation. So it is real, it is truthful, and I say it from my personal experience, it can really change your life. It has changed my life. So please do not give up hope everyone has that same potential. A truth means it’s true for every one of us, every soul, we are all equal. We are different expressions of the one, but we all have this potential to go deeper and deeper in. But it does require on our part, this regularity, trying to meditate first thing in the morning and not drinking caffeine. First, preparing, ideally emptying ourselves. Before that could just be our urine or having a bowel movement so we can really focus not eating so late so we don’t wake up already with indigestion and we don’t wake up groggy.
18:00 And then on the flip side, I do also recommend the benefits of a evening practice because an evening practice will allow you to drop in for deeper sleep. An evening practice will allow you to focus and relax and calm down your nervous system and the rest of your bodily systems so that you really are able to relax. We go so much, we’re charged up all the time, and we experience so much low grade stress all the time that when it comes to really fully relaxing, the benefits are enormous because it’s not a state that we find ourselves in a lot of the time. So I definitely recommend that you take the time to breathe. I recommend that you take the time to really allow space for your meditations and allow yourself to be human and know that it takes time, just like any habit, which builds over 30 days or more, to really give yourself this space and meditation, which is such a life changing habit.
19:23 We would not be talking about it if it wasn’t really there. And it’s one of the real things in life. When I say real, it really requires your energy. It can’t be bought, it can’t be purchased, it can’t be shipped to you on Amazon. It’s not something that a friend or an assistant or your parent or anyone can do for you. It really does require your own energy, your own will, which is what’s so unique about meditation. We all have our own journey back to the true self, back to the heart, back to who we really are. And it’s up to us to make that effort, that supreme effort, which will in turn give us supreme rewards. So as I mentioned at the top of the show, we have lots of resources to support you in this regard. There’s meditations. We have great articles about eating for more calmness, eating for more energy, and preparing your body. Oh, that’s one thing I did forget to mention is a little bit of physical movement, which is included in our practical enlightenment meditations. It’s part of crea yoga that yoga Nanda taught as well, even if it’s tensing and releasing your muscles three times. So inhaling for a count of three and tensing all the muscles
Kimberly: 20:46 In your body and then double exhaling out of your mouth. And doing that three times really helps to dispel restless energy, which really does accumulate in your body. And then it prepares the mind for you to be able to go deeper into your meditation and your amazing, beautiful heart, your true self. So please check out the resources. Thank you so much once again, as always, for being part of our community. I look forward to connecting with you more. I look forward to supporting you more and look forward to Monday, which will be our next interview podcast. Till then, sending you so much love. Much aloha. Namaste.