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4 Tips to Bolster Your Meditation Practice

4 Tips to Bolster Your Meditation Practice


    As knowledge of meditation has grown, more and more people have turned to this ancient spiritual practice as a way to reduce stress, increase their happiness and enhance their concentration.  We now have access to a wide array of meditation guides, in formats ranging from blog posts for beginning meditators to full-length books. However, for many novice meditators, the true challenge is not getting started, but keeping their meditation practice consistent.  Here are four fundamental tips that have helped me cultivate my meditation practice over the years.

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    1.  Set Realistic Goals

    When we are first developing our meditation practice, there can be a temptation to set unreasonable goals.  We may be so entranced by our first few meditation sessions that we want to turbocharge our progress by meditating for extra long sessions and devouring every book on the practice.  In doing so, we risk the potential for a metaphysical burnout.

    Instead, consider starting with small goals, such as sitting for five minutes in the morning, and then work up incrementally.  If you add an extra minute a day, you’ll be up to a half-hour within a month.  Remember that meditation and mindfulness are lifelong practices, so try to refrain from life-changing expectations at the beginning.

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    2.  Reduce the Temptation to Be Critical of  Yourself

    One of the things that many novice meditators, including myself, struggle with at the beginning of their practice is the temptation to become their biggest critic.  Although we  strive to keep a consistent, daily meditation practice, it is inevitable that we will at times fail to sit.  Additionally, we will have meditation sessions where our concentration will be poor and our focus muddled.  We may have to stand up, readjust our positioning our even abandon our session due to some implacable distraction of the mind.

    When these situations occur, it is natural to grow frustrated and to want to castigate oneself for a lack of discipline.  We may feel that we are even reverting to poor practices that we thought we had abandoned in the past. However, if we put too much weight on setbacks, if we place too much emphasis on a momentary lack of discipline, we risk damaging our practice through our own criticism.

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    Remember that setbacks are natural part of a meditation practice, just like they are in life.  Instead of getting down on ourselves, we should use these tough moments to help strengthen our practice by watching and observing–with an detached awareness–the ebb and flow of our distractibility.

    3.  Look for Opportunities to Practice Mindfulness off  The Cushion

    Let’s face it, we’re not going to live our lives on the meditation cushion, nor do we want to.  The goal of meditation is to be able to integrate the skills that we learn on the cushion into our daily lives.  Some of this will come naturally, but often it is beneficial to exert extra mindfulness in certain situations that may be conducive to frustration.

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    Good examples are when sitting in traffic or in a line.  Instead of letting our frustration and impatience get the best of us, we can take note of the fact that we’re in a potentially stressful situation and accept that reality.  Hopefully, alongside that acceptance will be the realization that generating feelings of anger and stress are futile, as getting angry won’t move the line or decrease traffic. Then, we can do some breathing meditation to create a feeling of harmony where a feeling of frustration used to be triggered.  In doing so, we’re slowly rewiring our brain in a positive way.

    4. Find a Sangha

    Sangha is a Pali word meaning “assembly or “company” and typically refers to a group of people who meet to meditate once or twice a week.  I’ve found participating in a sangha to be hugely beneficial to my practice and many others feel the same. A regularly scheduled meditation session helps you carve out time for your practice.  Additionally, a group of fellow meditators can be a great resource for questions that you may have about your practice.

    (Photo credit: In the Lotus via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 17, 2018

    How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

    How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

    Successful people “think” success all the time. That is why their goals are firmly lodged in their subconscious.

    While most believe that having a long-term goal is crucial to success, successful people understand that without small, daily goals, you will get demotivated easily; success will in turn become hard.

    In this article, we will look into the importance of setting daily goals and how to having daily goals that help you achieve success.

    How to “think” success with your subconscious

    The subconscious is brilliant at prioritizing. It listens to you and gauges from your thoughts what you think is the most important task. This means that what you think about most of the time is what the subconscious will think is the most important thing for you, and will try to find creative solutions.

    If you think about problems, the subconscious will try to find you more problems. If you think about solutions, goals and dreams, it will try to make them come true.

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    But the subconscious goes even further when trying to understand what you think is important; it “listens” to your feelings.

    Luckily, it has been proven that a positive thought is over 100 times as positive as a negative thought. This makes it a lot easier to drive positive emotions into your subconscious.

    How daily goals keep you positive

    It is enough to be positive and keep your thoughts on what you want — and you don’t have to go monitoring your thoughts all the time.

    It is enough to imbue your thoughts a few times a day with a powerful positive emotion when thinking about your goals. The more you can do it, the more powerful this exercise will be.

    For many, reading their goals or making plans become a chore, something that fills them with negative emotions. This ruins the full potential of these activities; filling yourself with positive emotions while thinking about your goals will make them a lot more powerful.

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    Over the last several years, I have been taught several exercises that can help you focus more on your goals and spend more time thinking about and feeling about them. What I want you to remember when doing these exercises is to have fun. Never see them as a chore, you are living your goals, it is something to enjoy.

    If you don’t feel uplifted at the thought of focusing on your goals, you might as well not do the exercise today. Do it tomorrow instead because it will do more harm than good if you are in the wrong mood when thinking about your goals.

    Why positive thoughts inspire you ideas

    In my business, I constantly need to come up with new ways to improve efficiency, new ideas to test and new subjects to teach. It takes a lot of creative work — and creative work has always been one of my weaker areas.

    Luckily, thanks to all my work with goal setting (and because of my focus on my goals), my subconscious knows these are the things I need the most help with and that they are very important to me.

    Every day I get new ideas of things I can try out, products I can create, seminar subjects I can offer, and so on.  All of them aren’t good but when you throw enough “mud against the wall”, something will stick. And that is what my subconscious does — it feeds me idea after idea.

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    How to set daily goals for yourself

    This method is used by countless thousands around the world and for everyone who has tried it, the effects have been incredible:

    1. Each morning, take a pen and a piece of paper and write down your 10 top goals. Don’t look at the day before, just think about what you want to most and write them down.
    2. Remember to write them in the positive present tense and remember to set a deadline for each goal. Just like we did when setting your long term and short term goals. (For example you could set the goal “I make 10,000 dollars per month by the December 31 next year.”)
    3. Do this for all 10 goals.

    In the beginning, writing down 10 goals might be difficult. Each day, they might look a bit different and some of the goals you write never come back again.

    If you forget a goal, it is because it wasn’t all that important and something more important has taken its place.

    What difference does it make?

    By starting your day setting your 10 top goals, you jump-start your creativity — which will motivate you for the rest of the day. You will have programmed yourself to focus on your goals and to move towards them and their completion.

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    What will happen to you?

    If you do this, you will start to realize what is important to you. You’ll see what goals keep surfacing and what goals vanish.

    You will know what you want and you will find yourself presented with opportunities that you haven’t noticed before.

    You will be more creative in finding ideas and chances to make your dreams reality.

    The bottom line

    Having goals on a daily basis can change your life for the better. It will help you keep moving faster and faster towards your goals and dreams.

    So now set your goals and make having daily goals your good habit:

    1. Buy a notebook and a pen at your local bookstore.
    2. Start writing down 10 goals every morning, without looking at the day before.
    3. Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and capitalize on them.
    What’s next after setting your goals? While your routine is the key to achieving your goals, you can take these 6 simple steps to make progress towards achieving goals.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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