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It's very hard for me to discipline myself to practice meditation every day. Every time I decide I am going to meditate every day no matter what, after a few days I cannot not keep it up. Sometimes it is due to lack of time, but mostly it is because of laziness.

I am not sure how I can get over it and keep practicing. What should I do?

  • I recommend a change of tag, as I think 'hindrances' should be reserved for the 5 hindrances. – Adamokkha Jul 22 '15 at 12:47
  • Aim for token amounts of time- 1 minute or switch to a similar practice, like chanting or prostrations. – MatthewMartin Jul 23 '15 at 2:39
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While meditating did you ever get distracted with a thought before eventually returning? Sitting meditation is the same - somedays you will run away with your impulses to not sit. Confront it, accept it, deal with it.

Meditating at the same time, and at the same place can help some people. Having an alarm that goes off when it is time to sit is good. Better still, have an alarm every 30 minutes, and take a minute to be mindful every time it rings.

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This is a common problem. I'd suggest you get some inspiration and enthusiasm from reading online about meditation and start doing it for even say, 30 seconds.

But most importantly, don't force yourself to do it or feel bad about not meditating. The moment you start forcing your mind to do something, it mostly doesn't work. Let your mind be.

Also there could be external distractions apart from internal distractions. Try an early morning meditation sometime if that is the case.

Again, don't force yourself. Just sit down when you have the time/desire and let go of your mind. Let it wander aimlessly. But be with your mind. It's not what the mind is aware of, but how you are aware of the mind. Once this is done, start bringing the mind to your breath. This is a trick to deal with the mind. ;)

Also try mindfulness in your everyday activity. Say, your lunch or dinner time. It helps to get you started again.

Good luck.

  • 2
    Starting VERY small is what helped me. I could convince myself to do it for 1 minute. Eventually, it became a bit of a habit, and was easier to add time in small increments. – Zefareu Jul 22 '15 at 12:58
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Take a deep breath. This is your moment of meditation. You're already living the most important and most powerful spiritual experience of your life.

Birdsong brings relief

to my longing

I'm just as ecstatic as they are,

but with nothing to say!

Please, universal soul practice

some song or something through me!

-Rumi

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  • Try writing your resolve down (be very specific when you write it.) Perhaps with a cluster of resolves; make sure you feel very confident that you will be able to accomplish all of them (they can be a little bit more challenging once you gain momentum); make sure they all have a clear time frame and a way to measure when they are accomplished. (Cf. SMART goals)
  • Every day indefinitely seems to be too high a bar; begin with an easier resolve that you are certain you can attain to build momentum, e.g., 'I will meditate 2 times a week for four weeks.' Once you achieve this, you can reevaluate how that went and make another resolve, again, that you feel confident you can accomplish, e.g., 'I will meditate 3 times a week for four weeks.' Be super slow about increasing the frequency and build up momentum and confidence by accomplishing your resolves. Also, indefinite resolves are more difficult to work with because there is no clear end in sight. It is probably easier to work a resolve to do something for a specific amount of time, with the knowledge that you can reevaluate at that time.
  • Feel free to start with very very short sit times, as someone above recommended and maintain that until you are comfortable and stable in that, then increase very slowly
  • Although some accomplished meditators I respect sit every day, I only sit 6 days a week, giving myself a day to completely have no responsibility. Consider only trying to sit 5 or 6 days a week.
  • Find a teacher that you respect and find inspiring; if you can't find one in real life find one on the internet. Try to put their teachings into practice to improve. Ajahn Brahm is probably my absolute favorite; perhaps you can ask others to give you recommendations as well.

Happy sitting.

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It's very hard for me to discipline myself to practice meditation every day. Every time I decide I am going to meditate every day no matter what, after a few days I cannot not keep it up. Sometimes it is due to lack of time, but mostly it is because of laziness.

I am not sure how I can get over it and keep practicing. What should I do?

Sometimes it can actually be counterproductive when setting "absolute" goals such as "from now on i will meditate 1 hour everyday" or as you mention that you would like to meditate everyday no matter what. This can become a hindrance for one' practice when the bar is set too high compared to how much effort and energy is available. Maybe one is spending a lot of energy on work, relationships, training etc. Then there will be less energy for the practice and when one then sets absolute goals these goals can seem so high that they are not possible to reach. One's determination and resolution then turns into laziness.

It's like being giving a task that is above one's capacity at that given time.

Actually laziness occurs when there is an excess of concentration and too little energy to drive it. It's like wanting to run an entire marathon but only having the energy and stamina to complete half of the run.

What should one do then?

A way to deal with this is to set realistic goals for the time being. One can definitely get to a meditation practice that is once a day. That is far from impossible. That is actually recommended to practice as often as possible since the fruits will be bigger when practice is frequent and consistent.

But one have to start some place. Maybe a goal could be to meditate 2 or 3 times a week. Or maybe every second day and only for 15 minutes. As practice builds and concentration builds one can sit longer sessions or more sessions or do both if the energy and concentration is cultivated. It's better to have shorter productive sessions than long sessions where the last half of the session is dominated by dulness and drowsiness.

How can one then adjust one's practice?

Maybe you have heard the phrase "Balancing the faculties". We have 5 spiritual faculties that needs to be balanced. When the 5 faculties are matured they are called The 5 Powers. They are briefly; Concentration, Energy, Faith, Discriminating Wisdom and Mindfulness.

Energy and concentration needs to be balanced.

Faith and Wisdom needs to be balanced.

Mindfulness is general. It should always be cultivated and one can never get too much mindfulness.

If concentration is high and energy is low one will experience laziness.

If energy is high and concentration is low one will experience restlessness.

Faith and Wisdom i will not go into here since they are not the issue.

You need to balance your energy faculty, i.e. to arouse energy. There are several ways to do that. One can:

  • Splash cold water in the face before a meditation session
  • One can do walking meditation in a brisk pace before sitting meditation
  • One can go to a high place, e.g. a mountain or building and practice
  • One can make a firm determination to practice effortly and sincerely
  • One can do contemplation on Death as that will induce a feeling of urgency
  • One can reflect on the 5 daily recollections, i.e. That one will grow old, become sick and ill, die, loose everything that one holds dear and that one is the sole heir of one's actions.

These are all methods to overcome laziness and arouse energy, i.e. to balance the energy faculty so that one has the stamina to reach the goals that one sets forth.

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