I know that when I meditate I become very efficient and quick in my work. Do you have any tips for motivating yourself to meditate during the day? I had thought about putting an alarm on my cell phone once or twice a day to encourage me to meditate, but it seems that is not enough. I need something more automatic than that. Something to give me a little kick to meditate 15-20 minutes during the day.
Although alarms are helpful, we should perhaps consider the bigger picture. The Buddha taught seven prerequisites for right immersion:
MN117:3.1: “And what is noble right immersion with its vital conditions and its prerequisites?
MN117:3.2: They are: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness.
Each step is important, and we need to take them in order.
MN117:34.2: And how does right view come first?
MN117:34.3: Right view gives rise to right thought. Right thought gives rise to right speech. Right speech gives rise to right action. Right action gives rise to right livelihood. Right livelihood gives rise to right effort. Right effort gives rise to right mindfulness. Right mindfulness gives rise to right immersion. Right immersion gives rise to right knowledge. Right knowledge gives rise to right freedom.
Alarms do help, but we also need to be ready to hear the alarm and meditate when it rings. Meditation takes preparation. If we are watching a great movie when the alarm rings, we will be unprepared. But if we are gently cleaning our room when the alarm rings, it will be much easier to meditate.
No kicking is required.
Instead, take these seven right steps before meditating.
MN117:35.2: And how does right view come first?
MN117:35.3: For one of right view, wrong view is worn away.
MN117:35.4: And the many bad, unskillful qualities that arise because of wrong view are worn away.
MN117:35.5: And because of right view, many skillful qualities are fully developed.
MN117:35.6: For one of right thought, wrong thought is worn away. …
MN117:35.7: For one of right speech, wrong speech is worn away. …
MN117:35.8: For one of right action, wrong action is worn away. …
MN117:35.9: For one of right livelihood, wrong livelihood is worn away. …
MN117:35.10: For one of right effort, wrong effort is worn away. …
MN117:35.11: For one of right mindfulness, wrong mindfulness is worn away. …
And then just meditate.
The method which worked for me is to find fellow meditators in my area. These may be your coworkers or people who stay in your area.
Once you join a group that meditates regularly, it is easy to maintain the practice. Once well established in the practice of meditation, you will find it easier to work independently. But in the beginning, our mind resists a lot, so much so that even thinking about meditation feels like a burden. These are our minds' tricks, but we need to handle them gently.
I am reminded of a quote-
Think of mindfulness as a form of "affectionate attention." —Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn
I hope it helps you.
What you are experiencing is an unconscious aversion to meditation. While consciously you know and experience the benefits of meditating, on the other hand, there is an unconscious aversion to the task. In Buddhist parlance, this generalised aversion has been enumerated into five types, which are typically called the five hindrances. It is good to have a healthy understanding of these hindrances and how they present themselves in everyday life, and not just on the meditation cushion. Having this understanding, one can - at least initially - see the rudiments of those hindrances and their unique, personalized terrain. Later, one knows the details of that terrain, one becomes somewhat of a connoisseur, an expert in the field of their own mind. Knowing the details like the contours, the peaks & troughs, the mental & emotional weather, is called mindfulness, which brings about emotional intelligence.
Some people have little in the way of hindrances, which is obviously a good thing. For these people, they will also likely have a thinned-out body concept; they may take well to formless practices like contemplating space or studying teachings found around the eighth fetter. Zen Master Dogen, for instance, begins at something called ‘enlightenment’, but his teachings can be a little obscure for most and may not be compatible with someone who isn’t ready for them, hence...
...for some, the struggle to sit with the body is an unconscious aversion, which typically shows itself as the five hindrances:
- sense desire: a desire to entertain something in the world.
- Ill-will: the feeling of agitation, annoyance, irritability or anger towards people and situations.
- Mental and physical laziness: self-explanatory
- Anxiousness: a feeling of unease that directs the attention away from the body.
- Doubt: unsure whether these exercises are worth pursuing.
Good luck, my friend.
Traditionally, the Buddha recommended a series of recollections to those who's practice had slackened or who were unmotivated to sit. These were called the anussatis. To engage in this practice, you simply bring into mind the qualities of the Buddha, dharma, sangha, virtue, and the heavenly beings (in the five-fold anussati) into your mind. Focus on their sublimeness, their perfections, their courage, their prodigous efforts, and so forth. Think of it as the Buddhist version of getting your hype on. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anussati
Controversial suggestion: try making it seem more attractive / easier.
Listen to music while you meditate or watch tv. Pop on The Office and be aware of your breath 51% and the office 49%. You can develop an affinity for the breath this way.
Later, once you have the habit, you can remove the external stimuli. Or, at times, you may feel like doing it without additional stimuli.