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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Question of the week: How long should I meditate?

Q- How long do you recommend meditating each day?

A- That's a great question, and it's a question that is asked a lot when I teach meditation. The simplest of answers is: There is no recommended time. While some say you should have a time frame in mind, I feel that once you start putting your thoughts on "time" (Which, technically, doesn't exist), then you start putting outside influence on your internal process. The fact is, I will always take QUALITY of meditation, over QUANTITY. As I tell my beginners , if they get to sit in their emptiness for only 10-15 seconds, that is much better than sitting in your thoughts for 30 minutes.

There are going to be days where you can seemingly meditate forever. I love those days. With a strong meditative practice, you can find yourself meditating for as long as you want to. But even in that practice, you may have days where you just can't get out of your own head. Even if the thoughts are good, positive, affirming thoughts, you are still in your thoughts. And unless you are doing a positive affirmation meditation, then that's really not the goal. So your meditation on those days may only be 10 minutes. It can be frustrating when the day before you were having a great 45 minute meditation, and the next day you can't "get there". Unfortunately, that adds to the anxiousness, and you start thinking about how you can't get there, and soon, you are swimming in your thoughts. On days like that when you can't get out of your own head, I really recommend starting a positive affirmation meditation, keeping your thoughts positive, and then coming out of your meditation. If you can find a minute or two to be in your emptiness, then that is better than nothing.

If you are just starting off, don't have any expectations of what it is supposed to be. Just go through your meditation and approach it with focus and concentration. If you are able to get to that place of emptiness for a few minutes, then expand on that next time. But don't set a time frame, or a schedule, as that takes away from the idea of what you're there to do to begin with. If you are an "expert", then simply let your inner self talk to you. You will know when you are done. But most of all, just enjoy the experience. Getting frustrated with meditation will never lead you to better meditations.

The only thing that I will say about "time", is that you do try to set a time to do your meditation. Not a specific time, like 11:06am, but after breakfast, or before bed. Just something that you can put into a routine, so that it becomes part of who you are, instead of something on your list of things to do for the day. In the long run, you'll get much more out of it. So, that's about it! Thanks for the question!


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