Patience | Consistency | Self-Compassion
It’s easy to become frustrated or disheartened when we try something new that we want to integrate into our life, or get better at - meditation is no different. Meditation is still a loaded term, it can draw connotations of cross-legged men in robes attaining enlightenment - this can create unrealistic expectations, desired outcomes and altogether incorrect ideas of what how our practice should feel. All things which can impact the application of ourselves to the practice; and that’s actually what needs to be remembered - practice. And practicing requires patience, consistency and compassions.
Practice:"the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it."
Patience: Think of the practice like you would treat a young child learning how to walk or ride or bike. We would naturally afford the child time and patience in the process. There is no expectation for the child to get it right a way, or to put a time constraint on any achievement - it’s the same with our meditation practice - we bring patience to the process.
Consistency: The key to creating any new habit is consistency - the repetition of the practice strengthens the neural pathways associated with the act of meditation and its place in our life. Being realistic and honest with ourselves work as enablers to a consistent practice, this could mean starting off with 3-5 minutes per day and working up from there rather than setting challenging targets like 30 minutes the morning and 30 in the evening every day, which if not met for some days, can make us feel like we’ve failed. It can help to schedule a routine time into the day, like in the morning after the shower or on the lunch break, to help build consistency.
Compassion: Importantly, be kind to yourself in case you miss a few days. Remember that young child learning how to ride the bike, if they fall over a few times, we’d show a gentle nurturing compassion towards them - show the same to yourself.