Setting up a Daily Meditation Practice

By Lewis Gwilt

Setting up a daily meditation practice can be challenging and easier said than done. There is a lot to process and take in. What type of meditation should it be? How long should we do it for? How often should we practise? This post will go through these questions and provide the foundation for setting up a daily practice.

Where do we start?

We can feel discouraged from meditating because we might not know where to start or how. Like with anything, being unfamiliar with something new can be intimidating when trying to delve deeper.

We shouldn’t beat ourselves up or despair about not meeting our own expectations. While we tend to use this as a measure for our own success, it sets us up for disappointment. This attitude is an obstacle to meditation, as we are preoccupied, not with the practice itself, but whether we are doing it right.

It is important we pick a practice which is right for us. Everyone has their own way of living and doing what works for them and our meditation practice should be no different. Don’t worry about how to know whether it is the right practice.

To find out what suits us best, we have to explore and try them out. If one doesn’t work for us, that doesn’t mean we failed or did something wrong. It is a natural part of learning and we only learn through experience and going through something new.

Quality of mind

A daily meditation practice is as much about the quality of mind we are practising with as it is the practice itself. We might think doing it for hours will be better, but if we are distracted throughout the meditation then it has little effect. In this way, our preparation and the conditions surrounding it is as integral as the actual practice.

It is better to pick a duration we are comfortable with. This could be practising for as little as 5 minutes a day. It is very much quality of the meditation over quantity. The key is not in the length of our practice but our ability to return to it and make it a routine.

The more we return and stick to our daily meditation, the easier it will be for us and the more discipline we develop. This same discipline is essential for meditation itself. By having a daily practice, we are cultivating discipline both in and outside of our meditation.

What type should we pick?

No one can tell you what your meditation practice should be or include. You set your own parameters. There is no one-size-fits-all for meditation and all types are equally valuable for their ability to bring a deeper awareness of ourselves and the world around us. What might work for one person, might not for us, and vice versa.

It can feel confining and off-putting when our own needs and considerations aren’t take into account. More than anything, this should be the foundation of our practice. Who better to support our own meditation than ourselves?

Ultimately, it is up to us what we choose and draw inspiration from. Practising one particular type of meditation doesn’t exclude us from another. There is nothing stopping us from doing several if we so wish.

The journey of our meditation should be freeing, exciting, enjoyable and rewarding. If we do not accommodate what works for us, it will not feel enriching and we miss out on all the treasures which await us. Whether it is mantra, insight, concentration, visualisation, breathing, mindfulness or compassion-based, the world of meditation is vast and inclusive, providing enough for everyone!