I’m someone who has managed to develop the ever elusive daily meditation practice. It was not easy and it took me a few years but I managed to work my way up to a 20 minute meditation, almost every morning. For a long time I couldn’t figure out how to break through my 20 minute plateau so I became content and figured that this was good enough. It was only until I got back from a trip to Peru that I began to consider investing some serious money and thought into my spiritual work. As I began investing more into the space where I meditate, I started to notice that I was spending a lot more time there. I very quickly went from my usual 20 minutes of meditation to an hour. Some days I would even meditate for more than an hour because I would meditate in the mornings and then before bed.
The methods I used don’t involve the latest meditation app, heart rate monitors or brain wave altering technology. These techniques are in fact ancient and simple, they can be used by anyone, and you can start immediately. Here is how you can triple your meditation time.
Decide to Invest in Your Spirituality
Just like with anything else, the more you invest, the more you’re going to get out of it. Spirituality is no different. Before I would just sit on my floor against a wall, close my eyes and meditate for as long as I could before I would inevitably become restless and stop. Aside from reading books on meditation, I never really invested any energy into my practice. What I’ve realized is that when we invest money and energy into something, we are far more likely to use it and use it often.
Designate a Special Area for Spiritual Work
If you think about some of the most elaborate and beautiful structures that humans have built, a vast majority of them are temples and churches. These people knew that our environment has a tremendous impact on how we feel and act. If your meditation space is the floor in your messy room, you’re not going to feel very spiritual and you’re not going to want to sit there for very long. That is why picking out a quiet place, whether it is a corner in your bedroom or a spare room in your house that looks and feels spiritual, can be incredibly helpful. I found that filling my meditation space with beautiful things such as art, a tapestry, dream catchers and plants can really added to the spiritual ambiance of your room.
Build a Meditation Shrine
Every religion has their version of a sacred shrine. A shrine is a construct that is dedicated to some form of spiritual work. Since my work has been meditation, I decided to build my own personal meditation shrine. I simply removed the books from a small, 3 foot tall book shelf that was already in my room, and I started filling it full of things I considered either beautiful or meaningful. I began filling it with crystals and stones, pieces of art, a golden Buddha statue, a meaningful book of mine and various souvenirs that I had collected while travelling. Whatever you use is up to you, but one thing I feel that every shrine should have are candles. I don’t know what it is about candles but they definitely play a key role in activating your shrine.
Ceremony is one of those lost art forms that I believe a lot of us long for in our lives. Ceremony gives more meaning to our practice and helps us get into a more focused mind-set. When putting together your own personal ceremony I believe there are a few components that should be considered.
There’s something about the soft glow of candles that seems to elicit more of a sacred feel to your ceremony. Whether you light a single candle or many, in my view, the use of candle light is essential.
Sound plays many different roles in ceremony. It reminds us of the divine, helps us attain altered states of consciousness or it can simply calm the energy of a room. Whether it is listening to a guided meditation, singing, chanting, practicing the Om sound, shaking maracas, beating drums or playing a singing bowl, most ceremonies use a form of sound to enhance the experience. I use a crystal singing bowl to signify the beginning and end of my meditation but feel free to use sound in any way you see fit.
Set an Intention
Setting an intention is probably the single most important part of ceremony. There is a part of our brain that we can program to search out certain things in our daily lives which we want to notice. A good example of us unintentionally doing this is when we get a new car. All of a sudden when we’re driving around in our new car, we start to notice that there seems to be a lot more of our car on the road. We begin to notice them everywhere we go. However it’s not that there is suddenly more of your car on the road; it’s that your brain is now programmed to seek out that model of car. Intentions work the same way. If you set your intention on something that you want, your brain will begin to look for opportunities, people and situations that will get your closer to that thing that you’re seeking.
An intention can also take the form of a question that you ask yourself. We all experience times in our lives when we need advice. And who better to ask than yourself! If you sit quietly with a question long enough, you may be surprised at the usefulness of the answers and insight which arise.
Breath work is something that is included in many spiritual practices and I have found it to be very useful for meditation. The breath work that I do is borrowed from the Wim Hof Method. It involves doing rounds of 30 quick and deep breaths per round. Then you try holding your breath, after you’ve exhaled, after each round for as long as it feels comfortable (which can be between two to five minutes). I’ve noticed that after each round of this breath work, my mind and body becomes very still and I am able to get into very deep meditative states.
Then after a while, my mind and body will eventually become more restless and active. I’ll then stretch out my legs for a bit, have a few sips of my coffee, let my thoughts come and go as they please, and when I am ready I’ll begin another round of deep breathing. I’ll typically do three rounds of this.
It’s amazing to think how good we’ve become at avoiding spending time with ourselves. Yet, avoiding time with yourself is like avoiding cleaning your house. The dust starts accumulating, dishes pile up and odd smells start percolating in your room. Now imagine how good it feels right after you’ve cleaned and organized your house. All of a sudden it looks and feels better, you feel more positive and you enjoy coming home more. Meditation is the equivalent of cleaning and organizing the house in your mind.
When I began to combine all of these strategies is when my meditation practice began to gain some real depth. I’ve only just begun to explore these technique but it has already produced some very profound insights into my life and into life in general. This is why investing some money, time and thought into the space where you do your daily self-reflection is truly the one of the best investments you could ever make.
If you are interested in developing a meditation practice, then feel free to download my Beginners Guide to Meditation. This guide is free and will give you everything you need to know about meditation for beginners. All you have to do is click the link below and subscribe to the newsletter. Enjoy!