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Daily Meditation

The benefits of meditation depend on its continued practice. The skills of meditations only develop as one practices. Daily practice is best, starting with 15 - 20 minutes per day, but even less if necessary. The amount of time which one meditates, the frequency and the ambiance ought to reflect individual reality. Create a meditation regime which you are confident you can maintain indefinitely. Once daily practice becomes stable, try to add minutes to the length of time spent in meditation as this becomes possible.Generally speaking, just before and just after sleep are optimal times of the day for meditation. If you can do only one, morning is probably best.

Where to meditate

Likewise, the same place everyday is best, quiet, with low lighting. But anywhere is better than nowhere at all. Pick a spot out of the way of traffic, and if possible reserve it for meditation and nothing else. Your chosen spot should become neither a burden nor imbued with transcendent or ritual significance. This is just the place you sit whenever you can. But keep it neat and ever ready so that, when a scheduled or impromptu time to sit arrives, no special effort is required. Set things up so you can give in to a passing impulse to sit without having to prepare a place first. Over time, through habit or other means, this place may accrue special meaning.

Walking meditation is also a potent part of personal meditation practice. If 'stillness' is the mark of seated, then 'poise' and 'balance' characterize the walking meditation. When sitting for twenty minutes becomes easy, expand the time by walking meditation followed once more by sitting.

How to deal with a Wandering Mind

Whatever the details of your specific practice, all forms of meditation involve concentration of mind. One focuses upon an object (your breath, your navel, a flame, image, or mantra, etc.) or simply upon what arises for you in experience at the present moment. In the latter, attention is open and receptive, rather than fixed upon one thing. In ether case, the tendency of the mind is to stray from the meditative task. When the mind wanders, avoid disappointment, return to the task and carry on. If you miss a day, or even several days, just start again. Don't be discouraged; just pick up where you left off. Don't fume, just resume.

Beyond Daily Meditation

Meditation is a specific configuration of mind and body: a waking state that is not habitual mind; a relaxing and peaceful state that is not sleep. It works best when synchronized with the circadian rhythms of the body, governed by biological clocks in the brain, which regulate mental and physiological states through the day. When meditation is a part of your day, you increasingly come to it prepared to benefit. Every day at the same time is best; but everyday at variable times is better than always at the same time with missed days. Better late than never is true everyday. Make it a gentle goal, not a rigid gaol. Try to do a longer retreat annually. Set aside a weekend or a few days as meditation-intensive. On at least one day a year meditate through sunrise.