It’s easy to start new things isn’t it? Whether it’s a new diet, a new exercise programme, a new hobby, a new job, or even a new relationship, starting it off is the easy bit. The tricky part is keeping it going. It’s not that we begin with the intention of later giving up. On the contrary, we often begin with a zealous enthusiasm which borders on fanatical. But so often we see that enthusiasm start to fade as we meet obstacles, as we get lazy, bored or more interested in something else. As Homer tells Bart in one of my favourite episodes of The Simpsons, “If something’s difficult to learn, son, then it’s really not worth doing.” Whilst this is undoubtedly one way to approach life, it doesn’t seem to be the most skillful way of living.
As cliché as it may sound, generally speaking the things in life which are really valuable, precious and important, take time and patience to learn. As they say, “If it was easy, they’d all be doing it.” And nothing could be closer to the truth when it come to meditation. It’s not about some kind of quick-fix self-improvement programme. It’s about a fundamental shift in the way you relate to your thoughts and feelings. Whilst that can sound a little overwhelming, it’s done by repeating the exercise little and often. Training the mind in this way, we slowly build up a very stable sense of awareness that starts to filter through to the rest of our life. And the more frequently you practice being aware, the more beneficial the meditation becomes.
But if you take the time to clarify the principles of meditation, to understand the right way to approach the technique, and to appreciate the potential it has for transforming your life, then you’ll have no problem at all in keeping it going. If you’re clear in your motivation, knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, then you’ll never have any trouble at all in sitting down each day for 10 short minutes. And the beauty of taking out 10 minutes each day is that it provides you with an opportunity to sit down and reflect beforehand on what that motivation is. Clearly, the broader and more altruistic the intention, the easier it is to continue no matter what obstacles you might meet along the way.
Want to try meditation made simple on our app for iPhone and Android and our website? Sign up to Get Some Headspace right now to start on your free 10 days of meditation and take advantage of a fantastic reader offer for the Psychology Today community. This post was originally posted on the Headspace Blog