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Patience in Learning a New Skill

Learning to meditate

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 Simpson’s, “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 skilful 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 comes 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.

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 ten short minutes. And the beauty of taking out ten 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 more tips on how to make meditation a part of your day? Headspace is meditation made simple, accessible and relevant to your everyday life. Sign up for free to our Take10 programme to get the basics just right with guided audio programmes and support and get your Headspace, anytime, anywhere on the Headspace app. And if you find that you're feeling the benefits of some Headspace then why not take advantage of our fantastic Psychology Today reader offer

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