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Plan to meditate at about the same time every day. Some people find it best to sit first thing in the morning; others find it easier to practice at lunchtime, or before going to bed at night. Experiment to find the time that works best for you. Then make a commitment to yourself. Write it in your datebook.
I suggest you start by sitting for twenty minutes of meditation three times the first week—but if you'd rather start with a shorter time and gradually lengthen it, that's fine. Decide before each session how long it's going to be. (Set an alarm if you're worried about knowing when the time is up.) You'll add one more day of meditation in Week Two, another in Week Three, and two in Week Four, so that by the end of the month you'll have established a daily practice.
Formalizing a time to meditate will enhance your sense that this is a deeply important activity. But here's the fundamental question: What will get you to sit down on that cushion or chair? Sometimes people think, If I don't have an hour, I won't do it. Even five minutes, though, if that's all you have, can help you reconnect with yourself.
Excerpted from Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness. Special book offer available for Tricycle Community Members. Become a Tricycle Community Supporting or Sustaining Member and join Sharon Salzberg for April's Tricycle Retreat!
Image: from the Flickr photostream of ĐāżŦ