One of the most frequent objections I hear from people who believe they ought to meditate regularly, but don’t, is: “I don’t have time to meditate.”
How Do I Find Time to Meditate?
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
So where can we find time for something so important? Given the importance of meditation, the first thing to decide is not whether or not you are going to meditate, but when. In other words, take a determination, which, incidentally, is the first of Shiva’s Seven Secrets of Success. And he’s the one who pretty much invented meditation, so he should know.
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman
How Long Do You Need to Meditate?
Don’t make it too hard for yourself. You don’t have to start out meditating for big chunks of time. Ten minutes, twice a day, would be a great start.
You can even start with two minutes. Seriously. The daughter of a friend of mine did this. Her dad meditated, and she finally accepted that she needed to as well, but didn’t think she had time. So she started with two minutes, and increased it one minute at a time. Now she happily meditates regularly for half an hour, and swears it has transformed her life.
Where are those ten minutes?
Stephen Covey in his book, First Things First, teaches a great exercise where you fill a jar first with big rocks, then small rocks, then sand and then water. And each time you think there is no more space, you discover there actually is. I tried this and it really works. If you don’t have time to read this rather long and time consuming book, this is the main take-away. I just saved you eight hours. Use it to meditate.
The average day is not a solid wall of activity—it’s more like Swiss cheese. The key to finding a little bit of personal time is to look for the small pockets of air. Remember, we’re talking about only a few minutes at a time.
I know busy executives and single mothers who have not missed their meditation in twenty-five years. If you make meditation a priority, you will do it. Remember that even just a few minutes of meditation is much better than none. Regularity is the key.
Meditation Creates More time. It’s Magic!
In life’s paradoxical way, when we spend time meditating on a regular basis, we actually have more time.
I now sleep six hours a night – I find it plenty. Before I started meditating regularly, I needed eight hours sleep. Multiply that by 40 years! Of course I also meditate at least two to three hours a day, which means I come out of it spending maximum one hour extra on a really solid meditation practice.
In meditation, we are in a state of restful alertness that is extremely refreshing for the body and mind. As people stick with their meditation ritual, they notice that they are able to accomplish more while doing less. Like Bruce Lee.