I Saved My Meditation Practice With This Hack

How you prepare for meditation is just as important as the meditation itself

Meditation is everything I look forward to and everything I do not look forward to. I’m on top of the world some days and others I feel like giving it up completely. Days when I can’t stop thinking about recent personal hardships are the toughest. I suffocate myself with negative thoughts and emotions, but this is when my meditation practice is most crucial.

I’ve been reading “The Mind Illuminated,” by John Yates. The book takes a step by step approach at teaching you how to build your meditation practice. There are a sequential set of stages for you to become a master of your mind. Yes, there are levels to this shit.

I’ve been meditating everyday for the past nine months. I have seen the benefits of making my mental hygiene a priority. Yet, I still have a difficult time with keeping my focus on the breath. Reflecting, it’s almost like I have been stuck.

John Yates states beginners biggest initial challenge is making meditation a daily routine. Obstacles that get in the way are impatience, fatigue, and lack of motivation. As a solution, he recommends meditators to prime themselves with the Six-Point Preparation.

Going through the Six Point Preparation has taken my practice to the next level. Because of this, I’ve committed to running through it before I meditate every day.

Here are the six points:

  1. Motivation — Why am I sitting down here to meditate this morning? I’ve been trying to tackle a lot recently with being on my own, and meditation helps me manage the internal and external pressures to succeed. It also helps me manage my self-imposed stress.
  2. Goals — What do I hope to work on this meditation sit? Something I’ve been big on recently is positive reinforcement. My goal each day has been to give myself a pat on the back when I have recognized that my mind has wandered.
  3. Expectations — This is a point to remind myself that expectations are dangerous and anytime I sit to meditate, I am doing something for myself. Whether I can focus on my breath for a long time or not, I still had a good day.
  4. Diligence — I acknowledge that meditation requires patience and persistence. The only way to overcome any obstacle is to stick to the technique without judgement.
  5. Distractions — I acknowledge any thoughts or things that may have happened that would take me away from my breath. I look back at yesterday or today to see if there is anything that might stick out. I also look at what is happening now that might distract me, such as the taxi driver outside holding the horn.
  6. Posture — This is the point where I get comfortable. I make sure that back is upright and not being supported by the chair or couch I may be sitting on. I try to remove all physical discomfort because I will only focus on that during the meditation.

I spend around 3–5 minutes everyday before mediation running through each of the six points. It has helped me keep my eyes on the prize, remain patient, and remain focus.

I recommend trying it out for the next week or two and see if this enhances your experience. Even if its for a minute or two. If it doesn’t help don’t worry, do not judge yourself!