Finding time to practice

If you’re like most of us,  finding time for your mindfulness practice is a challenge.  There are some folks who have been able to find a really regular daily routine that allows them to create a formal sitting practice at more or less the same time each day.  A lot of us, however, just don’t’ have a regular schedule, or we struggle with finding enough time to do all that we need to get done.  A friend of mine once famously said that there are five requirements of the balanced life: work, family, social life, self-maintenance, and sleep.  The rub is, we only have time for four of them.  So, this literally requires a juggle if we’re to keep all of them in our lives.  It’s no surprise, then that self-maintenance is often the one that keeps getting the heave ho!

Personally, I have a forward-looking sort of mind.  So, I’ve always got a plan for how my meditation practice is going to be in the future.  This is a trap as well, since, of course, the present is the only time you can actually meditate (or do anything else).   I also realize that I’ve struggled with the challenge of when to meditate through a wide variety of life circumstances, including the YEAR that I took off partly in order to have more time to develop a formal meditation practice.

In the end, what works best for me now is to set my intention to meditate for a specific amount of time (sometimes as little as 10 minutes, but ideally more like 30 minutes) then be flexible as I move through my day to find that 30 minutes.  Sometimes all three of my house-mates will be napping at the same time.  Sometimes I’ll take 30 minutes out of lunchtime  at work.  I even sit in my car along the side of the road!  During one particularly challenging period I’d get to bed and realize I hadn’t practiced so I’d just flop down on the cushion next to my bed, knowing that I was just going to fall asleep on the floor.  But, you know, once in a while, that didn’t happen!

The point is to find a way to squeeze it in.  I’d love to hear from some of you about how you’re finding time to nurture your own practice in the midst of your busy life.  Maybe we can make a commitment together to support our own and each others’ practice in 2010 —  ah,  there’s that future mind.  Why not start today.  Right now….

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Author: sdreyerleon

Susan Dreyer Leon is the director of the Experienced Educators Program at Antioch University New England. For information about our programs, including our wonderful Educating for Sustainability M.Ed. program, please visit http://www.antiochne.edu/ed/exed/default.cfm?nav=1. Susan is also involved with the new Mindfulness for Educators Certificate program, which is a three way collaboration between the Center for Mindful Inquiry, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Antioch Center for School Renewal. For more information , visit the CMI website at http://www.mindfulinquiry.org/

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