Category Archives: FAQ

Tips for Developing a Regular Sitting Practice

A personal sacred space

Choose a space that is dedicated just for your practice.
Select a place in your home that you will only use for your practice. Choose a space that will be relatively quiet when you practice and where you can be alone. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A corner of the bedroom or a large closet would even do. Place a cushion there and something meaningful to you, such as a candle or a picture that inspires you. You don’t balance your checkbook in this space. You don’t play on Facebook here. You turn the ringer off when you’re here. You just sit. Treat the space as sacred and only use it for your practice.

Practice at the same time every day, as much as possible.
It can be very helpful to begin your day with meditation, but if that doesn’t fit your schedule right now, find another time that works for you. Perhaps it will be easier for you to end your day and unwind with your practice, or you may find a 15 minute window of time during the day that works for you, perhaps when you first get home or when you put the baby down for a nap. The important thing is to practice at the same time of day, as much as possible. It sets the expectation in your mind and a makes that time for yourself a priority. Put it in your calendar and set an alarm in your phone if you must. No one else will make your practice a priority for you, if you don’t.

Create a meaningful ritual for your time in that space.
Find a way to make your practice your own using a simple ritual that is meaningful to you and sets your intention for your practice. Maybe you can light a candle and take a moment to express gratitude before you begin. Maybe you can include a picture of someone who is especially endearing to you that inspires you. Maybe it’s a simple mantra practice like loving kindness meditation that helps you begin your practice. Do whatever works for you that helps you to shift gears from the busyness of your life and into your practice.

Set reasonable goals for yourself.
If you’re not a morning person, it will be very difficult to suddenly try to get up at 4:30 am to meditate every day. Be realistic. Don’t try to sit for an hour any time soon. Even 5 minutes a few times a week is a good way to begin a new practice. If all you do is sit down on the cushion and put your body there in that space in that posture for a few breaths a day then get up and go about your day, it can be a very healthy way to begin creating a meaningful practice. Set small reasonable goals for yourself and make them a priority.

Be accountable to others.
The practice of meditation may seem like a lone ranger mentality, but the truth is that we need a safe supporting community. Even if it’s just one friend that we can share about our practice with, it really helps us to know someone else is on a similar path as ours. We all need encouragement and the opportunity to offer encouragement to others. Find a local yoga class or meditation group that you can practice with on occasion, or join an online discussion group on meditation. Even using an app on your phone like Insight Timer will put you in touch with other people who are engaged in similar types of practice as yours.

The bottom line is you just do it. You set your intention, you make it a priority, and defend that time in your day as a way of giving back to yourself and cultivating the enormous potential that is in you. Sometime you have to be a little selfish in order to be more selfless for everyone else in your life.

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Feelings Come & Go

When we just sit with our feelings and bodily sensations in meditation, we don’t have to understand or fix them. We just have to watch them. With equanimity and awareness they reveal themselves as they are.

With mindfulness we realize that those feelings, like everything else, are impermanent. They will pass. Right now, it may be like this, but in time how you feel now will change. In the mean time just practice cultivating loving awareness. Don’t judge yourself or add to the narrative with every thought that arises.

Going to a meditation meeting for the first time?

  • We meet for group practice on Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • We meet at River Oaks Square Arts Center on the 2nd floor at 1330 Second St. in Alexandria, La.
  • The meeting usually lasts about an hour.
  • Wear loose comfortable clothes
  • Most sit on cushions but you can lay down or sit in a chair if you prefer
  • Cushions are provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own
  • We usually begin with a few minutes of a centering meditation
  • There will be a short talk about meditation usually about 15 minutes
  • There will be 20-30 minutes of silent group meditation
  • Meditation instruction is offered, but everyone is welcome to do their own practice
  • You’re welcome to linger after the meeting to meet people or ask questions
  • There is no charge, but donations are welcome.
  • No religious affiliation or meditation experience is required to attend.
  • We’re really laid back. Some have had active meditation practices for several years. Many are new to the practice. All are welcome.