When is the Best Time to Meditate?
An Article By Jeanie Marshall
The best time to meditate is the time that you'll sit down to meditate!
It's the time that works best in your schedule. It's the time that's easiest for you. If you choose a time that's convenient for your lifestyle, you'll find the experience more appealing and more natural.
If the above principle for identifying the best time to meditate is adequate for you, there's not reason to read further. I hope you will, though, because you might find some helpful information. Sometimes knowing how others have benefited from meditating at certain times can help you either to decide when to meditate or to decide what times of day to experiment with meditating.
When working one-on-one with individuals, they often ask my advice about the best time to meditate. When I know something about their lifestyle and I tune in to them energetically, I can give specific recommendations. However, when writing an article that a variety of people will read, I need to approach it in a different way. So, here are some considerations.
About My Own Best Times of Day
I'll start with sharing my own experience ...
My best time to meditate is 4:00 am. When I awake naturally at that time, I meditate. It's a joyful time. It's quiet and peaceful, even the birds are still. I love that time because my mind is not filled with thoughts from the day swirling in my head. Since I have just come out of sleep, I'm in a state of non-resistance and peace.
Typically, I meditate for 15-30 minutes. Then I decide if I'm up for the day or if I want to return to bed for a little more sleep. If I haven't meditated at 4:00 am, then I often will meditate before the day's activities.
It's important to me not to have a rigid schedule. My body and my intuition tell me when it's the best time to meditate. If I feel I am "forcing" myself to meditate, I stop. Instead, I go for a walk or just do something different from what I've been doing to release any resistance or clear my head.
Since I'm already a regular meditator, it makes sense to say that I only meditate when I want to. When I was beginning, though, I did find it was important to make the decision to meditate at certain times and sit myself down to do it whether I really wanted to or not. This is an essential part of establishing a regular practice of meditation.
In the afternoon around 5:00 is another time of the day that I often meditate. In most of our culture, that's the end of the "work day." However, as an entrepreneur, I rarely stop work at that time, but I do like to take a break. When the break is meditation, I go from my office to the living room in my house and sit in one of the two chairs that I bought specifically for meditation.
The elapsed time of this afternoon meditation is quite variable for me. My purpose is to experience the feeling of connection with the Divine, which I can best describe as "detachment with a heightened awareness." It's a particular sensation, which is understood by those who feel it, yet is really ineffable. Usually I reach that state quickly, unless I'm agitated and need to release the agitation first. I stay in the feeling until it ends spontaneously. That may be a few seconds or a few minutes. Even if I'm only a few seconds in that consciousness, I'm replenished for hours.
In addition, I lead my clients through a guided meditation process on the telephone, often many times a day. This puts me in the same consciousness as meditating for myself, so I consider that this is part of my meditative practice. I also hold my regular clients in consciousness three times a day, which is another aspect of my meditative practice.
Examples of Others' Best Times to Meditate
In working with others on establishing their meditation practice, I've become extremely open-minded about the various practices and approaches to meditation, including time of day. I encourage people to experiment to find their own ways and their own best times to meditate.
Beginners need to start at the easiest time, which might be defined more by the situation that by the clock. For example, in a car parked in the driveway or shopping center because that's the only time alone. Right after cool down following exercise is a time the body is very receptive to deep rest or meditation for some. Before or in place of a meal to allow the body to be nurtured before or instead of food can benefit many.
Not all meditation requires sitting in a chair. So, jogging is meditation for some; swimming for others; gardening for others. Find an activity that helps you to tune into the Divine aspect of yourself, and whenever the time is right for that activity, is the best time to meditate for you.
3:00 in the afternoon is often a time in the day when people need a break; in the workplace, it's often a giddy time when people need to shake or laugh or yell. Right after that can be an optimal time for some to sit quietly for a few minutes.
Many like to meditate before sleep. That's a viable time, provided the meditation helps you to sleep. However, if you're energized after meditation, before sleep is not a good time for you to meditate.
Now, Back to You
You may find that you have a best time to meditate when you're learning to meditate that's a different best time of day when you're an experienced meditator.
When you're just learning to meditate, it's helpful to have optimal conditions -- a quiet place with no interruptions and a time with no excuses. After you've experienced some benefits of meditating, you'll not need to create the ideal situation because you'll be committed on a different level. Many people meditate on planes and trains or other noisy places.
Your personal energy will ebb and flow throughout the day, so you'll want to take advantage of that. You may find it most beneficial to meditate when your personal energy lowers naturally.
I know for sure that any time of day can work, with the exception of after meals, as meditation does slow the body down, including the digestive system. There's no magical time by the clock. There are choices.
So, I put the question to you: When is the best time to meditate so that you gain the greatest benefits?
Copyright © 2008 Marshall House. All rights reserved. Jeanie Marshall, Personal Development Consultant and Coach, has developed Empowering Personal Development at www.empowering-personal-development.com to encourage you on your path.
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