How Do I Cultivate a Regular Meditation Practice?
A Little Device Was Invented
How can somebody really stick to their practice, a regular twice-a-day systematic practice? I want to remind you of something or perhaps inform you about something that you never knew before.
[00:00:54] About 140 years ago, a little device was invented called the toothbrush. Prior to the invention of the toothbrush, there was not one human being on earth who had ever brushed their teeth at all, anytime.
[00:01:09] God help us to even think about this. When we look at photographs that were taken in the 1850s and 1860s, we rarely see anybody smiling. People have their lips tightly sealed. Why? There hadn’t been any toothbrushes and they had very terrible smiles to see.
[00:01:26] And so people wisely kept their mouths shut when they were being photographed.
[00:01:30] With the invention of the toothbrush, the great freedom of being able to brush your teeth and remove all of the detritus and remains of the day’s feasting and freshen the mouth, and to do that at least twice a day, is something that you hardly have to convince anybody to do.
[00:01:49] You get to keep your teeth for your whole body life. You don’t end up with snaggly teeth, and imagine, if you didn’t brush your teeth for a day, how horribly your mouth would feel.
It’s Not a Chore
[00:01:59] Now it may seem a crude juxtaposition, but regular practice of Vedic Meditation is just like that.
[00:02:06] Once you’ve learned it, you’ve learned a technique which reliably removes your fatigue, removes the residual effect of overloads of experience you’ve had in a given day, removes stress, eliminate stress, and makes your behavior, not the behavior that’s as if the stressful phenomenon is still going on all the time, but to whatever extent it was appropriate for you to behave stressfully in a given moment, now that that moment’s over, your body’s able to come back to relevant broad-based adaptive behavior because you practice meditation twice a day.
[00:02:42] The effect of it is so delicious, sitting and closing your eyes and meditating, once you’ve learned it, within a week to 10 days, you can’t imagine missing it any more than you would miss brushing your teeth.
[00:02:54] The effect of it is so palpable and so lovely, every time you sit down and close your eyes, it’s not a chore, it’s an absolute supreme delight. And in fact, you find yourself looking forward to it as in, “Oh, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, or three in the afternoon. I only have a couple of hours to wait before I get to practice my next session of Vedic Meditation.”
A Kind of Anathema
[00:03:19] You rise in the morning, you brush your teeth and freshen up, and then you think, “Oh, before I have my breakfast, I get to practice my Vedic Meditation technique.” And once you become a regular practitioner, within a week or 10 days, the idea that you would miss a session, prior to having breakfast, or that you would miss a session at the end of the day, becomes kind of anathema to you.
[00:03:42] It’s a little bit like if somebody said to you, “Hey, let’s just not brush our teeth for a week and see what it feels like.” I don’t think you’d volunteer for that experiment.
[00:03:50] If someone said to you, “Hey, what would happen if you didn’t meditate for a week,” the thought to you would be not a pretty thought. It would mean that I would be accumulating all my stress and fatigue for a week and you’d never consider it.
[00:04:03] When people come to learn Vedic Meditation, very frequently, they’re also in the process of practicing other techniques of meditation that are unlike that of Vedic Meditation, that requires some effort or requires some levels of severe discipline and so on, which Vedic Meditation does not.
[00:04:22] And they’ll often say to me, “Is there any conflict between my practice of Vedic Meditation and these other techniques?”
[00:04:29] And I just say to them, “Really, Vedic Meditation cannot be harmed by anything you do, and it cannot bring harm to anything else you want to do.”
[00:04:37] You practice your Vedic Meditation, and after your session of 20 minutes, if you want to go and read the encyclopedia, you can read the encyclopedia. It might require a lot of discipline for you to do that, but there’s no harm. It won’t hurt your practice.
Superseding Other Techniques
[00:04:51] Vedic Meditation might make other meditation practices seem more tolerable, but it also might begin to deliver the benefits that those practices promise after 10 years, 20 years, or a lifetime of practice. You might find that your Vedic Meditation, in fact, supersedes the need to practice those other techniques.
[00:05:12] That would be an individual decision. It’s not a thing that we particularly recommend, that you don’t practice other things. You might arrive at that conclusion on your own.
[00:05:20] In fact, our experience shows, from teaching this for the last 50 years to hundreds of thousands of people, that most practitioners of Vedic Meditation happily let go of their other practices, simply because the Vedic Meditation is doing the thing that the other meditation techniques purported that they could do, if you just stayed disciplined and continued using effort for many years.
[00:05:44] And so this individual decision is made by every Vedic meditator, “Do I continue with these other things?” I mean, after all, there are only so many hours and minutes in a given day, Vedic Meditation only takes 20 minutes twice a day.
[00:05:58] And if it’s doing the thing that other techniques are intended to do, but haven’t yet shown you they can do, it might be easy to let go of those other things and just do this. But if you want to keep practicing those other things there’s no harm.
Six Weeks and You’ll Never Look Back
[00:06:10] So, how do you keep a regular practice? Just do it. If you practice the technique in the way that it’s instructed, I say to my early students, “Give it the priority it deserves for about six weeks.
[00:06:24] “Don’t think about the rest of your life. For about six weeks you’re going to make your twice daily Vedic Meditation practice non-negotiable.”
[00:06:33] Well within the period of that six weeks, you’ll never look back. Well within the period of that six weeks, it will never be an issue for you, “Am I going to be regular in this practice or not?”
[00:06:44] It will become a natural assumption of your everyday life.