You’ve been meditating for a while now, and you know the benefits, but it’s become… boring.
Unfortunately, this happens to the best of us. And even if you haven’t fallen out of love with meditation, it’s important to change up your practice from time to time to keep things fresh and interesting.
It’s the spice of life as they say, and it will help you sustain a meditation practice. There are countless ways to meditate, which is one of the most amazing things about it. Some of these ideas might seem a little off the wall but give them a try if you’re getting tired of sitting with your breath.
- Try art. Painting or drawing can be a dynamic way to meditate. You can do your breathwork while splashing color on the page. And you don’t need expensive tools. Heck, you could even use one of the many adult color books for sale now. Whatever art you prefer to make, concentrate on the colors, the feel of the pencil or paintbrush in your hand, as well as the sounds on the paper.
- Make a mood board. Consider the things that you’d like to emulate or make you calm. Gather images, whether online or from magazines, and create a board for them. You can use websites like Pinterest or make a collage. For example, if you find the sea calming, build a board with images of the ocean, waves, and the color blue. Or if think rabbits in a field are the epitome of peace, make a board with images of woodland creatures and meadow flowers. The act of identifying what brings you peace and looking for images will clear your mind and put you in touch with your feelings. You can even revisit the board when you need to find your zen.
- Sing and dance. This is a more active meditation than most but can be a lot of fun. Find a song that makes you happy or peaceful. Listen to it, truly listen, concentrating on the musical notes and the lyrics. Sway to the beat or hum along. Feel your limbs move. Lose yourself to the sounds and feelings. When you’re done, journal about how you feel.
Find a community
There’s nothing like finding companionship, and there is a large, diverse meditation and mindfulness community. There are countless discussion boards and schools like Be Meditation where you can find friends and support. Talking with others about meditation, or even doing a group practice, can reignite your passion and make you feel more accountable to stick with it.
If you really want to commit, you could go on a meditation retreat. There are plenty of groups that travel to a location away from the busy city life and do daily meditations together. This is a great way to change up your practice and meet others.
The benefits of meditation are a reward in and of themselves, but if you find yourself needing more motivation to keep practicing, give yourself goals and treats for meeting them. The goals can focus on the number of times you meditate a month or how long you practice every day. The key is to use rewards as just that—rewards. Don’t punish yourself if you don’t meet your goals and always be willing to reassess them.
And if you need an extra dose of motivation, make yourself a chart where you can track your goals and progress.
Find deeper understanding
Many people meditate without immersing themselves in the long history of the practice and its key figures. One way to sustain your practice is to learn more about its roots. There are great books that discuss meditation from all angles. Here are some recommendations:
- “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryū Suzuki
- “Mindfulness in Plain English” by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
- “10% Happier” by Dan Harris
- “The Circle of the Way: A Concise History of Zen from the Buddha to the Modern World” By Barbara O’Brien
By learning more about the history of meditation, key figures, and people who have benefitted from the practice, your passion may reignite. It will also help you see mindfulness in a new way and even give you new ideas for your own practice.
Incorporate new items
Similar to the variety tip above, you can add new tools to your practice. Try gongs or bowls for sound or incense for smells. Lighting scented candles or a new cushion for sitting is also a good way to change things up. Sometimes adding something new to our repertoire is enough to make you excited about the practice again. It could be as simple as buying yourself a new set of comfy clothes to use while meditating.
Sustaining a meditation practice can take experimenting, so don’t be afraid to mix and match these tips until you find what works for you. And if you have additional ideas, leave them in the comments below.