Building Up to 45 Minutes of Meditation
Before I explain the really neat things about meditating for 45 minutes, I think it would be good to explain how I got there in the first place.
For a long time, I would meditate for 15-20 minutes in the mornings. It was a nice, calm way to get the day started. Now I meditate for 45 minutes each morning.
For awhile I practiced a “mantra” approach. I’d repeat Jai Ram to myself.
And if I tried to just “clear my mind” and do a silent meditation, forget it.
I felt like I wasn’t ready for that. My mind would never clear itself enough for me to feel like it was a “productive” meditation. (Doesn’t that seem like an oxymoron?)
I also knew that this was a very personal journey: there can’t be any comparing yourself to others or seeing who might meditate “better.”
This is an “all about you” journey.
For that, I’ve not ever been too hard on myself for not having a perfectly blank mind during meditation.#Meditation is a personal journey - it's all about you. Click To Tweet
Beginning a New Job
I began a new job in early 2015. And while I have liked my day job, the stress of it necessitated that I go up to 30 minutes of meditating in the morning.
That really helped to keep my nerves in check and helped me to find my “zen” during the day.
That was back in November or December 2015.
It worked: meditation kept me calm even in the most chaotic of moments and I’d automatically begin breathing more deeply and clear my mind.
It’s almost like it became its own sedative. And I was hooked.
I decided to try longer sessions. In late February or early March 2016, I began 45-minute sessions – just in the mornings.
I hear that it’s good to do a session at night, too, but I’m often too tired or my surroundings just aren’t that conducive to evening meditation sessions – at least right now.
I knew that it wouldn’t be that big of a jump to go from 30 minutes to 45 minutes because I’d gotten to the point where 30 minutes would only feel like a few moments of time. It really did go by quickly.
What It’s Like to Meditate 45 Minutes
In answering this, I address some of the questions I’ve heard and seen from friends and from around the web.
What do you do when your mind wanders?
Honestly, my mind wanders all the time. I still often have to re-focus on my breath. Over time, I’ve found that I’m able to have a “blank mind” more often (but still in short spurts) during meditation.
And I’m okay with that. I still feel incredible benefits. The time goes by quickly and sometimes I don’t “follow” a thought, and sometimes I do. Part of being “aware” is learning to catch yourself. I haven’t perfected that. But again, to me, it’s not a big deal.
Where do you sit?
I actually head into our guest bedroom in the mornings and close the door such that when everyone else begins to stir in the mornings, I won’t be disturbed.
I just sit on the bed with a blanket to sit on. I’ve tried sitting on the floor, but honestly, I get too cold, especially in the colder months.
Do you eat or drink before?
I usually don’t. Though I’ve heard that more strict practicers of meditation clear out mucus from sleeping, drink water or tea to detox, and then go into meditation.
I’m a believer that you don’t have to be so rigid to reap the benefits of having silent time where you clear your mind.
What’s it like to sit there for so long?
Sometimes my feet fall asleep and I try to mindfully move them.
But otherwise after learning to sit for 20 minutes, then going up to 30 minutes gradually and now 45 minutes, I’ve been able to maintain the idea that, really, all these meditation sessions only feel like a few minutes.
The time passes quickly. I feel the expansion and contraction of my lungs; it’s a very organic experience.
What are other things that are happening? Do you notice any changes?
The biggest things I notice are how I often do “conscious breathing” during my regular day-to-day activities now. When I’m driving or walking around during the day, when I am seated at my desk, or when I am dealing with a lot of people at once – I bring awareness to my breathing and it makes me feel much calmer.
But there are other things – subtle things – that I’m noticing now. I have two examples I feel certain that because of meditation, I have had these experiences:
I check out a lot of books, as well as books on CD from the library to listen to on my daily commute.
(For good measure, I also listen to different podcasts that are uplifting or teach me something relevant to my work.)
At any given time, I probably have 10-15 books checked out from the library.
One Saturday morning, I had turned in a book on CD along with my 11 other books I’d checked out.
Didn’t think anymore of it.
Until I went online and checked my library account a couple days ago. One of the books that I thought I’d turned it was still listed as me having checked it out.
It was Karen Armstrong’s book on CD called “12 Steps to a Compassionate Life,” interestingly enough.
I was *so* sure I’d turned it in – even though I’d had a lot of new books checked out. I don’t always keep track of exact titles.
I went to the library shortly afterward and went right to the shelf where I thought it would be. I didn’t talk to the librarian – just went straight for it.
But I didn’t find it. And I had been *so* sure.
So..I went back home, turned the house upside down, looked again and again in my car and couldn’t find it – all just to be sure.
I was thinking I was going to have to pay for that book on CD – which when you lose a library book, you don’t just pay for the book itself, but the potential lost revenue from it, too. I was like, oh my gosh, this is going to be like $50-$60 dollars.
I decided to return to the library to find the librarian and tell her what was happening. The book wasn’t due for another week, so I had a week to find it.
I told the librarian that I really thought that the book was already on the shelf – even though I didn’t see it when I looked the first time and that it was possible they didn’t scan it in when I returned it. Nicely of course.
She said it was very unlikely. But I persisted.
We went to the shelf where I thought the book would be and you know what?! I found it!! It was there! I just had missed it the first time because it was two shelves higher than where I thought it was supposed to be.
Even though the librarian said that virtually never happens, I never wavered from my thoughts about that.
I just remember almost getting this “vision” or maybe this electrical feeling that it was there. I focused on it in my mind and did a “grateful” exercise of envisioning it found before I went back to the library.
I went to an organic grocery store yesterday. I like that place – it’s run by this older lady who’s a hippie who you can tell just loves people.
I wandered around and finally settled on getting a couple of things. When I went to ring up my purchases, the total came to $11.11. The hippie lady had been chatting about various things – the weather, more folks coming into the store, and asked if I’d found everything all right. But when the number “11.11” came up on the computer display, she stopped and a serious look gripped her face.
She said, “you know, those are significant numbers. That means that angels are watching over you and that portals in the heavens are opening. You’re about to undergo a transition…for good things!”
You know, I’m no stranger to organic grocery stores but I’d never had something like that happen to me before. It was really neat how she stopped to let me know the significance of the repeating number 1.
Interesting synchronicities are starting to happen more and more.
I’m going to keep meditating for 45 minutes until that begins to really feel like second nature and then increase by 15 minutes again.
Or, I’d like to…it’s a matter of fitting that in with all the other things I like and need to do during the course of a day.
Do you meditate a lot? And if so, what do you notice as a result of your practice?