One of the reasons I advocate short sessions in the beginning, is to make it easier to build consistency. The most important thing to develop is the habit of practice. Not the length, not the depth, not whether or not one has a “good” meditation (more ‘good and bad’ later). It’s the habit of allowing the mind and body to become quiet that matters.
Put simply, and this comes after my over 30 years of practice, it is better to sit daily for 5 minutes than 3 times a week for 15 minutes. If you torture yourself into sitting for longer periods before you are ready, you will get discouraged and quit. This I guarantee. Been there, done that.
The habit of practice is important for a few reasons as follows:
- It encourages the discipline of sitting even when you don’t feel like it. I know ‘discipline’ is an unpleasant word, but that is what it sometimes takes to ensure you regularly touch the silence.
- Touching the silence every day is important because the noise of the world is so intense and overwhelming. Without regularly spending time with inner silence, the noise gets louder.
- The habit makes it so familiar that it becomes part of your inner world the rest of the day. The peaceful meditative silence can be touched anytime as needed since daily practice makes it so familiar.
The time of your daily practice is worth keeping consistent as well. The best time is the one during which you are less likely to become sleepy. I prefer the early mornings as I am alert and refreshed. But anytime will do if it’s a good one for you. So, I suggest you start sitting for 3 or so minutes at the same time every day. Remember, you are developing the habit of meditation and this is the most important goal when starting out.
You already know there are times when meditation is challenging for a variety of reasons. This tool of short, daily sessions has been really helpful to me over the years. The challenge of using this tool for experienced meditators is the feeling of failure if one only sits for a few minutes. This feeling is not helpful and becomes a barrier. So I urge you to use shorter sessions if they help you maintain your practice.