Many of us start the year with a list of New Years Resolutions. You could be someone who started to meditate but gave it up because your mind was busy and nirvana didn't manifest after the first week.
Or you might be practising mindfulness. Personally, I prefer to practise "mindlessness" - my mind is full enough already! True mindfulness leads us to address one question only: "Who am I?" This takes us to the path of wisdom, known in Sanskrit as jnani.
30th April is the birthday of Sri Anandamayi Ma, one of India's most revered female saints who passed away over 20 years ago. Her inspiring teachings remain relevant even today. She reminds us to keep going with our meditation and that the crucial time to continue is when nothing appears to be happening or when the mind becomes really restless.
Here are 10 tips to make it easier to meditate every day:
1. Don't give up! Meditation, like any successful activity, requires love and dedication. Choosing a set time each day to meditate is the best approach. Don't miss a day.
2. By committing just 1% of our day to meditation, in time, calmness and peace develops for the remaining 99%. Even 5 minutes is beneficial.
3. To meditate or follow a spiritual practice there is nothing to give up, but everything to gain.
4. Meditation on the breath in the chakras leads to "mind emptiness" which allows our intuition to flow freely. The secret is to ignore the good and bad thoughts during meditation and not to be worried by them.
5. Once we find a spiritual path that suits us it helps to stick to it. Jumping from pillar to post limits any gain. Authentic meditation techniques such as Kriya Yoga reveal themselves through sincere practice. It is better to find an experienced teacher who is calm, patient and joyful to encourage us when doubts arise.
6. Meditation increases the oxygen in the brain giving the benefits of better concentration and less stress. The calmer the breath, the calmer the mind.
7. Be master of the mind and not a slave to the mind. Focus more on the positive thoughts to create more positive actions and success in your daily life. Negative thoughts cannot survive in an environment of positivity.
8. It helps to keep good company and be surrounded by positive role models. Adding good habits leaves less time for bad habits.
9. Meditation, exercise and a healthy diet all contribute to make us happy, confident and successful. What we eat and drink substantially influences the mind. Remember, we also 'eat' through our eyes and ears, which influences the mind greatly.
10. Spiritual growth happens in its own time and needs to be nurtured. Mastery develops through practise and effort is rewarded with effortlessness.
David Green was taught to meditate by a 91 year old guru from India. In The Invisible Hand, he describes how his guru taught him to apply the benefits of meditation, diet and wellbeing to his daily life and stressful career.