If you are new to meditation and can’t quite grasp how long you should meditate for, there are a few things to look out. The main purpose of meditation is to get centered within the mind and experience the present moment. When we limit ourselves with rules, meditation starts to feel like more of a chore than a graceful act. How long should you meditate for?
The perfect amount of time to meditate for is however long you can withstand it. For more advanced devotees, meditating more than one hour can become counterproductive. The best practice would be to sit as long as you can but no longer than one hour.
The benefits of meditation are endless. From clearing the mind to getting in touch with your soul, there are no limits when it comes to meditation.
The idea that you need to meditate for a certain amount of time is one that should be approached with caution. Meditating for longer periods of time may seem beneficial in the moment but there are plenty of reasons why meditation for longer periods of time can actually hurt rather than help.
When it comes to setting a goal while meditating there should not be one. Meditation is a fleeting experience if you are only chasing after a certain state of mind. You encounter various experiences while meditating ranging from utter bliss to feeling full of sorrow and this is the crux of meditation, to be as it is no matter the circumstance.
Being perfectly centered during a meditation session teaches you that in the moment, no matter how you feel, that it is all part of the journey. The essential human experience is experiencing all ranges of emotions from ecstasy to sorrow. After a few dozen meditation sessions, these lessons start to be made more apparent and available to us.
Instead of trying to run from our emotions and internal conflict, meditation gives them to us on a silver platter. Digging through months and years of internal battles may be overwhelming in the beginning but over time you get adjusted to being naked inside the mind.
Understanding first exactly how meditation teaches you through experience is going to be vital to know how long you should meditate for.
The Perfect Amount of Time
The perfect amount of time to meditate is however long you can manage at first. In the beginning, it can be hard to even sit still for a minute or two.
Begin by sitting down and seeing how long you can keep your focus on your breath. If you start to feel overwhelmed, then stop immediately. The next time you begin meditating, try to last just that little bit longer.
It’s a marathon, not a race.
It can be frustrating not understanding why meditation doesn’t work for you in the beginning, it can take some time.
Your only goal is to actually sit down and practice, nothing more.
Now the real issue begins if you are more advanced and would like to sit for hours at a time. The main issue with this idea is that it begins to be a counterproductive practice instead of helping us.
When you meditate for longer periods of time, there is less work being done. Instead of a sharp mind, the mind transitions into a more dreamy state. While it does sound enticing, the only thing you are doing is experiencing a drug-like state that isn’t beneficial to you.
Instead of meditation being utilized for centering yourself or releasing inner conflict, it begins to resemble a chase for euphoria. Meditation should be used wisely and with purpose rather than just a method for us to “feel good”.
I would recommend sessions no longer than 1 hour, any longer than that and you risk putting your good intentions in jeopardy. If you would like to continue meditating for longer periods of time, it is still possible but I recommend getting up and going for a walk in between your sessions to bring more awareness into your surroundings.
Let the Journey Unfold
When you begin your journey into meditation it is vital to remember that there are no specific answers to your questions.
Everyone will go through their own experience and it will unfold in a different way. Humans are snowflakes after all!
Instead of focusing on how often you should meditate in a week, let yourself decide that answer. If you only ever feel like meditating for a few sessions a week or it becomes too uncomfortable for you, there is no reason to use force.
As someone who has mediated for over a decade, I find myself in a back and forth relationship with meditation. I do not force myself to meditate every day nor do I have a specific amount of time I meditate for. I find that when I do force myself to meditate, the results aren’t quite what I was hoping for.
The importance of meditation isn’t on the session itself, it is bringing the lessons that meditation shows you back into your reality. Over time you will start realizing you are become more grounded, centered and less attached to thoughts that would usually ruin your day. This is what your meditation journey is about.
The results of meditation will speak for themselves, the only requirement is that you actually sit down and begin meditating.
There isn’t a perfect schedule or requirement. Just sit down, breathe, and let the present moment show you the rest.
Attempting to chase after results will only hinder you, meditation is tricky that way. Just let everything be as it is, nothing more is required from you during meditation.
Like a Feather
What does a feather look like when it’s in the air?
It floats without resistance.
The same idea should be applied to your meditation sessions. The first few sessions may seem incredibly difficult, many give up before they truly start seeing any results. The fruits are there to be taken, it requires some patience.
Instead of forcing yourself to be a certain way while you are meditating, let the moment breathe through you.
If you have a busy schedule, are anxious about a circumstance, feeling down, embrace these moments for what they are.
Meditation is forcing you to look at the current state of your mind. Often we run away and distract ourselves but when you sit down for a session, there is nothing left to be distracted from.
Don’t view meditation as something that is inherently painful or daunting, meditation wants to show you how to be still.
Walk into your present moment as much as you can.
This will be your key to fully utilizing your meditation sessions. Instead of looking at it as some chore that is bothersome, start seeing the magic. I promise you if you stick with it for a month or two of regular practice you will start to see why everyone is constantly recommending meditation is one of the best tools to ease the mind.
It all starts with the feather. Be the feather, float.
Bringing It Together
Meditation is anything you want it to be. If you can only practice for five minutes at a time, that is the perfect amount of time. The main benefits of meditation can start to be felt after a few sessions have been done and the sensation of being centered comes into awareness.
If you are more trained in meditation, do not try to meditate for longer than an hour and think that there may be some secret to be found. Everything is already here, in the present moment. Utilize your sharp mind instead of it turning into a dull-dream during your longer sessions. Get up and go for a walk if you would like to meditate for longer periods of time.
Remember that meditation is a graceful act like a feather floating. Using force to try and have a “good” meditation session will only frustrate you further. Be open, be kind to yourself and meditation will take care of the rest.