For years I was fighting with a very persistent thought pattern of mine. The thought goes: I do not have enough time. I do not have enough time to do the things I want to do. Maybe you know this one? Mine continues: When should I incorporate all the other yogic practices in my busy life with my 100 or more per cent job, writing, two kids, two pets etc.? But is this really true?
Let me share two magic tricks I finally learned after 20 years. Two tricks on how to overcome thought patters, that are not helping you to get anywhere, and how to find time to practice what is important for you.
Trick 1) Use a mantra. I know mantras sound like cheesy sanskrit. I think of mantras as affirmations. It is pretty easy. You can tell your brain whatever you want to think. I tell my brain: “I have all the time in the world to meditate” I repeat that sentence throughout the day, when I wake up, when I brush my teeth, when I ride my bike, etc. I do not only loose the anxious feeling of not having enough time. I also meditate (with a mantra) while telling me this mantra, while I am doing other things. And turning the wish (Oh I really wish I would have the time to meditate, but…) into a statement: I meditate punctum. “I meditate” turns meditation from something distant into something that is already part of my life. And guess what, somehow I found the magic five minutes to sit down and meditate.
Trick 2) Think about all the other good or bad habits you are already applying through your day. You wake up, you brush your teeth, you eat, you scroll through the news on your phone, …..
Attaching a new habit to an old habit that already works, makes it more likely to stick. So whenever I wake up. And so far I woke up every single day of my life, I sit up in my bed and meditate. Maybe only for two minutes. But that quiet space shifts how I perceive what’s going on around me for the rest of my day. Of course the kids are still fighting over the cereals in the morning, I still have emails coming in, I still have to hurry on my bike etc. Yet starting my day with being quiet and focusing on my breath, allows me to focus on what really matters and not letting me get distracted by all the noises around me.
Changing habits slowly with little baby steps makes them last longer. I don’t tell myself I have to sit down and meditate for an hour every morning and every evening and go to meditation retreats four times a year. I started with meditating a couple of minutes in the morning and reminding myself using a mantra through the day. What is the habit you want to integrate in your life?