Firstly, before you do the two things, you need to actually set aside the time to meditate, and, when the appointed time comes you need to sit yourself down and get on with it!
There seems to be a never ending stream of excuses that our distracted mind uses to avoid the things that will make us most happy, like meditation, so take a NO EXCUSES APPROACH!
Having done this and sat down, here is what you need to do:
1) Create a safe space – Decide that for the next 5, 10, 15 minutes, or however long you have set aside, you are in a safe space where you can relax. Draw the boundary around your meditation time. After you arise from meditation, the world may indeed come to an end, or your worst fears may be realized. Alternatively, when you get up from meditation you may win the lottery, or get asked for a date by George Cluny, Yelena Isinbeyeva (or insert God/Goddess of choice). The point is that for the time you have allocated for your meditation is down time, relaxation time, YOUR time, time to be present with yourself and not worry about the past or future.
2) Make a strong decision to focus! – Beyond relaxation, meditation is also about building the strength and focus of your mind. It is like inner weight training or fitness training where your mind is building muscle and stamina. If you start your meditation wishy-washy, then you are probably going to continue that way, so it is really important to get focused and stay focused during the short period of time you have set aside for your meditation practice.
Two life skills that you will develop from this:
If you practice like this at the beginning of your meditations you will learn
1) That it is possible to create a “safe space” at many times in your day, not just when you are meditating
2) How to FOCUS. Now, there are many more things that could be said about focus, but for now let’s just reflect on the fact that ALL SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE, IN WHATEVER DISCIPLINE KNOW HOW TO FOCUS!
That last sentence is a good object of meditation in itself…
Yours in the spirit of relaxed focus,
PS: For those of you in Singapore, this coming Tuesday 21st December there will be a special Winter Solstice meditation at Sanctuary on the Hill with myself. All proceeds will be going to the River Kids Project. See you there!