The secret ingredient for success in meditation
In today's lesson, we're going to bust the misconception of why meditation hasn't stuck. Prior to participating in this kickstart, were there stops and starts in your meditation practice? Did you try meditation apps and YouTube videos to get your practice off the ground, but you gave up after a short while? When it comes to consistency, there's usually a missing ingredient that many free offerings don't have: an investment in the practice. In order to get the longterm benefits from meditation, it needs to be something we do every day. And in order for that to happen, it's recommended that we make an exchange.
Determining your investment
In my book Bliss More I introduce a concept that I call The Exchange Principle. The Exchange Principle is the act of willingly doing something charitable in the name of your meditation practice. In my experience, making a meaningful exchange effectively creates a deep investment into your meditation practice. In other words, when you give something of value (i.e. your time, money, attention, or stuff), you receive more back that what you gave. It's the meditation equivalent of paying to join a gym or hire a trainer, or a consultant.
Here are some recommendations for an effective exchange:
- Donate money to a charitable cause
- Volunteer your time to a non-profit
- Execute random acts of kindness in your community
- Help to sponsor someone's dream
Back in the day, people would give up nearly everything in the name of their spiritual practice—even the clothes on their back. This is where the rigid approaches to meditation became associated with monasticism, because monks would see how much they could go without in order to accelerate their spiritual evolution.
As non-monks, we don't need to be as extreme by giving up food or our clothing, but making a moderate exchange is still an ideal way to deepen our practice and get more value out of it.
You may not see this as a necessary step for success, but... if you haven't invested in your meditation practice before, that could be the reason it hasn't stuck.
The common excuse is "I haven't had time," or "I haven't found a technique that works." But those excuses keep us trapped in the land of inaction. Energetically, we don't feel that free things will work as well as purchased things, so we don't give them the same level of attention or patience as we would something that we invested a lot of resources in.
And that's the power of making an exchange—it raises the investment in our practice. After we make an exchange, we make the time to devote to our practice. It liberates us from making excuses, and that's one of the reasons why successful meditators have preemptively offered time, service, or other resources in exchange for their meditation for thousands of years.
Plan to make an exchange
In today's 10-minute meditation, you're going to practice everything we've discussed up to now, and in addition to that, start working out what your exchange will be. You can follow the suggestions above, or come up with your own idea. If you're wondering if what you come up with is enough of an exchange, it's not, so do more in the name of your practice.
- Sit comfortably
- Meditate as instructed for 10 minutes
- When the alarm goes off, you're done
- Spend time at the end of your meditation contemplating your exchange
Without an exchange... we tend to stop and start our practice a lot, always on the lookout for the next free offering because we never truly invested in ourselves. There is a cost to this cycle, which over time makes free offerings more expensive than investing in a tried and true practice, committing to it, and doing it consistently enough to get the benefit. Tomorrow we'll conclude this 7-day kickstart with the other ingredient for becoming a successful meditator. Stay tuned.
Post an image that shows how you've benefited from these 6 days of meditating, and please make sure to tag #meditationkickstart so the beginmeditating community can encourage you as well.
Sample accountability post