I’ve been meditating for about 7 years, but I have had a really hard time sticking to a regular meditation routine. It seems like it is really easy to talk myself out of it. Any excuse will work for me. Meditation is, if I’m being honest, quite boring. All you do is sit there for 20 minutes. That’s it. My brain haaaates it. So my brain will come up with any excuse not to do it.
Since December I have come up with a way to the cushion each morning that has worked! First thing in the morning I have to take medication (for my hypothyroid) and I can’t eat anything or drink coffee for an hour after I take the medication. Since my brain is pretty much useless before coffee I’ve been able to negotiate with my brain that time for meditation. So my routine is: wake up, take medication, meditate, yoga. When I’m done with all of that I can drink coffee and do anything that requires thinking.
This has been a tremendous breakthrough for me! Daily meditation has changed my life for the better, boring or not. There is a part my me (the thinking part. stoopid brain!) that feels guilty or beats myself up that this is the way I have had to talk myself into meditating daily. But then I think about Zen Buddhism itself and all of the forms and routines built into it. Zen looks kind of religious from the outside because there are so many forms. It can look weird from the perspective of someone looking in without knowing what is going on. But I realized that the forms are there as a container. They are there to get you to do the practice and prevent your brain from talking you out of the practice. I realize that my little routine of taking my medicine and then meditating is a form that I have made up myself so I can do the practice. And it works!
Now if I could only come up with something for exercise and eating healthy! (my brain has sabotaged me today in both of these disciplines).