Recently, I resumed my practice of meditating twice a day for half an hour each. For the last six months, I had been meditating once a day for 45 minutes. Meditating once in the morning, and then once again in the evening, and perhaps a few minutes before going to sleep sets a rhythm to the day which is missing when I meditate just once a day. Below I write about my experience with this schedule.
Such a schedule divides one’s day into two alternate spheres, the inward and the outward. One starts the day by taking a dip inwards and the actions of the day then bear a trace of that half hour of meditation. One feels more alive, more in touch with oneself, perhaps specifically with a particular aspect of the psyche that the meditation has raised near to the surface from the depths.
By the time it is evening, it is time once again to go within oneself, face the residues from the day and absorb them. Also, one invites more unconscious material to come to consciousness. The second half of the day, again, carries the traces of the meditative practice.
In this manner, meditation serves as more than a tool for relaxation or for somehow changing your personality, becoming a space where one can withdraw from the many engagements of the day and involve oneself in a non-verbal reflection on one’s life. Punctuating the day with meditation makes one stop one’s often frantic activity and reflect on who one is and where one is going.
Periodically turning towards this space may make it an anchor which one returns to at least twice a day and therefore, gives one a sense of rootedness which one may not have when all the time is spent at work or social interactions or other activities of the outer world.
The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud writes, “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness”. Many of us follow a daily schedule where the first (and perhaps larger) part of the day is devoted to work or studies, and the second part to relationships of different kinds – hence, encompassing both ‘love’ and ‘work’. This lifestyle already has a rhythm to it. Adding meditation to this lifestyle may create a ‘twilight zone’ between the two major areas of activity in our lives, a contemplative zone which makes both activities more alive and authentic to our selves. In my experience, rather than making one’s daily life emotionally flat as some may expect a contemplative activity like meditation to do, it rather lends more intensity to one’s actions. If one is ignoring one of these two aspects that Freud and other thinkers write about, meditation may also bring us back in touch with them and push us to have a more balanced life.
I may add that for somebody just learning to meditate, what is more important is to first try to fit meditation into one’s schedule, whether it is 45 minutes once a day or 30 minutes twice. It may be too much of a demand to put on our busy lives to have two 30 minute meditations. It is after one has firmly made meditation a part of one’s daily life that it would be easier to experiment with different schedules.