Meditation and daily rhythms

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.

Photographer: Claudia Meyer, Paris.

 

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.

21 Comments

  1. Karan Sewani

    very nice article kaif, i can also relate to the same experience.
    and yes one is more in touch with one’s self if one meditates twice a day for 30 mins.

  2. mh

    I very much agree with these reflections. The gain from two daily meditations is almost most evident on the – rare – days where I skip one of my meditations due to some “force majeure” situation. On these days I feel very clearly that something important is missing. The day is less vivid, and I get more hung up in stressful events.

  3. Interesting effort to find out from your own experience (and not just from the general rules that we usually rely on) how different meditation habits work – for you, at least. I will pass this one on to others.

  4. Kaif

    Thanks. Since I wrote this post I have also been thinking that there is an implicit rhythm in nature. The sun rises, brings light, goes on to shine bright, slowly becomes milder, and finally sets into the horizon and welcomes the night. Night itself becomes more silent and more intense till drawn gradually breaks in.

    It seems that people in many pre-modern cultures organized their lives in accordance with this rhythm. It is perhaps no longer possible for us to relate to the idea of saying a prayer or performing a ritual around fire at dawn and dusk. But it might be enriching to be more aware of the shifts in nature, adding a new dimension to our lives, apart from the purely psychological and social ones, and something less tied to the past of ourselves and our society.

  5. Agree with the twice a day practice. I have been exploring two sessions a day while studying the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. However, I have not yet been able to work up to two 30 minute sessions, so the journey continues.

  6. Really it’s a brilliantly written article. I prefer meditation twice a day for 30 min or more.Inner peace can be a medicine of mind which may lead to success and smooth life. Thanks for sharing as I think I have got some guidelines as well as inspiration from this article. 7 chakras Meditation

  7. Matthew

    I’m new to meditation but reading comments and talking to people about, it I’m interested so need to know the perfect time to do it as a beginner, I mean in the morning or evening?Any other suggestion is welcomed!

  8. Matthew

    I’m new to meditation but reading comments and talking to people about it, I’m interested so need to know the perfect time to do it as a beginner, I mean in the morning or evening?Any other suggestion is welcomed!

  9. Maddie

    Meditation is a practice that requires patience, doing it 20 minutes a day will yield the most positive results, slowly transforming your life and reducing your anxiety from the inside out.

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