People often ask me how long they should be meditating each day. The answer is that the quality of your time is more important than the amount of time you spend meditating.
I recently worked with a CEO of a company in the United States called Mark. He was trying to establish a meditation practice, and he wanted me to come in and give him extra help. Mark was sitting quietly, meditating for 40 minutes each day. However, his mind was completely out of control. He was overwhelmed by stress and anxiety and unable to settle. When we sat down together, it was clear that there was no part of his mind that the meditation practice was actually quieting down.
So, I had to ask the following questions…
What was it that he was doing exactly?
Why did he believe that these 40 minutes were the way forward?
What could we do differently to quiet his mind?
I discovered some things when I asked him these questions. While this Mark thought he was practising meditation, what he was really doing was letting his mind run off in all sorts of different directions. He was ruminating. This was not helpful to him. After 40 minutes, he still had a restless, anxious mind.
I created The 10 Minute Mind because just ten minutes a day of meditation can have a positive impact on your life. You could even meditate for two minutes a day, and it could benefit you. Or, like Mark, you could be meditating for 40 minutes a day and get no benefit from it at all.
So what's the difference?
The difference is whether or not you're bringing yourself into a state of being present when you're meditating. It doesn't matter how long you sit if you're actively practising that. It is much more powerful to sit and be present for five minutes than to sit and let your mind go wild for an hour.
This is why I teach a ten-minute daily meditation. Suppose you can get into a place where you consistently take ten minutes daily to meditate. In that case, you will see fundamental changes and benefits in your life. The reality is that unless you're consciously practising bringing yourself back to the present moment, long periods of meditation are not only useless but are creating even more problems for you. You are accidentally practising allowing your mind to wander.
The way you practice is by seeing how many times you can bring your mind back to the present moment in a session. You might only manage it once. A few days later, this might increase to twice. You keep going until the gap between the stimulation and your mind running off into a hundred different directions begins to appear. Trust me, this was not easy for me at first. It took me time, but it was absolutely worth it.
There are certain basics that I would recommend you read up on before you begin your meditation practice. All of those guidelines will support you in bringing your mind back to the present moment.
I want you to think of quality over quantity when you're meditating. What's most important is to continue to bring yourself back to the present moment. There's no hard and fast rule for the length of time. I encourage you to start with ten minutes. I'd prefer you to learn the consistency of a daily practice. The 10 Minute Mind can get you in that habit.