I’m fed up with seeing articles around the internet based on the idea that five minutes of meditation a day is all you need. Or hearing people say that five minutes of spiritual practice is all you need.
Yes, five minutes is better than nothing and five minutes is a great place to start when you are beginning to develop the habit, but as a way to change your life?
Meditation and prayer, like everything worth having, take dedication and practice. In fact both are a practice – it is a process, you don’t get to a point and suddenly you have a black belt in it and you never have a difficult session again. In fact in meditation you are discouraged from thinking about it in terms of a good/bad session.
You don’t get to be an amazing musician on five minutes a day, you don’t get to write awesome books on five minutes a day, nor would you expect anything to make a differnece if you spent five minutes a day on it. Except possibly brushing your teeth, hair etc. But nothing major.
So why should meditation and prayer be any different?
I try (emphasis on try, I’m not perfect) to have twenty minutes of prayer and meditation every morning, five or ten minutes at lunchtime to just take some time out and then at about 5ish, or at the end of working I have another twenty minutes. And then ten or so at bed time. So this is around an hour a day, trying to quieten the mind so I can have a chance to listen to the small still voice within.
On a great day I get an hour other days it doesn’t always happen, but I always try to have that morning session. If I don’t, then the day pretty much turns out to be a rubbish one.
What is really strange is that taking all that time somehow stretches the remaining time available to me. I have no idea how that happens, but I am sure it is because I am calmer and more centred, allowing me to glide through what needs to be done, rather than doing everything in a rush and in a grump.
I didn’t start out at that amount of time, but built up to it. But it is genuinely really important to me.
Are you able to increase the amount of prayer and meditation time in your day? It doesn’t have to be sitting formally, a ten minute lunchtime walk in awareness of the moment can help. As can taking ten minutes to focus on your breath.
But in order to really make progress, to have meditation and prayer make a difference in your life you have to give it more than a five minutes here and there, you have to dedicate yourself to it.