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Any one has any tips to form meditation as a habit? I know meditation is good for oneself, and I have personally meditated on and off for 20+ sessions. But the habit never sticks. Somehow after a few days of meditation I feel massively better and then I forgot to do so. It's like stop taking pills after I recover from sickness. Anyone has any tips? Thanks.

Well I think meditation is sort of like a minimalistic tool for training yourself. So I reckon it's part of the point to figure out how to get yourself "into a habit", etc.

Anyway, I don't think anything substantial can come out of meditation alone. If you use meditation as a "training ground" for learning discipline, etc. then you may argue those understandings are later useful in practical matters. But then, again, why not train yourself while at those practical matters? Granted, the simplicity of the meditative practice might make it easier to deal with things like what somebody else in this thread calls "negative thought patterns", etc. But I think the whole practice of meditation emerged from an interest of making the "world" to gradually "disappear". Somebody in this thread speaks of the "dissolution of the ego", fasting, etc. Meditative practice appears to have been birthed out of a yearning for...... destruction of details, diversity and complexity. But until when? That doesn't sound right to me. On the other hand, some other people equate meditation with going to a park, or riding the bicycle. That's disconnecting from one "world" and connecting to another; I can see the point of that, it's refreshing, relaxing. And I think it's better, because at least it performs a replacement with something mildly interesting and engaging, rather than... an empty wall (?!). Sitting in front of an empty wall just seems morbid to me.

As for the "feel good" factor, when you're meditating (in front of a wall) you are not contributing much to anything, so it sounds like meditation is a surrogate for "getting high"; or at least some form of really cheap entertainment. Surely there are preferable alternatives – like listening to good music, or reading a good book.

Based on the language you're using, I'm guessing you haven't actually meditated much for any length of time.

If you're open to it, I'll bet you'd like Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs.

"Buddhism without beliefs" is a bit oxymoronic, no? :) Any doctrine must start with some assumptions (i.e, beliefs). Perhaps the title means "Buddhism without the obviously wacko beliefs". That doesn't mean it excludes the more subtle ones. Plus, the full title includes "a guide to awakening". That last word comes with a lot of bundled metaphysical assumptions.

Edit: It looks like a quick read, and it was a best seller. Thanks, I'll give it a try. I am interested in refreshing my understanding of the current "western buddhism" discourse (your contention that I'm not familiar with the Buddhist doctrine at all was incorrect).

Actually, I thought your writing was consistent with someone who's familiar with the doctrine, but lacks the direct experience. It's akin to confusing the menu with the meal.

I used to do exactly that (I read books on meditation for years before I finally started sitting in earnest). Somewhere on kuro5hin.org are some similar comments from my 11-years-younger self. :)

There's an app for that! ;-)

Seriously, on my Android device I have an app called Routinely which is one of probably dozens of apps focused on supporting the formation of positive habits. I've set up both a morning meditation activity and an evening meditation activity on it on a daily basis. It does regular scheduled notifications & it does the Seinfeld chain thing when you tick off a completed activity.

I'm following the Natural Stress Relief approach to meditation which is a form of mantra meditation not unrelated to Transcendental or Vedic Meditation. Each session is 18 minutes in length.

I'm not long into my practice, but I find that as a night owl, it helps me sleep more soundly if I do an evening meditation and that the morning meditation dispels the grogginess I usually have on waking. After meditation, I generally find myself refreshed, relaxed, alert and calm and there is a real delta in my state compared with before the session.

Link for Natural Stress Relief http://www.natural-stress-relief.com/

I recommend, highly and unreservedly, Beeminder[1]. You create commitment contracts where you have to report to them the amount of an activity you did during the day, and if you fall short of the goal, you have to pay them, initially, $5. Assuming you have a moral compass greater than a toad, you will feel compelled to be honest with your agreement. Each time you fail, the amount of the commitment grows. My commitment contract on meditation is now high enough that I never fall off the road. I have cheaply purchased hundreds of hours of willpower using Beeminder to make commitments. It's the awesomest productivity/habit formation thing I know of that no one uses (and I have used GTD, pomodoros, Power of Now, etc).

1: https://www.beeminder.com/

Check out the literature on habit formation. Charles Duhigg just wrote a good book on habits recently, and BJ Fogg of Stanford runs a weekly 3 Tiny Habits course on helping people develop habits.

Or the tl;dr: Promise to yourself to do no more than sit somewhere quiet at a regular time (e.g., as soon as you wake) for one minute. If you sit at least a minute, give yourself a guilt-free reward (e.g., a bit of chocolate).

You'll essentially be using operant conditioning to train yourself until the intrinsic rewards kick in, which can take a few weeks.

Vow of Now was created for this very purpose, to instill meditation as a daily habit. Slightly controversial perhaps, but it works: http://vowofnow.com

P.S. I'm the founder.

I was looking for some long term solution that is not guilt-driven. Still, thanks for the link and I'll probably eat my words someday and try it out.

The guilt part is entirely up to you and not essential to taking the vow. :)

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