Don’t expect to succeed at settling the mind into a meditative state in a few sessions. Cultivating an effective meditation practice requires time and patience. The longer you spend preparing the mind by studying different methods, defining your goals, and determining what is the right method of meditation for you, the sooner you will be able to sit down and meditate.
The time frame you allot for meditation will depend on your lifestyle. Aim for twenty minutes, but if you can sit for only five or ten minutes, then that is the best place to begin. Don’t force your mind to do something it is not prepared to do; it will only grow more restless. If you can meditate twenty minutes, that’s a stellar beginning. Perhaps you want to attempt thirty minutes, forty-five minutes, or an hour a day, if you have the desire and the time. It is recommended that you meditate a little each day. It’s highly unlikely you will transform the mind into a placid place meditating just once a week. Some words of wisdom from The Sivananda Companion to Yoga: “Meditation, like sleep, cannot be taught it comes by itself, in its own time.”
Sara Myers-Wade began practicing Transcendental Meditation in 1976 and practiced until 1986 when her first child was born. “I thought about meditation, and had every intention of weaving it into my schedule. Then I had a second child. Unfortunately, with two boys and a full-time job, I don’t meditate anymore. When I did meditate, I felt my quality of life was much richer. The most I can manage at the moment is to reflect meditatively on the landscape between Bainbridge Island and Seattle when I take the ferry to work five mornings a week.”