There are a lot of misconceptions out there around just what meditation is – and what it “should” be. I’m not going to address most of them. That’s beyond my pay grade. What I do want to address is the question of how long you have to sit in order to consider it a “meditation session” since that is the question I get asked most often.
Q: How long should I meditate?A: How should I know?
That quote is attributed to several different monks and meditation teachers. I like it for it’s simplicity, for how well it conveys an idea that could otherwise take several pages to get across. To fully grasp the idea, it helps to understand one of the fundamental aspects of mindfulness:
“Recall that in a line 6 inches long there are an infinite number of points, and in a line one inch long there are just as many.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn
If you see a minute as equal to an inch in this analogy, then how many finite moments are there in a 45 minute session? How about 20 minutes? 10? 2? Exactly. If you can bring your focus to this moment, this one right here – then what’s stopping you from bringing that same focus to the moments in a 2 minute meditation session? And if you can do that, why not 10 minutes? See where I’m going with this?
Bottom line is this – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you bring your attention to the present moment. If you can do that for 2 minutes a day, you’re succeeding and increasing your mindfulness.
If you can do it for 10 minutes, fantastic! If you take this time sitting at your desk before you start working in the morning, that works. If you can do it before you leave the house, sitting on a cushion on the floor, great.
The point is to bring attention to the present moment, even for just a moment. Because each moment is fleeting, and when you can bring mindfulness to even one more of them every day you’ll appreciate that day a little bit more.
And every little bit matters.