In our first week with Meditation Questions, our new podcast in which we answer your questions, we answer the question, “How long should I meditate for?”. This is a great question, and the answer isn’t necessarily black and white. Something different works for everyone.
I don’t think there is a clear-cut answer here, other than saying that you should investigate for yourself. It may change as your practice changes, and it may differ from day to day. You may try starting with five minutes of meditation a day, and set out to sit every day for a week. See where it gets you. Perhaps five minutes is too long for you to start with, and maybe you do better at ten minutes a day. Give five minutes a true shot and see what happens.
You may try sitting without a timer. Sit down to meditate, set a stopwatch, and finish when you finish. I still sit like this quite often, as I don’t always need a bell to tell me when I am done. If you do this for a week, you’re likely to find that you hover in a certain time period. If you do this, it’s important to know when you’re done. Don’t give up if you are experiencing a moment of unpleasantness. Rather, finish when you feel like you’re finished. That is, listen to your instinct, not the thoughts that may arise out of aversion.
I think the most important piece to note here is that it’s more beneficial to sit every day than it is to focus on the length of the meditation. As we build a daily sitting practice, we’re able to build continuity in our practice. Whatever time you set out to meditate for, set the intention to sit for that period every day for a week. Then check back in and see where you can adjust and make changes that better fit you.
Watch the video below from our Meditation Questions podcast to hear our full answer to the question “How Long Should I Meditate For?”, or enter your email to subscribe to future episodes!