In meditation class this week a student asked ..

“when is the best time to meditate?”

I say .. any time.  Any. Time.  Just sit.  Just meditate.

However within the ancient meditation traditions we find there is a definite leaning towards building a regular meditation practice around the ‘magic hours’ .. around the rise and fall of the sun.

The Sanskrit term for the early morning is Amrit Vela (Ambrosial Hour) or ‘time of nectar’ which covers the 2½ hours before sunrise.  For Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Indian yogis the Amrit Vela is the acknowledged time for deep spiritual practice, when the ‘veil’ of the ego is thinnest, when the mind is stillest and we are closer to being able to witness our habitual thoughts.

Western science informs us that early mornings are when the pituitary gland sets up our hormonal balance for the day ahead. Meditating in the early hours, when the house and world around us is quietest, can establish a wonderfully clear and calm foundation for our day.

This period is called ‘prayer time’ and provides us with some spaciousness and quiet at the end of a busy work day, an opportunity to let go of the pressures and urgencies and leave the outside world ‘outside’.  As darkness falls we quite naturally start to wind down and evening meditation can clear out the mental clutter so we don’t end up sleeping with it.

Evenings are also when we are programmed to sleep so always be careful when meditating too close to bed time as sometimes meditation can energize.  Also, avoid meditating in bed because falling asleep is not what meditation is about, and don’t eat too close to meditating as the digestive process can lead to drowsiness and uncomfortable belly.

In the end ~ just DO IT

Finding the right time to meditate really depends on your lifestyle and finding a time that you can regularly commit to.  I always suggest that you test out different times to see what best fits YOU.  I used to relish a midday meditation (in the office) which gave me a chance to refresh and sharpen my focus before I pushed through with the final responsibilities of the day.  And I was never a morning person until I started meditating with a Buddhist group that practiced at dawn.  It still amazes me that I manage to break through my reluctance to get out of bed each morning .. but I wouldn’t miss my meditation FOR THE WORLD.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across
the doorsill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.