Meditation Myth Number 4: I need to meditate all the time to get somewhere with meditation
No just live your life. Make meditation a part of your life, but don't let meditation or any practice become your life. I have seen so many friends, colleagues, and students get lost in practices rather than practicing what the practices are trying to teach.
The practice of meditation is not a goal unto itself; the practice of meditation is a space in which we practice beneficially altering our relationship to the world, to reality, and to ourselves. It is this shifting relationship and walking the walk of what we practice in meditation that shifts our world and changes our lives.
Of course, there are times when as we deepen our practice we may choose to meditate for longer periods of time. These practices are wonderful and allow deeper insight. But, the time spent in practice is not as important as the application of what we practice in our practice. It is our living practice that gets us results.
I think a good, round figure to aim for in every day meditation is about 10 minutes. Start with a minute, then 2, then 3. As you develop a practice, it can be fun to aim for 15 or 20 minutes. Some days you can try 30 to 45 minutes. But more time spent meditating is not necessarily better it is simply a different experience.
We are life itself trying to experience living and we didn't come here to be on pause all the time. The pause of meditation is the space to return, remember, even seek refuge, but it is not a space in which to live. Life is our living space. Life is precious, and finite, and variable. Life is to be lived.