When you succeed in integrating meditation into your daily life, you’re far ahead of most meditation practitioners, because most give up.
But this is not a competition and you are on your own path, so it’s always best you find what type of meditation is the most compatible with you.
Nobody is perfect, and many that get started with meditation wonder what happens if we skip a day of meditation?
Absolutely nothing. In fact, it’s normal. It’s rare to find someone that meditates the 365 days of the year. I have missed days of meditation several times but was still able to reap the benefits of the practice.
Of course, I don’t recommend deliberately missing days of meditation, but it happens to the best of us. It’s almost the same as diet – what you do on a consistent basis is what matters, not what you do every once in a while.
I have noticed meditation absolutists warning about not missing even a day of meditation. But this kind of mindset can actually work against a beginner getting started with meditation.
Because it creates the thinking that if someone misses a day of meditation, all progress is lost and such a person might as well give up on the practice. One missed day turns into two, two into four and it creates this domino effect.
However, missing even one day of meditation is difficult once you’ve made it part of your day-to-day life because your conscience won’t let you have peace of mind until you meditate for that day.
But the same can be said about any favorable habit that you’ve built. But there are times that life gets in the way.
Missing a Day Can Be Good
There are some specific circumstances where missing a day of meditation may help you.
If you’ve been trying hard to meditate, and every time you meditate you feel like you’re in a battle, rather than a place of silence and relaxation, missing a day of meditation may help you approach meditation more gently, and not stumble upon the resistance presented by the mind.
It takes time to meditate properly, and breath-focused meditation may be the easiest meditation to get started with but may not be for everyone.
So if missing a day of meditation means you are finding yourself and in turn, a meditation that works for you, missing a day can work in your favor to make the adjustments that you need to find that relaxation sweet spot in meditation and stick through for the long haul.
Overthinking the meditation leads to the opposite intended effect, you want to make it as easy as possible when you’re first starting out.
And if you happen to miss a day or two of meditation, simply get back up, examine how you can make the meditation appealing enough for you to stick through an entire session, and work from there.
It’s by no means the end of the world, you simply may just feel different from a day without meditation, but at times, the changes may not be noticeable because of the long-lasting positive effects of meditation.
How Many Days Can You Go Without Meditation?
As many as you want, but you won’t want to. Because with meditation, you get such a deep sense of peace that you will naturally be drawn back to it.
And it’s a positive cycle to stay in. You will crave the natural feel-good chemicals meditation is able to produce, without relying on external substances.
Now, to stay on track when you’re first starting out, there are several things you can do to reach a stage where meditation mimics addictive effects, you can, for instance, use a meditation bench, a ring, and coffee or tea with the meditation, eventually, you’ll want to become independent from these things, however.
And while you are capable of integrating meditation on your own in your day to day, some need the extra help to get themselves started, or even stick to a routine that resonates with them.
Don’t overdo the meditation, as meditating too much as a beginner may backfire, staying consistent is more important than the length of your practice.
Upon mastering consistency, you can look into increasing the time count. It’s not only beginners who miss days of the practice but even as an experienced meditator you may miss days.
That’s okay, as long as you’re able to get back on track. The practice can be intimidating for many that haven’t learned the ropes for it, that’s why you’ll want to make the practice as attractive as possible. You won’t master meditation in one sitting.
If You Miss Too Many Days
Doing meditation once you’ve learned the ropes of it is easier, but it’s also easy not to do it.
Missing one day is okay, but one day can lead to two days and it’s easy to think that because the effects of meditation last for so long, it’s okay to continue to miss days and neglect the practice.
But meditation is a life-long practice, at least if you want to stay on the highest levels of peace, focus, declutter, and adopt more good qualities.
Even though there are some monks that are in a meditative state without practicing every day, however, they had been practicing for several years before that. But the line between giving up after missing days and continuing is thin.
There’s always a risk a practitioner stops finding purpose with the meditation and gives up altogether because they have some predisposed beliefs about meditation and think of meditation in absolutist terms.
A mentality that’s all in, or nothing is a high-risk one but can also be a high reward one. But with meditation, the less we approach ourselves with judgment, the easier it will be to stick with it.
Give yourself permission to skip a day if you feel like you need it, but don’t let it turn into a domino effect.
The keyword here is if you really need it because most meditators engage in the practice even when they don’t want to, and only find enjoyment once in the practice and not the other way around.
What’s key in setting up a meditation routine you know you can stick to is starting out slow. Break down the meditation into small pieces, even if these meditations are short ten-minute meditations each day. It’s better than meditating for 40 minutes but relapsing every so often.
As a beginner meditation practitioner, you may have a certain ceiling you want to overcome.
Getting even just one percent better at the practice every day adds up and compounds for you to become an advanced meditator.
And even as an advanced meditator, you will have days where you relapse. The idea is to not make relapses avoidable but to not let them become the norm.
Ideally, you want to meditate every single day and do your best to not skip a day, but that’s not feasible for everyone.
So dipping your toes in the practice and taking time to find a meditation you know you can stick to is more valuable than sticking to a random meditation all because you’ve heard it has worked for many people, without knowing it will work for you.
Meditation is personalized. Willpower and discipline take time to cultivate, which are often components in not skipping days of meditation, but even with these two desirable qualities, you aren’t immune to imperfection.
It may take years for you to reach a level where you feel comfortable with meditation, and that’s okay, since, with meditation, you aren’t competing with anyone but yourself on a path to becoming the best version you can be.
Don’t believe anyone who says progress is lost if you miss a day or a few days of meditation.
It happens to the best of us, even to the most loyal meditation practitioners. Meditation can in the grand scheme of things be anything that keeps your mind in the present moment.
If you find your mind gravitating to the present moment as a result of consistent meditation, the next step is to maintain it, since slipping out of the present can be tempting and we’re vulnerable to it each day when presented with distractions.
Our surroundings are competing for our attention, but meditation allows you to be mindful of what you give your attention to, and thus, your energy.
By staying on the path of meditation, regardless of if you miss a day, you’re likely to still reap the rewards of meditation, and your progress won’t be reversed unless you allow it to, by engaging in overthinking and negative self-talk.
If you become at peace with yourself, thanks to meditation, you reach a point where nothing can disrupt you from that peace, assuming you stay in the flow state.
Meditation is easier than it seems, but it will take time to master it, which is why many confuse meditation as a hard practice, and thus, subconsciously, skipping days becomes the norm until an individual neglects the practice altogether. You can avoid being one of them simply by changing how you see meditation.