The answer to how long in time one should meditate is an interesting one? This really depends totally on you. I can however give you a basic guide based on my experience that I recommend for those new to the practice.
First of all, my first mediation experience happened when I was in year 5 primary school, I was about 11 years old and was really curious about the practice my mum and dad did. I myself did not know how how long I should meditate, but had a feeling that if I just started meditating my body would let me know.. My point here is meditation should not have a time, when we are younger, time is less of an obstacle, it is more about the experience and that is what it is all about. Try not to let conditioning get in the way.
Image – A statue of Hindu deity Shiva in a temple in Bangalore, India by Deepak Gupta
So, How Long Should You Meditate?
With that all said, Meditation is not about time. Try to see it more like, set aside a few hours and do not focus on it during the practice. The main reason being is time is a barrier on meditative thought, it is a process made up by the mind and basically said if focused on will lower the chance of an amazing meditation experience.
The time really for you depends on your spiritual growth, how much you need to grow and how much your body desires. If half way through a great meditation an alarm goes off or a time issue comes to mind it really can ruin the experience that may be needing more time. I am not saying that it is damaging, I am just saying that it is a focus not needed in this experience.
.. The Experience in Meditation is the KEY
Overall the best way of looking at it, is like looking at meditation is like a spiritual healing process, see it like a process in which when meditating the experience has a cycle.
The body will go into the meditative state and once there it will come out of that state when it is ready. That way when sitting down to meditate the time you meditate can be different each time depending on the experience.
At times I have meditated for around 2 hours at one time, other times 20 minutes, it all depends on the experience at that time..