I realized that I'm not getting a lot of meditation practice either so last night I sat down before bed and made sure to spend a good 20 minutes trying to meditate. It took a while to figure out what the most comfortable position was and I noticed that I tended to want to look at the clock after about 8 minutes but I did sit there for the full 20 minutes. I even resisted the urge to scratch my face when it go itchy for several minutes before it completely overwhelmed me and I gave in.
By the end of the sitting I'd figured out a very comfortable way for me to sit in the correct position without straining my back too much. I sat up against the wall with a little pillow behind the arch of my back and it provides just enough support to keep everything aligned.
While observing my thoughts and trying to focus on my breath I also realized something else. Thoughts are not "bad" or "wrong". The Buddha had to have had thoughts arise in order to discover the Four Noble Truths (as they are thoughts themselves). What is important is to recognize the thoughts for what they are (constructions of the mind and imagination) and realize that they are transitory and illusory. Most of the thoughts that arise in our minds are not things that should be held on to. They are impermanent and although they may seem very important at the time, they will eventually fade and become non-existent as well. It is the recognition of this impermanence that is key. They rise and fall and are forgotten.
Another thing that I noticed the other day was eating. I was very aware of the act of eating. I noticed the chewing, the way that the food tasted in my mouth, how it broke down as I chewed and the way it felt as it went down my throat. There was nothing else going on in my mind other than being aware of eating. It was a very interesting experience and my mind felt very present, alert and in the moment. It wasn't until afterwards that I really realized that I'd been completely involved in the act of eating.
This morning I woke up at 5:00 am, had my shower, got dressed and then sat back down for another session of meditation. This time I set an alarm to go off after 30 minutes but I ended up stopping after 15 minutes. I am pushing myself to sit a little longer each time but I don't want to push too hard as I figure it will get easier with practice anyway.
Once I was through with my meditation, I fell promptly back asleep. I'm definitely going to have to try and exercise a bit more discipline.