The best time for you to meditate is the time that you will do it! It's the time that works best in your schedule, the time that is easiest for you. If you choose a time that is convenient for your lifestyle, you'll find the experience more appealing and more natural.

I consider the above is the best way to answer the question, "When is the best time to meditate for greatest benefits?" If that's a sufficient answer for you, there's really no need to read further. I hope you will, though.

Sometimes knowing others' experiences can help you either to decide when to meditate or to decide what times of day to experiment with meditating. When working one-on-one with individuals, I tune in to them energetically and give specific recommendations. However, when writing an article that a variety of people will read, I need to approach it in a different way. So, here are some considerations.

About My Own Times of Day

My best time to meditate is 4:00 am. When I awake naturally at that time, I meditate. It's a joyful time, quiet, peaceful, even the birds are still. I love that time because my mind is not filled with thoughts from the day swirling in my head. Since I've just come out of sleep, I'm in a state of non-resistance and peace. Typically, I meditate for 15-30 minutes, sometimes longer. Then I decide if I'm up for the day or if I want to return to sleep. If I have not meditated at 4:00 am, then I often will meditate before the day's activities.

It's important to me not to have a rigid schedule. My body and my intuition tell me when it's time to meditate. If I feel I am "forcing" myself to meditate, I stop. Instead, I go for a walk or do something different from what I've been doing to release any resistance or clear my head. Because I'm a regular meditator, it makes sense to say that I only meditate when I want to. When I was beginning, though, I found it was important to make the decision to meditate at certain times and sit myself down to do it whether I really wanted to or not.

In the afternoon around 5:00 is another time of the day that I often meditate. In most of our culture, that is the end of the "work day." However, as an entrepreneur, I rarely stop work at that time, but I do like to take a break. When the break is meditation, I go from my office to the living room in my house and sit in one of the two chairs that I bought specifically for meditation.

The elapsed time of this meditation is quite variable. My purpose is to experience the feeling of connection with the Divine, which I can best describe as "detachment with a heightened awareness." It's a particular sensation, which is understood by those who feel it, yet really ineffable. Usually I reach that state quickly, unless I'm agitated or confused and need to relax first. I stay in the feeling of heightened awareness until it ends spontaneously. That may be a few seconds or a few minutes. Even if I'm only a few seconds in that consciousness, I am replenished for hours.

In addition, I lead my clients through guided meditation processes on the phone, often many times a day. This puts me in the same consciousness as meditating for myself, so I consider that this is part of my meditative practice. I also hold my regular clients in consciousness three times a day, which is another aspect of my meditative practice.

Examples of Others' Best Times

In working with others on establishing their meditative practice, I've become extremely open-minded about the various practices and approaches to meditation, including time of day. I encourage people to experiment to find their own ways. Beginners need to start at the easiest time, which might be in a car parked in the driveway or shopping center because that's their only time alone. For some, right after cool down after exercise is a time the body is very receptive to deep rest or meditation. Before or in place of a meal to allow the body to be nurtured before or instead of food can benefit many.

Not all meditation requires sitting in a chair. Jogging is meditation for some; swimming for others; gardening for others. Find an activity that helps you to tune into the Divine aspect of you, and whenever the time is right for that activity, is the right time to meditate for you.

3:00 in the afternoon is often a time in the day when people need a break; in the workplace, giddiness often breaks out because people need to shake or laugh or yell. Right after that can be an optimal time for some to sit quietly for a few minutes.

Now, Back to You

You may find that you have a best time of day when you're learning to meditate that's a different best time of day when you're an experienced meditator. When you're just learning to meditate, it's helpful to have optimal conditions -- a quiet place with no interruptions. After you've experienced some benefits of meditating, you won't need to create ideal surroundings because you'll be committed on a different level. Many people meditate on planes and trains or other noisy places.

Your personal energy will ebb and flow throughout the day, so you'll want to take advantage of your body's rhythm. You may find it most beneficial to meditate when your personal energy lowers naturally.

I know for sure that any time of day can work, with the exception of after meals, as meditation slows the body down, including the digestive system. There is no magical time by the clock. There are choices.

Author's Bio: 

Copyright 2008 Marshall House. Jeanie Marshall, Personal Development Coach and Consultant writes extensively on subjects related to personal empowerment, meditation, and effective use of language. She has developed has developed Empowering Personal Development at www.empowering-personal-development.com to encourage you on your path. Please enroll in her free MiniCourse & Ezine, Meditate Now: 21 Days to Meditate Regularly.