Does the word ‘meditation’ stimulate immediate recoil in the deepest recesses of your being?
If you can feel your eyes rolling up into your brain when your ‘deep’ friend touts the serenity they feel when they close their eyes to meditate then you might want to stop reading now and click this link instead – but come back!
I promise you are not alone in feeling like this terrifying meditation thingy is just not going to do anything for you – let’s journey together and we can get through this! Honestly, 20,000 years of yogis can’t be all wrong, right?
Whether you are a beginner, a pre-beginner, a non-practitioner or a seasoned lover of meditation, we are all learning. Being a practitioner means we are practising – and even those of us who have been trying to ‘get it right’ for a long time – months, years, eons, lifetimes, are still works in progress. We all hear ourselves self-criticising – if it’s not our technique, it’s our thought pattern or we’re not sitting right – we’re always doing something wrong!
But the truth is that meditating isn’t so scary. It is actually pretty amazing and surprisingly easy! And there are so many ways to do it. It’s not about achieving anything mythical – I mean yeah, it would be quite an achievement to free yourself from all worldly stress, and float away on a cloud of magic vibration never to be bothered again by the burden of bodily, mental or other pressures, but let’s stay grounded for a second. Why do we meditate, really? Take a moment to think about it…and then ask yourself, why don’t you meditate? Really?
Stop bashing and get comfy
For sure, one of the most typical challenges that we all experience is the intrusion of all those rude self-destructive thoughts. The first step before you begin any meditation practice is to stop telling yourself you are doing it wrong! Stop thinking that you have to be a human pretzel or else not bother. All you need to do is sit in a comfortable position. Even if you are alarmed by the sight of the C word (chakras, guys – what were you thinking?), it makes sense that if you want the right blood flow, to regulate nutrients and subsequent energy flow throughout your body, then some sort of alert, tall posture is best. But please stop judging yourself; if your back gets tired, don’t moan that you can’t stay in meditation for more than one frustrating minute. Find a comfortable chair to lean back in, not slumped, but relaxed and get started.
A little discipline goes a long way
Let’s also not just be lazy; I mean you might need to put some effort in here. Try using that oh so critical tormenting mind you’re always battling with to create the discipline needed to meditate. Seriously, no one ever got anywhere by putting in zero effort – if you can prove me wrong, please point me in the direction of that brilliance, because God knows I would rather put in zero effort.
Discipline is not judgement. We all went to school where discipline meant do your homework and clean your shoes or end up writing lines. They did have a point though – they just forgot what it was – it was really to help condition us to the fact that you have to be just a little driven and committed in life. Disciplining the mind and body are a big part of what meditating is about.
Accept your thoughts
It is not useful to try to control every thought that passes through that adorable cranium of yours! Also, it’s frickin’ impossible, people! Meditating is not about telling your brain to shut up…your brain is you, your thoughts, your feelings. Your stresses are real, they are yours – you gotta deal with them. Meditating, however, will assist you in the arduous task of slowly, delicately, lovingly sifting through them. Acceptance is another big word that comes up over and over for meditators or practitioners of any reflective work – accept your mind, accept your body, accept and move forward, don’t judge or you will end up stuck.
Meditation asks so little of us; pausing, being with ourselves and it gives so much in return. It is a free and precious gift to yourself. Imagine that just a few minutes can potentially result in a more productive you, who is more calm and clear thinking.
A new, improved you
I am not making this stuff up –there is research which shows how meditating enhances the functioning of your brain, regulates multiple bodily systems, and makes you a more remarkable expression of you! And that all really just means that maybe, just maybe, you might not curse at every car in traffic today (maybe just one). You might find that you can actually get through the day with a smile on your face, and if you are open to it, maybe there is a lot more you will discover in yourself.
Hopefully I have succeeded (please say I am not a failure…oh, God…what is the purpose of my life) and you are a little less horrified about the idea of finding a moment to practise stillness.
Let me know how it goes! I have faith in you, I have faith in the practice.