This is for you if you’ve been reading and learning about meditation and now you’re convinced that you really SHOULD start meditating.
You’ve discovered a ton of good things about mindfulness meditation.
The benefits are endless. Mindfulness meditation can:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Boost your immune system
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce the probability you relapse into depression
- Improve your learning abilities
- Reduce stress
- Reduce loneliness
- Reduce the aging process (keeping you looking young and foxy)
- Reduce PMS
- Increase job satisfaction
- Reduce pain
- and the list goes on and on and on (here’s 100 reasons)…
So now you really feel you SHOULD meditate. Science backs it. People rave about it. The benefits are ridiculously good. BUT… Something’s stopping you. And you’re struggling with that.
5 thoughts that may be blocking you
Here are 5 common answers to the question: “What stops you from trying?”
1. “I won’t be good at meditating because my mind never stops”.
I hear this one a lot. Here’s the thing: You can’t be bad or good at meditation. I know, it’s an uncomfortable thought, because we’re all used to measuring our performance. It’s not because you feel really calm and good after your meditation that you’re good at it. It’s not because your mind races that you’re bad at it. The only thing that matters when you meditate is that you’re doing it – that you’re getting acquainted with your mind & body. That’s the only measure of success.
[bctt tweet=”As long as you’re not sitting your butt down, you’re not winning (at meditation) – @Inge Broer”]
This is another thing that trips people up: The goal of meditation is not having no thoughts. It’s not blissing out. It’s not that when you “meditate right” the skies open and there are angels and a choir and… No.
It does happen that you feel good. Blissful even. It’s amazing when it happens, but if that were the measure of success, and that’s what mattered, nobody would be meditating.
In fact, meditating often feels: Sleepy, anxious, painful, mindless, victorious, silly, embarrassed, sad, boring, really boring, antsy, … It feels like the way YOU feel on the inside. Just get acquainted with it. Curious. No judging. And keep bringing your attention to that one thing. Not so glamorous, eh?
The goal of meditation is actually more to make your LIFE better: When you’re not meditating.
Think of what your life would be like if you could see past your mind. Just a little. Could you enjoy the laughter of your children more? The beauty of the falling leaves? The smell of coffee in the morning?
To train yourself to pay better attention and to enjoy more, you need to sit your ass down and meditate.
[bctt tweet=”With meditation, you gently tame that beautiful mind of yours one breath at a time – @IngeBroer”]
What is that going to be like? It’s a bit of a journey, really. In your case, your job will be to become familiar with your racy mind. Open up your awareness to what else is going on within you. You are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are part of you. What else is there? Are you curious yet?
A large number of mindfulness meditation practices focus on bringing your attention to one singular thing happening within you. For instance, paying attention to your breath.
For a set amount of time, you sit down and you pay attention to your breath. Your mind WILL distract you. I guarantee it. It’s its job. Your mind’s job is to create stories and scenarios for you to keep paying attention to it. I guess yours is really good at it. Meditation allows you to get curious with your mind, get in the drivers’ seat and let more of your being shine through. Every time your mind grabs control of your attention again, notice, and gently return to the focus on the breath.
You win every time you notice you’re distracted. That’s being mindful (aware). You’ll actually be extra good at meditating, because you’ll have more distraction, so more times to bring yourself back to your singular focus. The more times you do it, the more you are practicing. The more you’re training your brain.
2. “I don’t see HOW meditation can possibly achieve all of those benefits.”
Good one. You’re not alone. Scientists can’t either – yet. But they will. There are a ridiculous amount of studies that come out every week.
For now, let’s bring it back to you. Do you really need to lower blood pressure, reduce loneliness, increase your grades? No? Good. So get curious what meditation can do for YOU. One of the first things people notice when they start is that they
have an extra 1-2 seconds of reaction time. That’s all. And it’s enormous.
How does it do that? Practice. When you meditate, you’re training your brain to constantly come back to a singular point of focus. In so doing, it learns to monitor it’s own activity.
Real life situation: You’re going about your day, you’re happily driving along and then BOOM someone cuts you off. Your biology instantly goes into high alert and high anger mode. You don’t get a choice about that.
But here’s where the magic of meditation comes in. If you’ve been practicing being aware of your own mind, something alerts in you and says : “Your biology is getting enraged. How do you wish to proceed?” and then you have a choice. You can choose to get angry. You can choose to change your focus (breathe through it) and let it go. Your biology doesn’t go in all of its hormonal flurries. You avoid a chemical soup that brings up the blood pressure, etc. etc. If you didn’t have that little alert system in your brain, you’d just fly into that rage and you’d be a “victim” of your biology.
Just that. Those 1-2seconds. That’s all you need for some huge changes to occur.
[bctt tweet=”Just a quarter second of extra reaction time is all it takes to take you from a life of reaction, to a life freedom. – @IngeBroer”]
3. “It’s just too new/too weird/too trendy & I don’t identify with the whole namaste-ing stuff”
I hear you. The “the light in me salutes the light in you”, the “we’re all connected and we’re all beautiful”, “everything happens for a reason” might be a little off-putting. You’re a serious person. You don’t want to start spouting stuff like that at work. It wouldn’t be accepted in your circles.
It’s NOT a requirement.
You also do not need to tell people you’re meditating. CEO’s have kept it under raps for years. Although lately, really high powered executives have been coming out of the spiritual closet. Left and right they are saying “I meditate. It makes my performance better.” It’s OK if you don’t feel comfortable with the more spiritual piece of Mindfulness & Meditation.
Meditation makes you better at your job. Or with your kids. Or with your model plane hobby. It doesn’t matter why other people meditate. If you feel you need to, do it for you. Again: You can 100% keep it a secret. Just start. Whether you identify with the performance aspects, the happiness aspects, the health aspects or the spiritual aspects.
[bctt tweet=”Meditation will likely make you better (at everything). But you don’t have to buy into the sub-culture. – @IngeBroer”]
4. “I just don’t feel like it.”
Fair enough. I don’t feel like it most of the time either. Yet, when I don’t do it for a couple of days, my well-being plummets. It’s just kind of a fact.
There’s something I’ve learned though: the more I don’t feel like it, the better it is for me. So, in a way, the fact you’re resisting it… is SUPER great news. It means you’ve found something that’s going to be really good for you. Sorry. That’s not what you wanted to hear, I bet. Read a little here about resistance, and how there’s this
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more important the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it. – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.
[bctt tweet=”The more you resist the idea of meditating, the more it’s good for you. – @IngeBroer”]
(Note: I’ve been resisting doing my meditation today. I better do it before I finish this post) (Ohh I feel more in tune with myself now. It’s not that pleasant, per se, but it’s much better.).
5. “I don’t have time.”
Ahhh the most common one. I advise people to start with 5 minutes/day. You don’t have to feel peaceful when you start. You don’t have to make things look a certain way (you have your eyes closed…). It doesn’t need to be quiet around you. You don’t need to put a candle or incense or relaxing music.
You can do it on the bus. On the metro. Before bed. Waking up. Waiting for your tea water to heat up. All you need is you. That’s it.
Another cool trick I used for a while, was taking a few 20 second (yes SECOND) breaks. To feel my breath. To come back to me. It was immensely effective.
I don’t care what your life is like. You have 20 seconds. Try it!
[bctt tweet=”Don’t have time to meditate? Try a 20 second blitz. Watch your breath. 20 seconds. Go! – @IngeBroer”]
“I don’t know how”
Here’s one simple way:
This one is self-guided. Put a timer on for X amount of time (5 minutes is good to start).
Sit down (it doesn’t really matter how) and start paying attention to your breath. Don’t try to change it. Feel it enter your nostrils. Leave your nostrils. Feel it in your chest. Study it. Get interested in it. Every time your attention wanders, notice, and gently bring yourself back to your breath.
Your thoughts will do everything to keep you interested. It’s great. Don’t worry about it. Picture them passing by your mind like clouds in a sky. Return to the breath.
Keep an attitude of curiosity, gentleness and acceptance and you’ll be golden. 🙂 Keep trying.
Here’s another simple way:
Ask me for my guided body scan. It’s available in English and in French. It’s around 10 minutes long.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Body Scan Please?
Last Thought: Stop “Shoulding” all over yourself!
If you don’t meditate, you don’t. It’s all good. Not everybody needs to do meditation. The day you try will be the day you try. It’s seriously all good. Don’t stress yourself out with it.
I’ve had to start meditating probably 400 times already. I always stop somehow. So I start again. I know it’s good for me, but I don’t beat myself up when I don’t do it. I just readjust and start again.