There is no shortage of information on the health benefits of meditation these days. But maybe you've tried to meditate but still have yet to maintain a daily practice. Here are the top five reasons why most people give up on meditation, and some things to reconsider about each one.
1. I don't have time.
Do you have time to eat? Brush your teeth? Have coffee? Well, then I assure you that you have time to meditate. Five minutes a day is all it takes to sit down, be still and tune in to something bigger than your busy mind. Establishing even the smallest habit of meditation will change your life for the better.
A regular meditation practice increases our efficiency, so we actually save time in the long run by meditating. Meditation increases mental clarity, so as a result we're able to focus better, make decisions faster and are more productive in less time. You wouldn't miss brushing your teeth today would you? Make meditation a habit, not a choice — it only takes five minutes of your time.
2. My body starts to hurt when I sit for too long.
Comfort is absolutely essential for sustaining a meditation practice. So take some time to experiment with pillows, chairs, blankets, etc., to find a seating arrangement that best for you. Good seated posture will allow your hips, legs and knees to be at ease, while your spine grows nice and tall for proper energy flow.
Taking a little extra time to stretch or do some yoga beforehand is always helpful. In fact, the practice of asana was designed to prepare the body for long periods of stillness in meditation. Once you have found the best arrangement possible, settle in and forget about your body. Tell yourself that for the next 5 to 30 minutes, that you're going to focus and expand your awareness beyond the physical body. Relax and get comfortable.
3. I don't know what to focus on.
Once you have carved out some time, found your comfortable seat and gotten still, then what? Random thoughts and images will immediately float through the mind as it processes your to-do lists, unfinished conversations, etc.
This is why meditation techniques are so vital. The mind does not just turn off the moment you sit down, so using something intentional to focus the scattered thoughts well help steer them in one desired direction. Try paying attention to the rise and fall of the breath, or repeating a mantra once with each inhalation and once with each exhalation. If you are a visual person, you can try intently imagining something that inspires you.
It is also helpful to have an order for how your practice will go to develop a positive habit. It could look like something like this: