Meditation is one of those things that once you've carved out a daily practice, you can't imagine not having it in your life. But before that, when your desire to catch some 'OMs' is born of reading books like Eat Pray Love or anything by Louise Hay, and looking at calming images of people sitting poised against a lush green forestry backdrop, meditation can often be something that brings up an inner battle of excuses.
Here are some common ones, along with explanations about why they don’t really exist:
1. “I don’t have the time”
This is ironic. You may feel like you’re wasting time by just sitting around and doing nothing, but it’s quite the opposite. Regular meditation creates space in your mind, heightens your concentration levels, and helps you cope with stress. Meditation actually helps you get more done in the time you have. We all have the same time. It’s just that we all have different priorities, which is why some people are happy to allocate hours each day to meditation and others only commit to half an hour, 20 minutes, or even 10 minutes. If you really can’t justify an extended period of time, just sit in meditation for the longest amount that you do have. Even if this is just 10 minutes, five minutes, or even 60 seconds – your body and mind will love you for it.
2. “I don’t know how”
We place far too much pressure on what meditation should look and feel like. If you can sit or lie down, close your eyes, and breathe in and out, you know how to meditate! That is basically all it is. Sure, you can get fancy with mantras and what not, but basic (brilliant) mindfulness meditation has no goal other than sitting still and being comfortable with having nothing to distract you from your own presence. This can be tough at first, because we’re not used to having so little to do, but it’s really that simple. If you really don’t know where to start, download a guided meditation or go to a class. Or click here for more instructions.
3. “I can’t sit still”
The fact that your mind wants you to check the clock, scratch your arm, or get up and check that the hair straightener / stove / iron is switched off just means that your ego is challenging you. Meditation is all about silencing the ego (the internal chatter that keeps you playing small), so therefore the quieter you are, the louder the ego will be. The more you practice meditation, the more you breathe past your ego, the easier it will be to sit still. If you can’t sit still because it hurts your back or your legs, try lying down.
4. “I can’t switch my mind off”
This is exactly why you should meditate. It doesn’t matter if you can’t clear your mind of all thoughts. It doesn’t even matter if your mind continues to race the whole time you’re sitting there. It’s called a meditation “practice” for a reason; we are not supposed to be perfect. Just keep at it. Whenever you notice that your mind is getting carried away with thoughts and stories, just keep bringing your attention back to your breath, to the sounds you hear around you, and to the sensations within your body.
5. “I find it boring”
Of course you do. When you’re so used to watching TV, while you’re working on your laptop, and sending text messages from your phone all at the same time, of course meditation is going to be boring. That is until you surrender to the activity. Realize that there is so much beauty in silence and stillness, and allow yourself to feel the subtle power creep up from within you.
6. “It scares me”
If you’ve never tried meditation, this may sound like a strange excuse. However, many people don’t go back for seconds after they’ve tried and felt the internal fear that can creep up on you when meditating. This fear is often felt because we’re not used to sitting with our feelings and emotions without employing an external force (like food, TV, alcohol, drugs etc.) to numb them.
This feeling can be incredibly overwhelming at first, and you may want to flip your eyes open because it makes you feel so uneasy, but just stick with it. Don’t try to control anything. Feel the fear in your body, breathe into it and allow it to move through you. Then bask in the fuzzy warmth that will follow.
7. “I keep wondering when the time is up”
Set an alarm. So there you have it. You see; there is nothing in the world that can truly stop you from meditating. If you really want to do it, you can and you will. Don’t wait for the right time or the right environment. Regular meditation will allow you to tap into your intuition, develop a deep trust in yourself, live in the present moment, and have clarity and peace in your every day life. What is happening in your outside world is a direct reflection of your internal environment. Meditation is a powerful tool for creating the life you want to be living.
For more information on how you can clean up your internal environment check out The Wellness Warrior Starter Kit 10 Day Cleanse.