Have you ever tried to sit down and meditate and then immediately felt like a big failure? Like there is no way you could eve stop your mind from thinking? Then you finally manage to tear yourself away from the computer and the phone, you sit (not sure how) then try to stop your mind from thinking (not sure how) so you start focusing on your breath.
Maybe I should light a candle?
Maybe I should chant something?
Did I turn my phone on silent? Let me check.
Ok back to meditating.
Is this right? I don't feel anything
uh oh, pretty sure that was a thought
What should I wear to work?
Oh no that was definitely a thought.... Seriously Mind, BE QUIET!
I want a puppy. Maybe I should name it Lulu
NO! Mind stop it!
OK that's it. My mind is too active for meditation.
If you've ever had some version of this conversation, you're not alone and you're not a meditation failure. As a matter of fact, you could probably be an expert meditator, we simply need to get rid of some mis-information.
Here's the thing: No on can stop their his or her mind from thinking. Seriously, nobody. Not even the most enlightened monks can give their mind a command to stop thinking. Why? Because the mind thinks involuntarily, just as the heart beats involuntarily.
So imagine sitting down to meditate and trying to give your heart a command to stop beating. It doesn't work. This is the same thing as trying to quiet the mind. It's impossible!
Instead we have to give the mind some tools, other ways to play that are custom designed to de-excite the nervous system.
So here is the (surprising) #1 mistake people make when they meditate:
Trying to stop their mind from thinking.
If you've ever felt like a meditation failure because you were having thoughts during your meditation, here is some good news! You can still totally get the benefits of meditation even if you are having thoughts.
I am always telling my students "We don't meditate to get good at meditation, we meditate to get good at life."
Thoughts during meditation is actually an indicator that stress is leaving the body.
So if you want to give it another go, or try it for the first time here is a really simple meditation you can try right now to get your started. I call it the "M Word Technique."
Sit with your back supported, head free
Have a time piece near you
Take a few breaths to simply chill
Then silently repeat the word "One"
You will definitely have other thoughts, no problem
Simply come back to the word "One" any time you realize you are off the word.
After 5 minutes, let go of the word and keep the eyes closed for another minute just chilling. In the last minute there is no real agenda, just don't launch in to activity too soon. Try giving thanks for everything that comes to mind in that one minute "cool down"
If you want some solid training on how to meditate from the comfort of your own home there is a new interactive meditation training happening next month called zivaMIND!