I remember years ago a friend suggested I try meditation. I told him I can’t meditate because my mind is constantly racing. I’m sure meditators will get a chuckle out of that like I do when I hear people say it to me now. It took me years to learn what I wish I knew then.
Why we meditate
Would you believe me if I told you the goal of meditation is not necessarily to quiet the mind? The goal of the meditation I practice is to be able to bring my focus back to the breath when I’m stuck in traffic or waiting in a long line or really, anytime things aren’t working out the way I want them to. The only way to be able to do this in the real world is to take some time to practice everyday.
Meditating is a lot like going to the gym. You don’t go to the gym and try to lift the heaviest weight on your first day and give up if you can’t do it. On the first day at the gym you lift the weight that feels comfortable to you and you build up your strength over time. The same with meditation. Meditating for 20 minutes if you have never sat before might not set you up for success. It will be the longest 20 minutes of your life.
We have so many thoughts running through our brains, and let’s face it, not all of them are very kind. This is why it can be so painful to sit in silence. Even more so if we berate ourselves every time we notice our mind has wandered. The goal of meditation is to notice that your mind has wandered and bring your attention back to your breath. Every time you do that you’ve done one rep. Just like the gym, every rep you do improves your practice.
How to start
If you’re interested in starting to meditate, set a timer for 5 minutes, inhale, exhale and repeat. When your mind starts spinning, and it will, notice yourself inhaling and exhaling. If you can do that, you’ve successfully meditated. Woo hoo!!!!!
I promise you it does get easier. As you get more comfortable set the timer for 7 minutes, then 11, then 15, then 20.
Most people say they don’t have time to meditate. If you are on Facebook more than five minutes a day you have time to mediate. If you watch any amount of TV you have time to mediate. What no one tells you about meditation is that the more you do it the more time actually starts to expand. If you think you don’t have time to meditate, start and soon you’ll notice that you’ll have more time in your day.
You have to be patient and not expect to feel a difference after one time. Have faith you are building that muscle and eventually you’ll notice that things don’t aggravate you as much as they used to. Ideas come to you. You’ll notice the opportunities that present themselves to you.
No one can do this for you and there isn’t a meditation pill you can take. The only way to see if this works for you is to try it. It’s free to do, you don’t need any special equipment and you don’t need a ton of time. You only need the desire to have more ease in your life. I’m sure we could all use more of that!
Share your meditation experience
Have you always wanted to meditate but didn’t know where to start? Let me know in the comments what struggles you have. If you’ve had a meditation practice over the years share in the comments what benefits you’ve experienced to inspire others.
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