I tried it, but…
I can’t do it.
I’m too busy
It’s too hard
My brain isn’t wired for this
Too many thoughts pop in my head about what I should be doing instead
The thoughts of a novice meditator. That was me. I knew there were many potential benefits of meditation – physically and psychologically, helping decrease stress and pain and increase focus, attention and memory. I saw studies showing that it actually could affect the brain’s ability to change, allowing us to better control our thoughts and reactions.
It all sounded great, but was so foreign to me, a new language. It was something for other people - those who were calmer than me, those who weren’t multi-taskers, those who weren’t as busy as I was, and those who didn’t have what felt like hundreds of thoughts shooting through their head every second.
But after seeing the “Meditate” message over and over and over again, I finally figured out that I wasn’t so special after all. The rest of my peers were just as over-committed, just as scattered and had just as much mental turbulence as I did. And it finally sunk in that meditation was something that would help me get through my list of “To Dos” and not just add one more item to it.
A wise source shared:
If you don’t think you have 5 minutes to meditate, you should be doing it for twice that long.
I didn’t know where to start and started searching online. I came across a series of YouTube meditations and tried them out. I found the 20 and 30 minute sessions were too long. I’d be fine for a few minutes and then go stir crazy, so I’d stop but feel anxious that I had quit, or stick with it but feel antsy, tense - like I just wasn’t doing it right.
It wasn’t very satisfying, but I stuck with it, did more searching and found shorter meditations, some just 5 minutes long. Now that was something I could do and I did! And I continued, moving to 10 minute, 15 minute and the occasional 20 minute session. While it took me awhile to find my meditation rhythm, now I’m hooked. I’m not at that 20-30 minutes twice a day point. Nowhere close! But I do make time every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes to breathe and still myself. I definitely feel the benefits and recommend it to clients, friends and family.
Check out YouTube or apps like Headspace and Insight Timer - there are some guided meditations as brief as a minute.
OK - so you’re willing to give it a go – now what? I received a great article on getting started with meditation from the Chopra Center and have summarized it here:
Beginning a meditation practice can be both exciting and intimidating. If you asked 10 different people what style of meditation they practice, you might get 10 different answers. It's common to feel overwhelmed and uncertain as to where or how to get started.
The best way to begin is to familiarize yourself with some of the different types of meditation to see what resonates with you. Here are a few of the more common styles that are great for beginners.
GUIDED MEDITATIONS - these are led by someone else, either in person or via a recording, that will usually (although, not always) have a theme and relaxing music playing in the background. They come in all styles—including healing, manifesting, and going within to find your purpose. Because guided meditations are led by another person, this style of meditation is great for beginners and those who may struggle with sitting still for more than just a few minutes at a time.
VISUALIZATION MEDITATION is a powerful way to use the mind to influence the body and can also be an empowering way to manifest desired outcomes in your life. The unconscious mind is extremely powerful and it works very well with imagery. By constructing an image in your mind of what your life might look like after having accomplished a goal and really seeing yourself having already achieved it is a way to begin living in ways that support the manifestation of your desired outcome.
JAPA or MANTRA-BASED MEDITATION is a mantra-based meditation path that is one of the oldest, most revered classical techniques known today. The practitioner repeats a word or phrase for the duration of the meditation, with the mantra being the focal point throughout. During the practice, whenever you drift away from the mantra to other thoughts, sounds, or physical sensations, you simply guide your attention back to the repetition of the mantra.
LOVING-KINDNESS or METTA MEDITATION is designed to cultivate four qualities of love: friendliness (Metta), compassion (Karuna), appreciative joy (Mudita), and equanimity (Upekkha). The quality of Metta, or friendliness, is expressed as a genuine compassion sent out with the intention of surrounding ourselves and others with loving kindness.
BREATH-AWARENESS MEDITATION is a simple practice of finding a comfortable seat, closing your eyes, and placing your attention in the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Breath awareness is an effective way to establish greater mind-body connection and to reduce stress. This type of meditation can be your preferred meditation practice each day and it is also highly useful during moments of tension in the workplace and at home.
Once you’ve tried a few different types of meditation, you will have a better idea of what resonates with you and what doesn't. The most important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong meditation; there are many paths that all lead to the same destination, and the beauty of life is that we get to choose our own path.
Keep it simple at the beginning and just feel out some different techniques. When you find one that you enjoy, the next step is to set aside time each day to cultivate your meditation practice. From there, tend to your practice each day and you will experience a number of life-changing benefits.
Another option is to see if there are any guided meditations being offered in your community. Many yoga studios and wellness centers offer daily guided meditations, which can be a great way to ease into your meditation practice.
For the complete article from the Chopra Center, go to: Start Here! 5 Meditation Styles for Beginners
Wishing you stillness,
P.S. Meditation is just one of the many options that we have in our path to wellness. I help each client find the right mix of options for better health and a happier life. Want to learn more for yourself or for someone you care about who needs support? I’d love to chat. The session is complimentary and scheduling is easy with my online booking system: Schedule Now
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