“I tried meditating but I was awful at it.”
“I could never meditate, my mind just keeps going and going.”
“I wish I could meditate, but I don’t have any time.”
THESE are some of the most common concerns I hear about meditation on a day to day basis. Meditation seems to be the simplest, hardest thing we can ask ourselves to do. And yet a daily meditation practice is immensely helpful in calming the mind, allowing us to be less reactive, and improving our focus and productivity.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that meditation does not have to look a certain way. In fact, creating a practice that works best for you, and feels good for your mind, body, heart, and soul, is the best way to create a sustainable and rewarding practice. You don’t have to get anywhere or accomplish anything with meditation. It is simply a time to be, to allow yourself to observe what is going on inside of you, and let go of that which does not serve you.
So, how do we start? I say keep it simple, and make it an act of self care. You can keep it simple by choosing a time that you know will generally work for you, and won’t get intruded on by other life demands. Usually this is first thing in the morning or last thing at night, but do what what works for you. You don’t have to sit for long periods of time. As you sit, notice the sensation of your breathing, how it feels in your body to inhale and exhale. Start with five minutes, and if that feels long, two minutes, or even one minute. And if that feels too long, one breath. Simply focus on the feeling of one breath in, and one breath out.
We all have time for that!
When thoughts or feelings arise, simply notice them, the way that you would notice clouds floating across the sky. You don’t have to judge them, or more importantly, judge yourself for having them. It is absolutely normal to have thoughts arise during meditation, that is what our brains are meant to do! Simply allow them, release them, and return to the breath.
Meditation can be an act of self care, if we make it one. For example, you can create a beautiful space with a fragrant candle, pictures you love, or a cushion that allows you to feel comfortable. Allow yourself to be and feel relaxed and dignified, in whatever posture works for you. Feel free to listen to guided meditations, or simply set a timer. Tell your family that meditation is your protected time. This is your practice, and it will so much easier to continue if you love doing it.
We all have time for one breath, and if we don’t, then perhaps that is all the more reason we need to be meditating. Cultivating the time and space to sit with yourself in silence can help you feel more calm, focused, and productive for the rest of your day. What could be more important?