I can’t tell you the amount of conversations I’ve had, around the topic of meditation, that almost always go a little something like this:
I tried meditation, it wasn’t for me
Because I’m curious as to why people don’t (and do) meditate I usually ask why?
I couldn’t get into it..
Okay, that’s cool.
Now, because I have had this conversation a few times, I have learnt to ask the key question “How often did you try?” Their answer, almost 9 times out of 10 is:
Once or twice..
Now I am no expert and I’m talking purely from my own experiences, but what I have learnt through meditation is practice makes perfect. It is very unlikely that with 1 or 2 sessions, you are going to be meditating. It’s a skill that needs to be learned and practiced.
When I speak of Meditation, I’m talking about quieting the mind, becoming mindful. Bringing your awareness to the present moment, to the now. A lot of people are against meditation because it’s associated with ‘hippies’ and ‘new age’ types or because it is associated with some religions, but please don’t let that deter you. Why not try looking at meditation as taking a quick 5 minutes for yourself, to relax.. No thoughts running wild, just you sitting there.
Meditation is a skill, and everyone can do it. You probably do it, and you’re not even realising it. You know when you’re trying to remember someone’s name and you take a quick 5 seconds to breathe and ‘clear your mind’ so you can focus? Meditating. Or when you’re trying to remember the name of that song and you kind of zone out for a while focussing on it real hard, trying to filter through all the background noise so you can play it in your head? Meditating. Ever sat on a park bench, taken a big breath, noticed the feeling of the sun on your face, the birds singing, the children playing, cyclists riding.. just taking in every little part of the moment you’re in? Meditating.
You don’t have to dress a certain way, or light candles. If you want to, by all means, go ahead. You don’t have to hold our hands in particular positions or sit a certain way. I find those things are mostly associated with certain beliefs. But if it works for you, go nuts.
If you are someone wanting to give meditation a go, really give it a go. Once or twice just isn’t going to cut it my friend. It really is something that is learned. Start out with 5 minutes a day. Just take 5 minutes of your day to stop worrying about that uni assignment, or if the kids have brushed their teeth. Don’t worry about if the dishwasher is empty, or if your hair is a mess. Sit, eyes closed, and just be. You’re probably going to have a million thoughts running through your mind. You need to not engage with these thoughts. Know that they’re there, recognise they’re there, but just let it float away. Some people like to focus on things in particular. I like to pretend I am a big sturdy, solid mountain and my thoughts are just fluffy white clouds floating by. I cannot move, because I’m a mountain. But my thoughts can, and they just keep on floatin’ by. If you keep at it, you’ll find what works for you.
Sometimes, you may feel overwhelmed with emotions. This is usually just an emotion you’ve been keeping bottled up coming through. You may feel like you need to cry, so cry. You may feel like you need to laugh, so laugh. That is all part of working towards being in the present.
It’s going to be hard, and it’s going to get frustrating at times but keep at it. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it and you’ll notice you can stay meditating for longer. You’ll even notice it help in other aspects of your life. You’ll be able to control your emotions better, be more patient, more calm and approach things level headed. A quick meditation or clearing the mind before that essay you have to write will do wonders! And of course, meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety.
If you wish to acquire this skill, there is nothing stopping you. Remember it takes time, and it is a journey. Keep at it, and reap the benefits.
It’s been real,