When I mention to people that I meditate I usually hear one of two comments. ” Oh, that’s wonderful… I wish I could do that”. or ” I tried to meditate but I just can’t do it”. In my experience the biggest obstacle people have towards meditation is that they believe that their mind is to cluttered for the practice. They say ” I just can’t stop thinking so much” or ” I can’t sit still for that long”. Here’s a little news flash to help take off some of the pressure of maintaining a meditation practice: It doesn’t matter how crazy or F***ed up your mind is, you Can meditate. Saying that you can’t meditate because you have a distracted and cluttered mind is like saying you can’t do yoga because you are not flexible. Or you can’t go to the doctor because you are sick. Yoga builds flexibility, doctors heal the sick and meditation ( among other things) heals and creates a more flexible and less cluttered mind. Those of us who are always in our mind and always stressed out can benefit the most from meditation practice.
I use to beat myself up when I couldn’t clear my mind during meditation. Then one day I was having a horrible meditation session where I just can’t stay focus on my breath. I fought with myself, struggled and thought to myself, ” this a waste of time….grrr.. you aren’t accomplishing anything here”. Then, after my meditation period was up, I opened my eyes and I was calmer and more clear then before my practice. I realized that even my so-called worst practices had wonderful and important benefits. Sometimes, they are obvious and sometimes not so much.
What is important in building a meditation practice is letting go of the need to accomplish. Remember, this is not a project, job or an assignment- it’s a practice. There are no goals other than to practice consistently. Be gentle with yourself. So if you can’t do thirty minutes.. do ten minutes or even five. Don’t evaluate your meditation by what happens during the practice… wait a few weeks or even a few months and see the effects it’s having on your actual life. Don’t try to control or stop thoughts – Don’t even expect that you will cure yourself of thinking ( don’t expect anything, if that’s possible). Watch thoughts —See how they come and go instead of fighting with them. Soon you see how your thoughts are always changing, are fleeting and are nothing to worry about. And maybe in time you will notice a little space between those thoughts. Your mind may still be racing but in time it won’t be so fast.
I’m going to stop here but I will try to write an example of a simple meditation in the next post…