If I asked 100 people if meditation is beneficial for the mind, body, and soul, don’t you think 100% would agree? If I asked the same 100 people if they practice meditation on a regular basis (or at all), I bet the number would be way less than half. So, the question becomes, if they know it’s good for them, why don’t they do it?
In most cases, people find reasons not to do things when they just don’t fully understand it. In the article, 10 Reasons Why People Don’t Meditate from the Positive Psychology Program, a long-term meditation practitioner and coach shares his top ten reasons people have for not trying meditation or not sticking with it once they do. They think meditation is a fad, they can’t calm their mind, it takes too much time, they don’t know what to focus on, and meditation is escapism, selfish, and boring.
It’s pretty safe to say that the majority of people who feel this way simply don’t have a clear understanding of how to meditate and the benefits. If you are one of those people, the good news is that you don’t have to sit cross legged in silence with your fingers shaped like o’s while you “om” for an hour. Meditation comes in many forms and you are sure to find something you can actually embrace and enjoy. Here are a few suggestions:
Guided meditation: This is one way to give meditation a try. I would suggest doing a guided meditation at bedtime. There are many free guided meditations that help relax the body, clear the mind, and promote sleep. If you try it and it doesn’t resonate with you, try another one the next night. It may take several tries for you to find one that feels right to you.
Walking meditation: Yep, it’s just what the name implies. However, that doesn’t mean walk around the block, talking to neighbors, or going over the day’s events in your head. Walking meditation is about focusing and being mindful. You may choose to repeat a prayer or mantra while you walk or focus on your breathing.
Yoga: I recently read about a woman who did 30 minutes of yoga in the privacy of her own home as a way of meditation. She focused wholly on the slow and steady movements of her body. What an awesome way to get in some physical movement with some thought-clearing mindfulness.
Breathing: In 8 Ways to Make Meditation Easy and Fun, the author shares a form of meditation she uses known as 100 breaths. Pretty self-explanatory; 100 breaths is a way to meditate and relax the body while giving the mind something to focus on… counting to 100. Simple yet effective.
I could go on and on about the many cool ways to meditate but I hope you get the point. Meditation is not something you have to follow to the letter or the law. It is something that you do for yourself and adjust to make it feel right for you! If you begin a particular type of meditation and you enjoy it, but something about it bothers you, tweak it. There is no right or wrong. It is simply about being mindful. It’s about clearing the noise in our head and in our hearts and just being present.
Here is one last bonus mediation technique that I think is awesome. Loving Kindness Meditation. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Here’s how it works. Simply sit quietly with your eyes closed. Begin to embrace the feeling of kindness. Work on building loving kindness towards yourself with words of appreciation for all that you are, all that you do, and all that you will be. You can also practice loving kindness meditation towards others. Friends, family, neighbors are the easy ones. Once you’re ready, move onto the not-so-easy ones and offer loving kindness meditation to someone you have a difficult relationship with … maybe a co-worker or ex-partner.
Remember, the best method of meditation is the one that works for you. As your path in life changes, so will your meditation practices. That is the beauty of it. It is what you make it so sit back, relax, and enjoy!