Meditation is one of the simplest things to do, and yet it is often over-complicated. Many people hear about the benefits of meditation and get fired up to do it, and then stress endlessly over actually starting… only to put it off for another month. But why? What is so intimidating about sitting still for a few minutes each day, and why does the idea psych so many people out of doing it?
There are a few answers to this question. Maybe you will recognize yourself in one of them:
We don’t really know what meditation is, and we think we might be doing it wrong. It can be this simple: a regular practice of quieting the mind and tuning in to our breath. That is the basic premise, anyway, and a great place to start.
We complicate this simple act by making it into a goal-oriented task. Meditation is more like brushing your teeth than graduating from school: it is a daily maintenance program. There is no perfection in meditation; there is no end goal of levitation, no promise of eternal happiness that will occur if you do it just right that one time. And while amazing, transcendent things can and often do happen during meditation, the basic goal is peace, one moment at a time.
We are afraid of silence, especially inner silence. In my opinion, this is the most common, and is also the one fear most people aren’t aware of feeling within themselves. We live in a busy world, and busy-ness has been elevated to a social status. What do you do for work? What did you do last weekend? Our cultural obsession with being busy has transformed into personal habits, until we don’t really know what it feels like to sit still on purpose. And when we don’t know what it feels like, we become afraid of ever trying it because what we don’t know scares us.
So how do we get over the hump? Just jump in! Try it once, try it with friends, try thinking of it as simple an act as brushing your teeth. Try it right now, for five minutes.
Use this simple, step by step guide:
1. Set a timer for five minutes
2. Sit somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, and try to keep your back straight.
3. Listen to your breath. Try focusing your attention on your heart center, where your breathing is happening. If you get distracted by thoughts, gently let them fade away, and refocus on your breathing.
So… How did it go? Let me know in the comments section below!