Meditation is a popular practice that many aspire to try but also many give up on very quickly. When we think of meditation, we image that as soon as we close our eyes, we can make all thoughts disappear. And if that doesn’t happen, then we become convinced that ‘we can’t meditate. But is there such a thing?
Is there a right or wrong way to meditate? Is meditation something that we can all do?
Based on popular belief, it’s easy to think that we’d be able to stop every thought as soon as we close our eyes. In reality, every meditation beginner has to first face the many thoughts that invade our minds. As soon as you try to meditate by closing your eyes, your brain is filled with thoughts. From wondering what you’ll be eating later today, to asking yourself if you’re meditating right. The more you convince yourself that you’re doing it wrong, the more stressed you get about meditation.
But meditating should be relaxing! That’s what I reminded myself when I had the same experience as you. I was also convinced that I couldn’t meditate. Until I began researching the topic of meditation and watching video tutorials on it. That’s when I realized that what stopped me from meditating was my own perception of meditation. I wanted to have the ‘perfect’ meditation session, where my mind would instantly make every thought disappear.
Instead, I was sitting there thinking about whether my posture and technique were right. I was then worried about making progress, and asking myself if I wasn’t just wasting time. Since I couldn’t stop thinking about all of these and more, I became convinced that I couldn’t meditate. That feeling of guilt made the experience more stressful than it should be.
Do you know what was my real mental block? My self-ego. I was so concerned with meditating ‘perfectly’ that I couldn’t let go of any of those thoughts. I was too busy thinking about myself to properly relax.
Then, one day I read two books that completely changed the way I think of meditation. That’s when I learned that to meditate, I don’t need to sit cross-legged. Or to find the perfect posture and follow a fancy technique. Most importantly: I can meditate any time I like! When I’m sleeping, when I’m eating, when I’m walking… even when I’m talking. The most important thing is to learn to be aware of the present. Once you become a ‘watcher’, who can be in the present, you’ll be able to let go of those thoughts.
Here’s a simple practice you can try out:
Close your eyes and be a ‘watcher’. This means that instead of trying to ignore your thoughts, you pay attention to them. Be curious about your thoughts. You’ll be so focused on the present, that you won’t be able to notice the next thought.
Keep it simple - practice being a ‘watcher’ instead of seeking out perfection. Watch your thoughts come in and go away.
If you find meditating while sitting down uncomfortable, start walking! There are no rules that say you have to sit. You can meditate on your walk to work, or even while you do chores. Do you like to relax while listening to music? Try to meditate with music by focusing on the sound and its rhymes.
Try to practice meditating with music by following the simple steps in this article.