Meditation is one of those things that sounds good to talk about. You want to be the person who does it. You KNOW you should. But all that pressure and expectation can be serious obstacles. Also, do you need a special cushion? Do you need music and to be able to sit cross legged for a half hour?
So often we delay doing something because we want to be perfect. We want the perfect time to carve it out, the perfect start date, the perfect plan. With meditation, maybe we’ve downloaded the apps, created a nook in our house and even bought that “cushion” (aka a glorified and overly priced throw pillow).
But something still gets in the way from sitting down and just doing it. But maybe you’re looking at the practice all wrong. Meditation does not have to be done in a certain way. It does not have to be seated or even with your eyes closed.
Here are a few ways to start meditating without letting obstacles get in the way.
Accept that meditation is just focused breathing. Meditation does not have to be 20 minutes of you entering into the next level of consciousness and realizing divine enlightenment. Meditation is very simply focused breathing. By tuning your present attention to just the simple in and out of your breath, you’re meditating. You can do it in the middle of a meeting, while driving, during dinner or even while working out. Breathe in, hold, breathe out. Do that at least 5 times. Look, you’re meditating!
Stop searching for something. Yes, sometimes meditation can bring about greater creativity and new ideas. Sometimes meditating can help you understand that trauma of your past or even forgiveness for someone who hurt you. Maybe you feel something so blissful that you feel you’ve connected to something bigger than yourself. Awesome. All cool outcomes. But the problem with these experiences is that we have a natural inclination to want them again. So now meditation has turned into outcome chasing. We’re searching for that bliss, that surge of passion or swell of compassion. Yet entering into a meditation practice with an expectation totally negates the purpose of the practice. Try and surrender any expectations or outcomes. Try and just be and let what comes, comes…or be okay with what never comes.
Let go of perfect. Seriously. Let go of having a “good” meditation practice. So you lose your focus 20 seconds in and start thinking of what you’re having for dinner. Or you get so fidgety you have to get up and walk around after 3 minutes. It’s okay. Meditation is a practice. You’re not expected to “get there” every time. Even the most practiced meditators can get distracted. You’re training the most complex organ in your body and you’re up against a lot. Give yourself some grace and try and omit the words “good” and “bad” from your practice.
Pull in reinforcements. Attempting to start or keep a meditation practice in your messy living room, comfy bed or dark basement may not work for you. So, have you considered practicing meditation in a group? There is power in numbers and a group setting can keep you accountable to your developing practice.
In January, our next series of group classes and workshops start and we have four opportunities for you to start or further develop your meditation practice. We use a simple, accessible all-ages, all-levels welcoming attitude when teaching you meditation. Even better, we never take ourselves or the practice too seriously.
Kerry is the founder of reset brain + body, located in Plymouth, where traditional therapy is elevated through the integration of psychology, yoga and mindfulness. After nearly a decade in corporate human resources in Chicago, Kerry left the field to better help her busy and stressed peers handle life inside and outside of the workplace. Kerry can be found teaching meditation and yoga classes and seeing clients for psychotherapy and yoga therapy at reset brain + body. When she's not at reset brain + body, Kerry can be found spending time exploring her new hometown of Plymouth with her husband, baby boy and dog. Connect with reset brain + body on Instagram & Facebook, check out the class schedule, or contact us to book an appointment.