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Think You Can't Meditate?

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

Don't like sitting with your own thoughts? Try this...

So you like the idea of meditation and have heard all the beneficial hype, but when you sit to practice, your inner critic is yapping in your head with chatter like, "I am no good at this." "My legs and back hurt and it's only been 30 seconds, no way I can sit here for 20 minutes." "Now I remember why I don't sit and think, it's pretty scary here in my mind. I'm out!"

If this sounds like you, you are not alone.

Many people approach meditation as another task to be completed and checked off the list like working out or eating healthy, then get disappointed when they can't maintain the discipline.

Meditation is so much more.

Granted, in the beginning, it can take a few times to get some momentum going before you feel the benefits that so many speak of. That is why they call it a "practice." It takes practice! The trick is not to make the benefits your goal.

Feeling good is not the goal of meditation! Did you hear me? I'll say it again... Feeling good is not the goal of meditation. Then what is the goal, you ask? Well, that is up to you, but you didn't begin reading this for me to tell you to figure it out, so here is my perspective.

Meditation is very personal. Your experience is your experience and would be best not compared to anyone else's. However, here are a few things I would suggest you consider trying.

First, you don't have to sit on the hard ground with your legs crossed. When you sit to practice, be comfortable but perhaps sit with the thought that you are meeting a most precious friend. Allow your posture to represent the level of adoration you have for this being.

Next, allow yourself to get excited at the thought of what may unfold in your experience without being attached to any outcome. Confused? Let me explain. When we have a desired outcome for our practice, and that outcome is not achieved, it can leave us feeling disappointed or inadequate. Instead, try approaching your practice as an opening of awareness to your own conscious mind (tip of the iceberg) and the unconscious mind (remaining portion of iceberg under the water line) where the opportunities for exploration are endless.

It looks something like this... Sit in a comfortable posture (nature is awesome for this practice). Allow your eyes to close. At this point you may ask, now what? Refrain from trying to clear your mind because what we focus on becomes bigger. Said another way, if you realize that you are trying to clear your mind and it feels like your mind is a bag of monkeys, don't try. Instead, begin to listen to the sounds around you. Listen to the rustle of the leaves of the trees as the breeze flows through them. Allow yourself to take a long, slow breath and see what rustles inside you. Listen to the birds who joyfully provide song and allow yourself to be comforted by their unhurried, non-judgmental music. I never met a bird who felt like a failure or did not like his body. Listen to the sounds of the world moving around you as you sit still. Allow the world to do its thing with you in the middle, and notice what it feels like to be the center of this foward moving, ever changing, love/hate planet.

Thougths will come and go.

Allow them to do so.

Discover what it feels like to have thoughts without attaching to the story of how or why you have them. Some may be pleasant and some may not. They are all a part of who we are. The wave in the sea doesn't judge himself because on any given day he is too small or too big. He does not judge himself when he gently rolls up on the sand or crashes with immense force against the rocks. He simply knows that he is everchanging but is still part of the ocean, not separate from it.

Give yourself the space to consider all the aspects of what makes you you, without labeling them good or bad. Notice the ones that you want to keep and let go of the ones that don't serve you. You have the power to do so.

If you begin to feel discomfort with your thoughts, gently bring your focus back to the sounds around you. Breathe in and breathe out. If the discomfort persists, you don't have to sit and suffer. You can simply say, "That's all for now." It does not matter if it was 1 minute or 60. Bless your experience and try again at a later time. The key is to keep coming back. It will get easier and easier each time. Before you know it, you may be sharing your practice tips with others who struggle with their practice.

So, what is the key to meditation? That's the million dollar question. You will find the answer by showing up over and over again.


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