The benefits of meditation have been proven repeatedly. Yet for so many people, the idea of actually meditating is one that they hate.
I know I had this love/hate relationship with meditation when I first began to practice it. I loved the idea of what it could do for me. I hated the fact that it made me sit still. It seemed like such a waste of time.
As the days and weeks passed, however, I began to discover that there were other ways to bring meditation into my life so that I wasn’t forced to find a quiet place to sit somewhere and feel like I was doing nothing. It has helped me to hate meditation less, love it more, and I’m feeling better because of it.
So here’s how you can meditate if you hate meditation like I once did.
#1. Incorporate meditation into your current routine. What I finally decided to do one day was meditate while taking a shower. I bleached the shower floor first [who wants athlete’s foot on your posterior?], then plunked myself down until the water turned cold. It was an amazing experience! That’s when I realized that meditation could happen while taking a walk, while eating breakfast, or even while washing dishes. Being more mindful can happen at any time and in any location, so try to incorporate meditation into your current routine.
#2. Meditate on a single point that’s actually interesting. Like many, my first attempt at meditation was to stare at a lit candle. That was the most boring experience of my entire life – and I once had a 17-hour layover in Buffalo, NY without any cash to my name. So then I began to think. If I just need to focus on a single point of something to meditate, could it be anything? I focused on poetry the next time because I love Hemingway. It was much more rewarding. You could focus on prayer, scriptures, music – anything that is important to you. This makes meditation a lot easier.
#3. Nothing happens during or after a meditation session. I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe magical unicorns spraying tension removal dust on my brain while singing songs about rainbows. When I first started meditating, I expected real, tangible, and immediate outcomes. Instead I didn’t experience anything. Over time, I’ve learned that a wandering mind while meditating can be a good thing. Sure – come back to your focus. But also let your mind wander. That was you always feel like you’ve been productive while meditating.
#4. It’s always a to-do list while meditating. I still have this problem from time to time. My mind wanders to the chores in the house that need to get done. Or my project at work that has a tight deadline. As I generate a mental to-do list, my chest fills with that all-too-common feeling of worry. Instead of taking a deep breath and trying to let that list go, finish it. Otherwise your focus will be on the list during your meditation instead of your single point of focus. Once finished, then you can set it aside.
#5. Find your own starting point. Sometimes you just have to staple your pants to the ground and begin to meditate. Throw on some music if you wish. Sit in a beanbag chair. Do whatever it takes to create a comfortable environment that makes you want to meditate. Even if that means the only place you meditate is in the shower every day.
What struggles have you encountered when trying to meditate? How did you overcome those challenges? I’d love to hear your ideas!