FIRST TIME MEDITATORS are often discouraged….so if learning to meditate or “thinking” of learning to meditate … as a New Year’s Resolution…..and experiencing concern, I thought you’d like to know what many “virgin meditators” have to say:
• I CAN’T DO THIS… I tried and it just doesn’t work.
• I can’t clear my mind…it’s filled with thoughts and some of them are nutty.
• This doesn’t work at all.
• It’s too quiet, I need some kind of sound
• Well, nothing’s happening, it’s not working
• I can’t sit still so I must be doing it wrong
• How much time has gone by? It feels like hours!
• What’s the point anyway?
• I’m bored, and I have stuff to get done!
• So what should I be getting out of this? What am I doing wrong?
…and finally, for some … WOW, what an amazing feeling!
Meditation is truly far easier than it perhaps looks. And the problem for beginners is thinking there’s a right way …and that “right” includes clearing the mind. We truly can’t clear our minds, and that is NOT the goal of meditation. The goals include: learning to focus on your breathing and learning to notice when you have QUIT focusing on breathing and are thinking …thinking random thoughts from your history or about your future …where you were 10 minutes ago or where you have to be in an hour …someone you love or someone you’ve been arguing with …in fact, almost anything at all is likely to pop up in your awareness as you breathe and focus on your breath and then realize you are NOT focusing on your breath. AT the moment you are aware you are thinking, you are experiencing the success of being aware of what’s going on …IN THAT amazing head of yours!
So the technique involves: sitting straight with spine straight and feet flat on the floor, and closing your eyes and breathing normally, counting your breath from 1 to 4 as you inhale and 1 to 4 as you exhale. Some people prefer a mantra (words to focus on that relax you) vs counting …so thinking “I am” on the in take of breath and “relaxed” on the release of breath is a good example. Periodically you can open your eyes to see how much time has gone by. A standard suggestion is to meditate for about 20 minutes. If that sounds too hard at first try 10. And even 5 will create, gradually, a stillness that you come to value. And as you continue, you will learn/realize you are just a little less stressed as a result of meditation! I suggest that when once a day fits your schedule that you try to meditate twice a day …I know! Sounds a bit too challenging …so just slipping that thought into the mix!
Hopefully my suggestions will motivate you to learn to meditate, and regardless of where you are, you’ll find great classes available …and if you want to learn on your own, try googling Headspace or recorded instructions from dozens of professionals. And if you want a simple, really easy “take” on the process, see Martin Boroson’s, ONE MINUTE MEDITATION.
I teach clients to meditate when/if they are interested so I can vouch for those who stick with it. It really truly does help with anxiety and restless mind and STRESS. If you try it regularly for a week, I think you’ll see some beginning benefits …and if you stick with it daily for 30 days, I’m guessing you will be hooked and want to make it a daily part of your self care.
If you have any questions, ask any professional you might know …certainly you can Contact Me. And for written instructions, check out my book on STRESS …YOUR PERSONAL STRESS ANALYSIS. I wish you much success in getting started …and for even more information, there are many other blogs on meditation and managing stress on my website. Take good care of yourself. You deserve to feel good!