When I talk with people about meditation, I hear the same misconceptions all the time.
- I can’t meditate because I can’t stop thinking.
- I don’t have time to meditate.
- I’m not into the guru thing; I’m very religious.
There are a lot of ways to meditate. I think for beginners it is best is to start with counting your breath. It is also important to understand what basic meditation is and isn’t.
I can’t stop thinking
The goal of meditation is not to stop your mind from thinking but to sit peacefully being in the Now not thinking of the past or future. We have a beautiful and intelligent mind so there is no need to try and not think. The challenge is being able to control what we think about. If you think you can, then try a little test. Put a timer on for two minutes and think only about your breath moving in and out of your nose. If you don’t regularly meditate, then I’m guessing that you won’t be able to think just about this one thing for two minutes.
I don’t have time to meditate
As in anything in your life you need to prioritize what is important if you want to get it done. I find that carving out a few minutes in the morning to mediate saves a lot of time during the day because I am then able to concentrate better and get more done. One of my favorite places to meditate is in my car. I have picked out a few places near work and my daughter’s school where I can grab 10 or 20 minutes of meditation without feeling rushed or watched. I do have to say that at first I was self conscious about sitting in my car with my eyes closed wondering what people might think if they saw me, but then I realised that people often sleep in their cars. It is worth it to me to meditate rather than worrying about what other people might think. We thrive on routine so it’s important to establish a routine and include meditation in that routine.
I’m not into the guru thing
Meditation doesn’t have to be a spiritual thing or guru thing or anti-religious. In its first stages it’s all about learning to focus. When you work out, the goal is to get into shape by increasing your muscle mass. This is done by repetitive motion and increasing the weight or distance each month to build muscles. You apply the same principle to learning how to meditate. As you meditate, your mind will naturally start thinking about your past experiences and/or what you’re going to do in the future. As this happens, you gently remind yourself that you are meditating and you go back to counting your breaths so that your mind is doing only one thing and doing it in the Now. You start for 2 minutes a day and keep increasing until you get to 20 minutes a day. You will increase your ability to stay focused at your task at hand.
By Matt Geise