Does this sound familiar?
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve asked if a client has tried meditation and this is what I get:
Tried it (once). Can’t do it.
My mind is too busy to meditate.
I couldn’t shut my brain off. It doesn’t work for me.
On the surface these look like reasonable excuses.
Of course a calm mind would make it easier to meditate.
But isn’t that the whole point? Doesn’t meditation train your mind to be calm?
I remember my first experiences with meditation. I was young and carefree and not managing a million different things. My mind was quieter and I was not weighed down by time pressures. I have to admit, meditating was a whole lot easier back then.
Now, as an actual grown up, I go in and out of phases of meditating.
When I first start back, I sit, close my eyes, focus on my breath, remember how good it used to be when I could sit in that meditative state, how much better I dealt with life when I was doing it regularly and……. I suddenly need to eat something. And I need to hang the washing out before I can settle. And I think I might be out of baking soda (that I never use) and it should go on the shopping list before I forget. And I wonder if the cat has enough bickies and I should probably check now so he doesn’t disturb me while I’m ‘peacefully’ meditating.
It’s exhausting. My ‘peaceful’ meditation experience turns into a nightmare.
The temptation at this point is to get up and give up.
A big, fat FAIL.
However……this is the most normal thing in the world.
I’ve spent years meditating (on and off) and it still happens to me every time I start up after a break.
We are so bombarded by things trying to grab our attention. Social Media. Advertising. Netflix. Kids. Pets. Etc. Etc.
We’re trained to have no focus.
We have all the home admin tasks to remember and everything to do with work or family and friends.
Busy-ness is cool. And with that goes no time to relax and let our minds calm and settle.
Of course when we first sit to meditate we’re going to experience the effects of that.
But….the trick is to keep going.
Try starting with a minute.
Know that distraction and agitation are going to be there.
Work your way up to two, then three, then four minutes. Use the apps that guide you.
Know that at times it will feel aversive. You won’t want to do it. But do it anyway.
Know that restlessness is just part of the process.
Eventually you will find yourself able to keep your focus on your meditation. Your mind will be a much calmer place to be. You will deal with life more calmly. Your resilience will improve. You will experience more positive emotion. Not to mention the gazillion other positive benefits that mediation brings.
And when you sit down to try and you suddenly have to check for dust bunnies, remember that a tiny bit of perseverance and you will be well on your way to being able to meditate.