Most of us have heard the growing list of benefits that a meditation practice can bring us. But somehow, trying to fit a meditation practice in our lives seems too hard or too much of a commitment. Here are some of the most common reasons that people raise when they say they would like to start meditating, but have been able to yet.
Most of these come from a pre-conceived idea of meditation. The constant barrage of images of people looking chilled and beautiful on the beach/in the ashram/ in a pretzel shape / chanting Om doesn’t help. There does not have to be silence, or a ‘perfect’ environment with incense and Tibetan bowls.
- I don’t have time – This is the most common reason, hands down. Fortunately, you don’t need to meditate for hours upon hours to be meditating. I always say that something is better than nothing. Do you have five minutes to yourself on the commute home? Or what about a walking meditation, while you are on your way somewhere?
- Believing you cannot meditate – Everyone can meditate. All you need to meditate is the intention to meditate. That is, the intention to look inwards. Meditation is like everything else, you learn how to walk before you can run. But from the very first try, you will be meditating.
- Believing you need to ‘stop thinking’ – Another huge misconception. No one can stop thinking. The skill of meditation really lies in being able to know your thoughts, not banish them
- Believing you have to meditate every day – No, you don’t. In fact, being rigid about your practice can actually do more harm than good. Ideally, you should meditate regularly, but it shouldn’t something you stress about
- It will take years of practice – there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that there are real and lasting benefits of meditation after just a few weeks. Most people feel a different sort of energy from when they started after the meditation session. Usually, but not always, people feel calmer and sharper even after 5 minutes.
- I can’t ‘sit like a pretzel’ – We have social media to thank for this one. I do not know ANYONE who can sit comfortably like that. I am sure they exist, but I don’t know any. I say that all you need to do it sit for meditation is to sit so that you feel comfortable, yet alert. That is different for everybody. It perfectly fine to sit on a regular chair or on the edge of your bed, with your feet flat on your lap and your hands comfortably on your knees, thighs or resting in your lap.
- Scepticism – People are embarrassed to approach meditation because they feel like it’s people in robes sitting in a cave having a supernatural experience. Most of us are sitting somewhere quietly where we can try and hit the reset button for a few moments in our busy lives.