by Ed and Deb Shapiro: What is it about something as simple as sitting still and watching our breath that evokes panic or even fear?
No matter how much information there is proving the mental, emotional and physical value of meditation, there seems to be as many people who resist giving it a try.
No doubt meditation can be challenging, it can seem very odd to just sit there listening to the incessant chatter in your head. Without entertainment we easily get bored.
So after years of hearing a plethora of reasons why people find it hard to meditate, we’ve whittled it down to just a few.
- I’m too busy, I don’t have the time. Which can certainly be true if you have young children or a full-time job. However, we are only talking about five minutes a day. It only appears like we don’t have time because we fill every minute with activities without ever pressing the pause button.
- I find it really uncomfortable to sit still for too long. If you are trying to sit cross-legged on the floor then, yes, it can get uncomfortable. But try sitting upright in a chair instead. Or do moving meditation like walking, yoga or tai chi.
- My mind can’t stop thinking. Just as you want your mind to be quiet you find all this noisy chatter going on. This chatter is always there but you’re usually unaware of it. Now you are. Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts, but becoming aware of them.
- There are too many distractions. Gone are the days when you could disappear into a cave and remerge later, fully enlightened. But—and it’s a big but—you needn’t let distractions impose. Cars going by outside? Fine. Let them go by, just don’t go with them. The quiet you are looking for is inside, not outside.
- I don’t see the benefit. Unfortunately, you’ll have to take our word for it. Some people see the benefits of meditation after just one session, but most of us need longer. You might not see a difference until after a week or more of daily practice. Which means you have to trust us enough to hang in there and keep going.
- I’m no good at this; I never get it right. Actually, it’s impossible to get it wrong, as there are as many forms of meditation as there are people who practice it, so all you need do is find what works for you. Make friends with meditation, it’s to be enjoyed!
- It’s all just weird New Age hype. Meditation is as old as the hills. Each religion has its own variation on the theme, all going back over centuries, way before new age ideas began. So nothing new here, and nothing weird or whacky.
Extracted from The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation.
Ed & Deb are the authors of newly released: The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation and The Art of Mindful Relaxation. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have six meditation CDs.