As I have probably said countless times, meditation has changed my life for the better. And I plan to continue my practice of meditation until the day I die. One thing I am mindfully careful of, however, is trying to convince others to meditate and to pick up this practice. Remember, it took a cancer diagnosis to convince me to meditate, so I would not want to harp someone for not meditating, because their situation is, most likely, much different than mine – and I do not mean better or worse.
However, anytime I do bring up my practice of meditation, it is almost automatic that I receive a response that sounds something similar to this: “I cannot meditate. I simply can’t sit there and not think for a set period of time. My mind is too crazy and I have too much going in my life. I do not have the time to meditate.” If I hear any sort of version of this response, I wish to explain to them that none of those reasons are legitimate in not attempting to meditate. Please allow this blog post to serve as the explanation as to why each of these responses are invalid.
“I can’t sit and not think.”
This is Meditation 101 at its finest. When you sit to meditate, it is simply impossible to “not think.” The goal of meditation is not to learn how to stop thinking. The goal is to breathe in, and breathe out. During this workout, if your mind begins to wander, simply become aware of that and come back to your breath. THAT IS MEDITATION. Sounds simple, right? WRONG. The fact that those are the basics of meditation means that is it unbelievably difficult to focus on the breath for the entirety of your practice. I am in my fifth year of meditation and I am not even close to keeping my breath in my head the entire time.
“I have too much going on in my life.”
You are going to sit there and try to convince me, of all people, that you have too much going on in your life? Seriously? Let’s move on please.
“I do not have the time to meditate.”
I have two sides to this. On the first side, I believe that this sentence is a poor excuse because you are able to breathe in and breathe out for at least one minute every day. Convince me otherwise, I dare you. Instead of staring at your phone before bed or right as you wake up, lay there and meditate for ONE MINUTE. No? During work, at some point during the day, you go to the bathroom, correct? Breathe in and out for ONE MINUTE. Walking down the stairs? ONE MINUTE.
Now, this moves me to the second side of this coin. Personally, I believe one minute of meditation has its benefits hit the ceiling at a quick pace. Sure, when you first begin your practice of meditation, one to five minutes is a great starting point. However, I believe getting into ten minutes, eventually to half an hour, or so, is where the true brain sweat begins to strengthen that mental health of yours. Also, our American culture has come up with forms of meditation including walking/running meditation, meditation while cooking, meditation while the commercials run during your show, etc. In my opinion, this is not as effective as simply sitting and breathing.
Slow your life down, even if it is only a slight difference. There is an app called Insight Timer that gives thousands of meditations for free, so use that iPhone of yours for something other than looking at Instagram for so long, that you realize you somehow went from checking out your friend’s latest post all the way to a monkey teaching a hippo how to perform Algebra.
You can’t meditate? Tell me…what’s your excuse?