So often I talk to my clients or persons I know about meditation and they say, "I can't do that." When I ask why, they say things like, "I don't have time," or "I can't focus for that long," or "my mind can never calm down well enough to do it." It is such an elusive thing for so many, and I want to take a minute to shatter the illusion and break it down in a simple way.
#1: Meditation is NOT about your mind being completely still the entire time!
People think that they cannot meditate because their mind is too busy to magically sit in silence for minutes or hours at a time. Here's the secret friends--nobody's mind can do it perfectly! Between our ego and our monkey mind it is human nature to have plenty of content and stories swirling around up there at any given moment, and meditation is not about permanently silencing that. It is about sitting with your thoughts, acknowledging them when they arrive, and allowing them to gently pass on. The image I always visualize is a tumbleweed blowing through an empty desert; we're not going to pretend the tumbleweed isn't there, we're simply going to say "hey tumbleweed, nice to see ya," and give it the opportunity to keep moving (as it naturally will) and refocus on the beauty of the naked desert. We are not silencing, pausing, or shutting anything down. Meditation is about being totally present to a point (with practice and time) of ascending to new mental and spiritual levels, and how can we possibly do that if we're trying to control our thoughts the whole time?
#2: The myth "I don't have time for meditation" that we tell ourselves is FALSE.
We all tell ourselves that we don't have time for so many things--exercise, healthy eating habits, downtime for ourselves, etc., and meditation is no exception. I think that this is part of the myth that to meditate you have to dedicate three hours of your life a day and be some sort of spiritual master who can also levitate while doing these sorts of practices. But the truth is, you can meditate ANYWHERE. ANYTIME. And there is no right time frame. Sure, meditating at least twenty minutes a day is certainly good for the mind, body, and soul, but sometimes you don't have twenty minutes. Sometimes you have the two minutes when you are sitting in the parking lot of your kid's school waiting for them to get out of school and get in the car to go to soccer practice. And that's ok. Simply put your phone away, close your eyes, and allow your breath to flow with ease and natural rhythm. You may not be in the "deeply meditative state" that you'd like to be in, but you're calming your nervous system down a bit and are taking a moment to sit in peace with yourself before life starts moving again. And I can guarantee you that giving yourself these little moments throughout the day will make you a better wife, better mother, better boyfriend, better employee, or whatever you are in your life. You will feel more centered, less reactive, and more likely to have an increase of gratitude and positivity in your day. And that's only by giving yourself a few minutes at a time.
#3: Meditation does more than you might think.
We know that meditation is supposed to be calming for the mind, but studies are showing that a regular meditation practice can actually change the structure of the brain. That's right, meditation can increase the cortical thickness in the hippocampus (the area of the brain that governs memory and learning), increase dopamine production, orient you in time and space, and even increase your IQ. The research doesn't lie, and the more you practice meditation, the more your entire system benefits and evolves.
I can say from personal experience that meditation is empowering and life changing--and is absolutely worth a try if you've been looking for a natural healing technique to add to your routine. The time is now--don't think about it, just do it! You'll be glad you did.