This is a sentiment which I’m sure everyone that has tried meditation can relate to. Sometimes you just don’t want to do it. There are days when I resist the idea of meditation in a big way and oftentimes I don’t. Even though those days are more chaotic and stressful, I still can’t muster up the willpower to take a couple minutes out the next time I don’t feel like it.
This post isn’t about why you should meditate anyway or force yourself to do it. It’s about acknowledging that this isn’t easy. The very word “practice” means that we always have room to grow. It’s about forgiving yourself for missing the mark and acknowledging that we aren’t going to get this perfect. I’ll share a couple techniques that can help when you would rather do literally anything else.
Hardest Part of Meditation: Starting
The hardest part of each meditation session for me is definitely the beginning. To stop whatever I’m currently doing, whether checking social media, watching TV or going for a walk just for a minute to sit down and practice a breathing exercise. One trick I have used is to just set the timer for one minute. To tell myself that for just sixty seconds I will concentrate on my breathing. Often times, once I’m seated and started, I decide to sit for longer than a minute. Almost every time I immediately feel better and choose to continue. Other times I just do the minute and get back up to continue what I was doing before. The point is I still get benefits from even just one minute of meditation. When I resume the activity I have a perspective change, just enough to experience a new aspect that I haven’t noticed before. Much like the two-minute challenge, starting with a short time commitment will increase the likelihood of doing so.
Easing the transition to meditation
Some days I wake up and attempt to begin meditation and find that it is very difficult because I’m hungry or because it’s beautiful outside and all I can think about is being out in the sun. That is fine. For me, it’s been far more effective to take care of these needs and to come back later. Trying to focus on breathing when your stomach is rumbling or even if your mind is running through all the things you plan to say to a colleague later in the day is difficult.
During these times, I stop and eat. I fuel my body to give me the energy and ability to get back to the session. This doesn’t mean take an hour to make a killer breakfast. It means to have a quick snack, which will take your mind off of thinking about food. For many people, meditating through hunger or anger helps build and maintain mental strength – “mind over body”. I respect these values and believe in them, but if you’re not in that place, I wouldn’t recommend forcing yourself to do so.
Dealing with an Over-cluttered Mind
If a busy mind is an issue (and let’s face it, it is for most of us); then I recommend putting pen to paper. Taking five minutes to list the to-do items running through your mind or to outline a situation that brings anger or fear, is a very powerful tool. Our minds are designed to keep replaying these thoughts so that we don’t lose them or forget them later. Journaling is an effective tool for releasing our minds from the mental loop of continuing to “dust off” thoughts and make sure they front of mind. Also, when we are in mediation, thoughts or memories may come to the surface which we can’t let go of, I recommend keeping a journal for these thoughts.
As always, I hope this was helpful. Of course, I can only speak to my experience and will only share ideas and concepts that I have found to be true in my own life. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I will continue to share more in the future.