Which of these categories do you belong to?
- You’ve dismissed ‘meditation’ as not for you.
- There are moments when you think, ‘If only I could meditate.’
- You’ve learnt to meditate but you’re still resistant to doing it!
For all 3 of these situations, you’re thinking that to meditate means you have to ‘do’ something.
You may have bought books on the subject – possibly you’ve read them, or started to read them.
Meditation seems easy enough, and maybe you’ve done this – ‘tried’ it by yourself, thought you must be ‘doing’ it wrong, got frustrated, and then you’ve given up.
You’ve returned to keeping busy doing everything else we all ‘do’ in our lives.
Ask yourself: Are you a Human Being or a Human Doing?
We tend to keep busy in all areas of our lives; when we’re not working – evenings, weekends, holidays or any time off. We fill our hours with ‘doing’ more.
Nothing wrong with keeping busy, having hobbies and past-times. But what does it even feel like to sit and do absolutely nothing? To remain still and simply watch our own bodies as they breathe and think?
It’s common to believe that it’s ‘lazy’ to stop and do nothing. Yet this is ‘being’.
And this is meditation.
As humans we tend to define ourselves by our job title, relationship status, house we live in, car we drive, type of holiday destination.
We don’t believe that we can be ‘enough’ simply as we are. It’s as if we have to justify our existence.
We feel uneasy unless we’re striving for more, to be better, different, more successful than we currently are. And find ourselves lacking or superior. And we certainly don’t live up to the title of ‘human being’ when we’re really a busy, stressed ‘human doing’.
Meditation is about simply ‘being’. When you sit still to meditate it’s an act of courage, or being ‘courageously present’ as Brene Brown describes it.
It’s something most of us are not familiar with. We might even feel fearful of what we’ll discover.
Our response to stillness might be to get back up and keep busy because the mind reminds you of all you think you need to do. And the steady stream of thinking may frequently include negative thoughts about yourself too. So who wants to be sitting with that?
‘I fear silence because it leads me to myself, a self I may not wish to confront. It asks that I listen. And in listening, I am taken to an unknown place. Silence leaves me alone in a place of feeling. It is not necessarily a place of comfort.’
From ‘When Women were Birds’ by Terry Tempest Williams
When you learn to meditate you learn to accept, and even welcome, all these experiences.
Lots of people come and work with me to learn how to meditate or deepen their ability to meditate. But they still struggle to actually meditate in their daily lives.
Not because I’m no good at teaching (!) – but as humans, we still have this reluctance to sit and seemingly ‘do nothing’. We really believe there’s got to be more to it – more things we must do, tasks we must set ourselves, classes we must attend or something else we don’t yet know about.
The bottom line is – you have to make it a daily practice. Or you’ll never go deeper with it, benefit from it or really understand it.
It’s a daily practice of being yourself. Why the resistance? The brain loves its habitual mind patterns or ‘habits’. We feel safe with the familiar. So we keep de-faulting back to ‘busy’.
Are you brave enough to simply sit? And keep doing it every day for a few minutes?
What would it be like? What do you need to let go of? What will you discover? Are you willing to get to know yourself better?
Meditation – it’s simply a chance to ‘be’. Give it a go!
If you’d like some guidance to get you started, I work one-to-one with individuals or small groups, teaching you the skills to be in charge of your life.
If you like this post, let me know or pass it on to someone who might be interested.
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Develop your inner strength & calm at Place of Serenity, East Hants
You might also like to read: The Trouble with Mindfulness Practice