In the beginning
You’re starting to meditate. So you’re sitting still and you begin.
How hard can it be?
But everyone knows how to sit still and do nothing, right?
Yet this doesn’t naturally happen in life often!
You intend to meditate, but find yourself doing ‘just this’ or occupied with ‘just that’. Before you know it, the whole day has flown by and you didn’t find those 10 minutes you promised yourself.
Hmmmm – even getting started can be tough!
What’s drawing you to meditation?
To start with, you have to know that it’s something you want to do.
You’ve heard of all the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. You feel ready to try it. Your life has got to the point where you need to make a change.
What happens next?
When you first start to meditate, you may well find that it’s more challenging than you could have imagined!
As you’re sitting still, your mind feels like it’s getting busier. You feel the urge to jump up and get on and do one of the many things you know are still waiting for you to do.
If you haven’t moved your mobile phone out of the room or silenced it, you might be distracted by it when a text or email pings through. You feel compelled to check it!
You might start feeling bored or impatient, and decide that this is the longest 10 minutes of your life.
This is all normal!
The reason it can be so tough to sit still and focus on simply one thing like your breath, is because you are SO used to distractions and being busy. Not just physically busy but mentally busy.
You realise that you have been spending your life on a treadmill of movement and mental chatter. You might ask yourself, have I ever stopped still to observe all of this?
Possibly not! Your daily habits reveal how your brain has formed a thousand neurological pathways that play out again and again. Many of these habits occur with you on autopilot.
THIS is why meditation can be a challenge
When you sit still to meditate, you are learning to step off the treadmill and watch it all flow past you.
You can observe how busy your mind is with its thinking and how exhausted your body feels.
‘You are more than you think! … Look within, and at the centre of your mind, in the depths of your soul, you will find your true Self.’
~ Roger Walsh
How often do you stop to look within yourself? To allow yourself to feel?
Start a meditation practice of 10 minutes daily.
With meditation you allow yourself to experience, observe and acknowledge whatever arises. It’s like standing at the edge of the pavement watching traffic drive past – cars, buses and lorries.
Notice when you’ve hopped on a bus and got carried along the high street. That’s when your mind has got distracted and caught up in one of your thoughts/stories/daydreams.
Step off. Stand back and observe again!
Or you might imagine you’re sitting by a stream and watching the current flow past. Just like your ‘stream’ of thoughts. Watch them rush on and allow them to pass without diving in too!
When you regularly sit and meditate, you’ll learn how to become more in charge of where your focus and your concentration goes. The most challenging part is scheduling the time to do your meditation.
With practice you’ll become more alert and aware of your challenging thoughts. You can befriend them, knowing that an emotion is not you.
You’re not the anger, fear or regret you observe. These are all passing emotions.
Meditate with other people
Read here about The Power of Group Meditation and look up courses in your area so that you can introduce the habit of meditation into your life with the support and friendship of others. Or make a decision to work with a teacher on a one-to-one basis.
Meditation is a habit you won’t regret! And it won’t be long before you can easily sit still for 10 minutes!
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide
This updated blog post was first published in June 2015