I’ve had many clients over the years tell me, “I can’t meditate. My mind is too active, it just doesn’t work.” It is easy to get the impression that meditation is supposed to be peaceful- sitting calmly with no thoughts or struggles. Well, if that’s the case, I can’t meditate either! But I do anyway.
Meditation - any version of it - is a way of training the mind. Think of it as training a puppy (and my mind is at least as undisciplined as a puppy!). If you tell the puppy to sit, you don’t except that you will only have to say that once. The process of training involves repeating the instruction over and over and guiding the behavior repeatedly. And, at first, success can be measured in the puppy sitting still for a very short time. In fact, our minds are even less trainable than a puppy, because our thoughts are going to keep coming even after we’ve trained for a very long time - because that’s what the mind does. It thinks.
So once, you get the idea that it’s not a failure if you sit down to meditate and end up thinking about your obnoxious co-worker and their latest insult, or any other of a million distractions, you will begin to feel more settled with the process of simply returning to your focus to the breath after you find you’ve wandered away on a thought.
The breath is the focus for most meditation because it is the intersection between our conscious and unconscious self. You are able to consciously control your breath, but on the other hand, breathing happens whether you think about it or not - thank goodness! By bringing our attention the breath, it naturally slows and deepens. This creates a balance in our nervous system that we can feel benefits of right away.
I find that, for me, if I have spent 10-20 minutes quietly breathing earlier in the day, it is easier for me to recover my balance later on when things have gotten stressful. When I find myself reacting with tension, I can take a few breaths and touch back into that centered place I visited when I was meditating.
Want to try it? Or try again? I suggest getting the free mediation app, Insight Timer. You can time your meditation with a nice bell, or choose from many guided meditations led by wonderful teachers. Meditations are available on all sorts of topics, from dealing with pain, to getting better sleep, to letting go of emotional stress. And you’ll get a sense of the thousands of other people around the world that are seeking the benefits of training the mind with you.
Do you ever feel like getting an acupuncture treatment is like a meditation? I sometimes do. I leave feeling more centered, quiet inside, relaxed and insightful. Often I feel some of that after giving and acupuncture treatment (or Zero Balancing)!
So, I’ll meet you in meditation or in the treatment room. We can accept that it won’t always be peaceful and “thought-free” and know that we will feel better because we got there.