Meditation is like an art, there is no perfect answer and people need different things. I think it has this stigma as being a ‘perfect practice’ as every picture you see is of very poised people, in beautiful clothing, sitting still and calm. Every time I see one I think that could NEVER be me. And then I learned meditation takes many different shapes, forms, and sizes.
After spending some time in practice and finding out what works for me, it has proven to be much different than those photos. I don’t have a typical protocol, and often I mix it up to respond to what my body needs when it needs it. I meditate in my sweats. Lying down. Walking. Groggy and tired. I do it whenever and however I can do it. So put away the excuses below, because you too can find a way to make it work.
Top Ten Excuses for Why You Can’t Meditate… Banished!:
- Can’t sit still. Try lying down to meditate, or practice in a group. You also might want to try meditating on your breathing, and moving your lungs / chest / stomach up and down with each breath to satisfy the need to have something move. You can also do walking meditations!
- Don’t have time. This is the most ironic part about meditation. We do nothing at all, so it seems like we are wasting time. I challenge you to take a week and do meditation, and see if it affects the quantity and quality of what you accomplish in a day, for the better!
- Keep wondering when the time is up. Set an alarm clock so you don’t have to worry about it. Do it when you know a local church bell rings.
- Kids, husband, phone interrupt. This can be different for everyone, but imagine a very important person is going to call and you want privacy. How would you get this? Go to a park? Get up a little earlier to take it? Put a sign on your door that says Do Not Enter? Go in the bathroom where no one is interrupted? Also make sure to turn the phone off. This is your health!
- Too sick. That is the beauty of meditation, it can be done from bed, when you are depressed, or going through cancer treatments. It can actually help with your recovery, and you don’t have to move to do it.
- Mind won’t slow down. This is probably the perfect reason why you should do meditation. So what if it starts at warp speed? Focus on your mindfulness. While some may watch thoughts mosey on by, you may be seeing yours on an expressway at warp speed. Just be present and watch them go speeding by. In time, with practice, you may be able to see that you can go under the speed limit, that it just took some practice.
- Have already tried, not for me. I hear this so often. Do you really know the health benefits? Have you explored what is standing in your way? Did you try a number of times? Did you expect perfection? We expect to be able to be sitting Buddhas on our first attempt, but it doesn’t work that way. If you can work up to five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes you are going to experience significant changes in your life, so maybe try again?
- It is too complicated. Well, now it isn’t. If you read my blogs on meditation in focus, you will find all the resources you need to start doing it in about 5 minutes. Again, we don’t have to all be experts.
- It is too expensive. You may like to ‘accessorize’ your different sports and activities, but thankfully with meditation you do not need anything at all. Getting a meditation pillow is great, but any pillow will do if you are sitting on the floor. You don’t need to create an altar with candles and bells. Remember, with meditation, less is more.
- Too scared. Totally normal, and I am not sure why. Fear of failure? All of the pictures we see of meditation show perfection – yet that is so far from a lot of the practices I have experienced. People itch, make noises, twitch. I would suggest doing your first meditation on experiencing that fear in your body, move through your body, and just feel it. Don’t control anything. Sit with your feelings and understand that they pass through and that while your body may spasm or make some funny noises, it calms down.
- Bonus excuse – too fidgety! This is so very true with me. And I have arthritis. But you know what? Your body sinks into the rhythm. It is amazing the first time you really experience it. You actually CAN have a fly land on you and jump off, without you having to move to get it off. I think that was actually a breakthrough for me in meditation. Actually experiencing a fly walk around my leg, and enjoying it! The little feet sensations, dancing, total lack of control yet I didn’t die or freak out. Something so simple, yet so profound, it was beautiful.
I love it now when an itch comes and I feel I just HAVE to itch or I will totally die. Well, sometimes I must say I itch it. But what an amazing perspective to have when you can experience the sensations move and change on your skin, and then slowly fade away. Knowing that you were able to overcome something you may not normally is so very empowering. And it helps carry over into all areas of your life. When I feel overwhelming emotions, the ADHD impulsive reaction, I pretend it is that very fly. I let it move through me, without reacting, and can say it has made a profound difference in my life.
One of the coolest things about meditation is you learn so much about yourself, and start experiencing yourself and the world in such a different way. You learn where feelings show up in your body, how to steady your mind during conflict, and how to let go. The impulsivity starts to subside as you are able to grab your center and hang on, focusing on the here and now.
Any other excuses / challenges I missed? Additional tips? Thanks for sharing!