You know meditation is good for you, and you really want to meditate. But it just hasn't worked for you. If meditation is meant to be sitting still, focusing on your breath, and finding inner peace, that's eluded you, hasn't it? Well today I have the solution to your meditation difficulties! I'm covering how to meditation for people who can't meditate! There's no mention of sitting and focusing on the breath. You'll see that meditation isn't hard and doesn't need to be difficult. Anyone can start meditating, and I've got four simple ways you can meditate.
Many people want to be able to meditate, they simply have this belief system that they can't do it or that it's too hard. I'm going to give you 4 ideas for how to meditate in a way that does not involve sitting quietly on a mat or on a cushion and just breathing. We're going to talk about other things you can do that are meditative in nature. Think you can't meditate? Think again!
What is the main purpose of meditation?
Perhaps you're wondering, why would I want to meditate? Or what exactly is meditation?
Most people that I talk to think that meditation means that you need to quiet your mind, that to meditate you need to sit quietly for hours on end, and have no thoughts going through your mind.
This is not what meditation is about. Hopefully, that will give you some encouragement!
The mind continuously has thoughts and impressions and information that are coming from within our body and from the world around us. The main purpose of meditation is not to get rid of those thoughts, and those feelings and those images, whatever it is, that's coming up. It's not to get rid of those things.
Meditation is about being present and aware, not about quieting your mind.
The main purpose of meditation is simply to learn to be present. Meditation teaches you to put your awareness and your concentration on the things that you want it to focus on. And ultimately, to focus on positive things in the world and in your life that you want.
Very often, we're just reacting to things that happen. You also probably are very familiar with the roller coaster of emotions that you may go through on a day to day basis. And sometimes it seems like that happens even minute to minute.
The idea with having a regular meditation practice is that those roller coaster moments don't throw you off course or off track for your entire day or even for days or weeks on end. Instead, when you deal with a challenging situation, or another individual who might be angry or negative, you can remain present for that experience. Then you can choose to remain calm and peaceful.
We tend to believe that our happiness comes from outside of us. How often have you thought that if you just had the perfect relationship, or the perfectly clean house, or a different job, or if your body looked the way you wanted, that then you would finally be happy?
We tend put our expectations and our beliefs on each of those other things outside of us. Of course, our perceptions are only ours, they are not shared by others. When these things don't turn out the way we want, the way we think they should be, then we get this roller coaster, and we feel disappointed or we feel rejected, or some other emotional experience that is not satisfying or peaceful.
Ultimately, what meditation does, is it teaches us that that peace, and that happiness that we are seeking comes from within us, and with our ability to control and direct our mind, our thoughts and our feelings.
If you want happiness, if you want the perfect relationship, deeper connections with others, then meditation is something that can serve you very well. But you do not have to just sit on a mat and meditate. Meditation for people who can't meditate can actually be fun!Let's talk about 4 things that you can do to cultivate that state of meditation, without sitting cross legged on your mat or your cushion and focusing on your breath. (That is, of course one of the best basic meditative practices you can do when you are ready.)
#1: Meditation through yoga
If you want to meditate but can't sit still, try a flowing yoga practice. Vinyasa yoga is a style of yoga where you are constantly moving from one posture to another and doing that movement along with your breath. So you are focusing your attention on your breath and on your body.
This is a fantastic way to start being meditative. Vinyasa yoga is wonderful to help you start changing your awareness and having an awareness of your thoughts and your body and what's going on within you and around you.
This is actually how I started meditation. I felt like you probably do. I thought, "I can't sit on a mat and just breathe." So I started by finding a yoga class and practicing sun salutations and other types of flowing yoga.
The whole idea here is that you keep your awareness on the breath, as you are going through your yoga class. And then, after you have maybe some good practice with just cultivating that awareness, then you start being aware without having any judgment towards your thoughts. This is how you want to work with your meditation.
Regardless of the type of practice that you do, we tend to be very judgmental about what comes up in our mind and what we see in the world. Therefore, the idea with any meditation practice is simply to allow what arises to arise and to be curious about it, to wonder why it's there, where it comes from, or how perhaps you can transform it.
Most importantly of all, to have the realization that anything that arises is temporary, and will pass.
All of your thoughts, all of your feelings, they come and go just like the waves, and so nothing is going to be there permanently with you, even though sometimes it feels like it. So the first meditative practice for people who cannot meditate is to do a flowing yoga practice of vinyasa yoga. Here's a short, simple practice to get you started.
#2: Meditation through tai chi and qi gong
The second thing you can do if you want to meditate but can't sit still is to practice Tai Chi or Qi Gong. These are similar in that you'll get the movement, breath and awareness to develop.
Although both tai chi and qi gong are types of martial arts, they're quite useful as moving meditations. You don't have to engage in any fighting, and can do them on your own.
Tai Chi, especially if you follow a particular form or a style, will take you through a set number of poses and postures, again, aligned with your breathing.
Qi gong is slightly different. Instead of a set form, there are various exercises/poses that are done in a certain order to get a specific result.
With tai chi and qi gong, your attention and your awareness is on your breath and on what your body is doing as you're going through the form. It's the same idea as the vinyasa yoga practice. If you aren't into yoga, try some tai chi, or qi gong.
#3: Meditation through walking
The third thing you can do if you want to meditate to go from walk. You say "Jen, I already walk, how is that meditation?" Well, you make it into a meditative practice by counting your steps! Count them to 5 or 10. And then simply start over again. Just keep counting every time you take a step.
This keeps you focused, present, and in the moment, and helps you keep your attention on your body and what you're doing instead of allowing your mind to wander all over the place, which is its natural pattern.
Any of these things are going to take time, and they're going to take practice. Be gentle with yourself as you go about this. The idea is not that you get rid of the scattering of the thoughts. The idea is that when those scattering thoughts happen, you allow yourself to come back to whatever it is that you want your attention to be on.
As you walk, count, 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, and so on. Keep your attention on your counting and your body as you walk. When you get to 10, just start over again.
#4: Meditation through prayer
The fourth thing that you can do if you want to meditate but can't sit and focus on the breath is to pray. Pray by pondering or thinking about something you have read in the scriptures or a good book. Some people that I know are incredibly good at spending their time just having a conversation with God. This is a wonderful form of prayer.
It is also a form of meditation, because you have to stay present and focused in this conversation. So this is a type of meditation, where you just have a conversation with Heavenly Father, with God, with infinite intelligence, whatever you want to call that sense of being in the universe.
Or, after reading something, you can read some scriptures, or read something else that you find uplifting and motivating, and then just spend a few minutes thinking about what this might mean, what else you can learn from it, what message might be contained in the passage that you just read. This is also a form of meditation, it requires you to be present, to have your awareness on what is happening right in front of you right at the moment.
So now you have four different options of things that you can do, that do not require you to sit quietly and peacefully on a mat for 30 minutes and just focus on your breath. I strongly encourage you to try any one of these things, not just for one day. But like any other habit that you want to try if you want to see how it works for you. Try it for at least a few weeks, and see what differences you notice in your life, in your mind and in your ability to be present. This is something that does not need to be frustrating. Realize that your mind is used to going all over the place. And that is natural, completely natural process. And it's going to take time to train your mind to be present and focused on the things you want. But the benefits that you will reap from this practice are immeasurable.
A few obstacles to meditation
Now you have four different options of things that you can do, that do not require you to sit quietly and peacefully on a mat for 30 minutes and just focus on your breath!
I strongly encourage you to try any one of these things, not just for one day. Like any other habit, do it for at least a few weeks, and see what differences you notice in your life, in your mind and in your ability to be present. This is something that does not need to be frustrating.
Realize that your mind is used to going all over the place. That is natural, it's a completely natural process. It's going to take time to train your mind to be present and focused on the things you want. But the benefits that you will reap from this practice are immeasurable.
Focus on the positive aspects each time you practice. Notice that you did it! Notice that you showed up, that you focused on your breath and movement as best as you could, and congratulate yourself. Each time will be different. Instead of expecting miracles, expect to just show up every day and notice and observe what comes up and what the experience is like.
Even after years of meditating, I still have times where I can barely stand to sit still for a set period of time. Some days feel incredible, and other days I just want to fall asleep. That's not the point. The point is to keep at it, on easy days and hard days, and you will reap the rewards over time.