Some people just can’t meditate.
It’s not that they don’t like to meditate, but they find it hard to sit still and focus solely on the breath. I’ve met more than a few people who told me they get bored quickly during meditation, find it too monotonous and prefer not to indulge in the same routine each day.
I was faced with the same issue during the first few months of my meditation practice. I remember not being able to sit still for more than 15 minutes and at times, I’d lose all faith and cut the practice short.
With time and practice however, I learned a few tricks that helped me get over my impatience. Thanks to some great teachers I’ve been blessed with, I was able to pull through this difficult stage and sit for meditation without considering it to be boring or routine.
The following are seven tips that can make meditation easier and more fun for us, especially at the start:
1. Start slow.
One thing that makes meditation hard for some people is time. They feel like 20 or 30 minutes daily is too much—and I completely understand that.
However, there is no particular time we are supposed to meditate for. Meditation isn’t an obligation or homework that we must complete. One should meditate for as long as he can. Some can sit for an hour while others can sit for 10 minutes. The time doesn’t matter; what really matters is the fruition of our meditation.
As a beginner, it is advised to start slowly and for short periods of time. If we feel bored or tired, we can simply stop and begin again the next day.
2. Write down your improvements.
This was one of the best tips that helped me move forward with my practice. I dedicated a small book solely for meditation. After each practice, I’d take note of my experience, and with time, I realized that I’d come a long way and meditation was actually benefiting me.
This tip is particularly beneficial as watching our improvements can give us a push to proceed. Once we discern the positive changes that meditation is bringing about, we will want to start adding more time to our practice.
3. Use music and sounds.
Okay, let me be clear here. I don’t mean we should meditate to some heavy metal or pop songs. Get some soft, meditative, instrumental music (there’s plenty on the internet) and play it on a low volume.
I used this technique in my meditation classes last year and it was of great help for everyone. Meditating with music for the first period of time can prepare us for meditating in complete silence in the future.
We can follow the sounds we are listening to and breathe along with them. Bit by bit, lower the volume until music is no longer needed in our practice.
4. Make the mood tempting.
Making a place tempting to meditate in can be exciting for some people. Wherever you choose to meditate, clean it well, burn some incense, dim the lights and get a colorful, comfy pillow to sit on.
The environment in which we meditate plays a huge role in our practice. Sometimes our meditation doesn’t succeed, because the place we are in is low on energy (which in return affects ours).
Therefore, create your own spiritual mood and a personal place as a start.
5. Change places.
We don’t have to keep meditating in the same place. As a beginner, we can try different places and different environments. We can head to the beach or meditate during sunset or sunrise. We can head to the woods and sit below a nice, big tree. We can find any good spot outside and meditate in it.
This change in location can help beginners with breaking their routine and keeping them from getting bored—it personally helped me as well.
6. Try different exercises.
There are plenty of exercises that we can try during our practice that can change our perspective on meditation for the better. We can try walking meditation or Metta meditation. We can recite mantras while breathing, meditate on a Tibetan singing bowl or add some Tai Chi moves to our practice.
Trying different kinds of meditation acts as a bridge that can help us reach the level of meditation that we fear practicing in the future.
7. Replace “I can’t” with “I can.”
I’m a firm believer that most of the time our minds dictate what we can and can’t do. When we say we can’t do a particular thing, we stick to the impossibility of achieving it and hence, draw in more negative energy every time we try to succeed.
Words hold a certain energy at their core. How about saying that we actually can? Overtime, we will convince our minds that we are capable of meditating. We have power over our minds to flip the idea of not being able to meditate.
To this day, I still start my meditation by saying, “My meditation will be successful and fruitful. It will benefit me and others. I am capable of doing it.”
A successful meditation is never hard to achieve when approached with the right techniques. We have to be patient, willing and fully believe that it will lead us to a better place.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Image: Mitya Ku/Flickr