I thought I couldn’t do it. Meditating. Every time I sat down with the intention to not think anything, all these thoughts would float around in my mind. Like what I was going to do after this, what I should make for dinner and a thousand other things on my to do list.
Little did I know I was trying to meditate so hard I wasn’t doing it at all.
Then I met friend and hardcore meditation activist R who had a whole other perspective. She taught me that meditation was not about having no thoughts but to take a step back. It was a relief to hear that Meditation is not having no thoughts. That would mean you’re dead. I now understand it is about clarification, creating perspective and letting your mind wander. This realization made me hopeful. I could become good at this meditation thing after all. My concentration span is close to non-existent so my mind wanders all the time. I gave it another try and I’ve been hooked ever since.
The (scientifically proven) benefits of meditation are well-known. It is proven to lessen anxiety, increase memory and improve your immune system. So why isn’t everyone doing it?
I believe one reason is the very same misconception I had which I hope to have resolved by now.
Another reason is the floaty, yogi association a lot of people have with mediation. They judge before trying it. If the word meditation puts you off so much maybe replace it with mindfulness. The practice of meditation for the everyday man just means shifting focus, not being Enlighted.
The third reason I believe people do not meditate is an obvious one: time. We don’t take (enough) time for breaks while the fact is, we need them. All parts of us do. Our bodies will protest and get tired and achy if we have pushed too hard, but our minds will too. Anxiety, stress and insomnia are just a couple of the well-known symptoms of over exhaustion and burnouts.
I hope by now I have convinced you to give meditation (another) try, but before you do I want to share the most important meditation lesson I have learned so far which is this: The moment you want to get up and run out of the door is when your meditation practice truly begins. It simply means you are not acting on your thoughts directly, but letting them float around a bit first. You are creating space between your thoughts and your actions.
In the end it doesn’t matter how you rest your mind, as long as you do let it rest. That could be by sleeping, going for walks or listening to music. Meditation is just my favorite tool at the moment, it is a method to the madness.
Eva van der Graaf. Born in The Netherlands. Raised in Africa. MSc Animal Science. Freelance Writer and Translator. Owner of WritingBy. Hippie at Heart.