If you’re anything like me, you have a lot going on.
Things to do, distractions, hopes and dreams to contemplate.
But you also know that meditation can be very good for you.
It can help calm your nerves if that is what you need, gain clarity of mind, inspiration, connect with your own intuition, or just simply feel better and more present.
The thing is, we don’t usually comprehend how busy our thoughts are and how active our minds are until we sit down and try to be quiet.
Our minds are still racing and have a totally different agenda!
So what usually happens?
We sit down, intend to quiet our minds, and it doesn’t happen.
And then we stop.
Totally understandable. I’ve done it countless times myself.
But is there a secret to getting over that hump, besides sheer willpower?
Of course there is!
Similar to my Five Minute Rule (read about that here) which helps eliminate procrastination and accomplish more, breaking things down into small, manageable segments can help you overcome the intimidation of a task that you know will be difficult.
In the case of meditation, (which can be much simpler than it is often made out to be) breaking things down can help you become a master of those early stages where you want to quiet things down, but your mind is still off to the races.
Here is what I recommend.
First, pick a simple form of meditation.
No need for “om’s” or unusual seating positions. No need for essential oils, ethereal music, or frequencies.
Focus on your breath.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Close your eyes and focus on your abdomen rising and falling.
Or, what works for me is thinking about the air going into and out of my nostrils. Just imagine a stream of air going in when you inhale and another stream going out when you exhale.
This helps me do two things.
First is it diverts my attention from my busy thoughts. Before I know it, my attention is elsewhere and my mind is no longer racing.
Secondly, focusing on these breaths tends to cause my breathing to slow down a bit and become more relaxed.
After you have selected a simple form of meditation like the one I just described, it’s time to employ the really easy part.
Set a time limit of one minute.
Just a minute.
Is that typically enough for a good meditation session?
Not so much.
So why just one minute?
Because the goal here to get into the practice. You are trying to break through those early stages where there are obstacles that can frustrate you or sap your motivation.
If you tell yourself you must meditate for 10, 15, or 30 minutes, and you know you struggle getting over the hump to quiet your mind, you are putting together a recipe for massive demotivation. The chances of you finding something else to do with your time go sky high.
If you begin by practicing just the first minute, however, you start to become proficient at the part that gives you the most trouble.
And then a funny thing usually happens.
With the pressure off, things start to work!
Or at least start heading in the right direction.
After that minute is up, you may feel like you can go for another minute or two, maybe more.
I can’t tell you how many times I sat down with the intention to just practice for a minute or so and didn’t get up for 45 minutes.
(Don’t do this if you’re close to your bus stop, if that wasn’t already apparent.)
So, if you want to start meditating, don’t be so hard on yourself.
Show yourself some love by making things a little bit easier, taking the pressure off, and just taking a minute to get better.
If it turns into more than that (and it will), great!
If not? You still accomplished your goal.
And that sounds like a plan to me.