One of the most common things I hear when the subject of meditation comes up is this: “I can’t slow my mind down to meditate”. It is VERY rare to find someone that can just sit down and begin meditating without their mind running. In fact that is the very reason we need to meditate…to learn to slow our minds down. As things are now, our minds are running us, we have no control over whether our minds are working or resting…they are constantly working. The mind is a tool, it’s supposed to be used when needed, not constantly running unconsciously on its own.
Meditation has been proven to have numerous health benefits as well as general happiness and a calming affect by every type of study available. There are no draw backs and many benefits…and it’s free!!! I usually recommend people begin with a 5 or 10 minute guided meditation. It’s usually easier if someone is talking you through the process (especially in the beginning). That being said, there are countless ways to meditate and you may even be doing some of them without even knowing it. Petting your dog or cat, sitting in silence, walking, running, yard work, gardening and hobbies can all be used as meditations. The point is to connect to a quietness inside you…a stillness.
It’s also important to understand that meditation is not necessarily the absence of thought. One example of this I give is that if the thought “I need to go grocery shopping later” pops into your head and you don’t attach to it, you let it float right by and exit your attention. That is not a problem. However if the “grocery” thought pops into your head and you attach to it and begin figuring out what you need to get and when you’re going to go and then realize that you’re not meditating anymore…that can be a problem. A problem in the sense that you’re not meditating anymore, that’s all. If you notice you’re not meditating and then bring yourself back to the present moment and begin meditating again – you’re good!
Know this…just sitting down and taking 5 or 10 minutes to yourself with the intention of bringing more peace into your life is an act of self-love. So you’ve already won! If you continue to do your best, suspending judgement on how good you’re doing, you will get better at it and you will experience more peace. Rome wasn’t built in a day but you can experience the benefits of walking in the direction of self-love immediately. Google 5 minute guided meditations or go to the Insight Timer app which has tens of thousands to sort through and give it a shot. If you stick with it, you will certainly notice the benefits soon!