It’s part of the human condition to crave inner peace, centeredness and that feeling of being in step with the universe. Some cultures seem to do it better than others and, amidst the increasing noise of our traditional western lifestyle, more and more of us are looking to the east to quieten our monkey minds.
Using meditation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, improve self-esteem or deal with trauma is a proven way of getting results that translate into every area of the practitioner’s life. The downside is that nobody said that it was easy and many people find it extremely difficult to achieve the kind of focus that’s required. But there are certainly ways to overcome these commonly faced problems.
Not Enough Time
You find time for the most important self-care rituals of your day, don’t you? Brushing your teeth, taking your vitamins, working out? If you take on meditation as part of your commitment to a healthy body and mind, as little as a few minutes a day can be enough to begin with. There’s just one thing that you need to remember: make those few minutes non-negotiable.
The Wandering Mind
Along with lack of time, this is the most common complaint from anyone who begins using meditation techniques. Clearing your mind is not an easy task, but if you’re having trouble focusing, try being mindful of your surroundings and your wandering thoughts instead. Simply be aware of what’s happening, allow yourself to be imperfect and then bring your mind back to the centre.
Sitting still in one spot for extended periods of time can be physically uncomfortable, so it’s important to let go of the idea of a serene-looking yogi sitting upright and cross-legged in a vision of perfect peace. There’s no one “right” way of sitting, so as long as you’re relaxed and can breathe without impediment, you’re good to go. That may be sitting upright, lying or even walking (one of the different meditation techniques where you remain mentally present while your body is in motion). Your main goal is to be present and in the moment.
Many people struggle with the commitment that’s required – they make a good start, but then lose focus and eventually give up altogether. The key is to allow yourself to fail, forgive your lapse and ask yourself why you allowed yourself to be distracted from your practice. Whatever the answer to the question, simply identify it, move on and pick up from where you left off. And keep doing that.
Seek An Alternative
There are many different kinds of meditation techniques and what works for one person may not necessarily be the perfect fit for another. Don’t be afraid to try different kinds of practices in the quest to discover the right one for you. Among the many types you might want to investigate are Qi Gong, Kundalini, Zazen, Transcendental and the partnered activity of OM. Because OM is a guided and focused practice that requires two people, it offers an alternative structure and framework that can be appealing to anyone who finds traditional meditation techniques challenging.
Think that you can’t? You can!