MEDITATION — WHY IS IT SO HARD?!
Because our minds are made to problem-solve. They were created to see something that needs fixing, and come up with how to fix it. Back in the caveman days, this worked just fine for us.
Big toothed predator coming my way? RUN.
Almost out of food? GO HUNT.
Night’s getting cold? FIND SHELTER.
Nowadays, it looks more like…
Am I making enough money?
Does this person like me?
Am I doing enough at work?
Do I need to change my diet?
What’s the meaning of life????
And, to all of these modern problems, there are either A ZILLION OR ZERO SOLUTIONS. Meaning our brains go on a tailspin of scenario after scenario, until we’re stuck in an endless web of anxiety + overthinking. And the minute we try to force our genius minds to stop problem solving, they rebel. Why? Because they simply aren’t used to it.
Which is exactly why meditation is so HARD, but also so NECESSARY.
In order to give our brains + bodies space to reset, recuperate, and settle the constant waves of habitual thoughts, it is necessary for us to make space for SILENCE.
So, how to start?
Here’s are my SUPER-SIMPLE TIPS for setting up a consistent meditation practice — or as my teacher Janet Stone likes to call it, SITTING (this takes the pressure off of it being anything other than a quiet, still space to yourself.)
CREATE A SACRED SPACE : it can be as simple as a little pillow in the corner of your room, to a beautiful altar filled with all your favorite spiritual items. Just create a space that is always there, waiting for you to arrive.
START SLOW + EASY : begin with five minutes of quiet sitting, while taking slow, deep breaths. Count to ten as you breathe (“one” on the inhale, “two” on the exhale, and so on). Then start over at ten, until your five minutes is up. Increase a couple of minutes per week if you’re ready for a longer sit.
SIT AT THE SAME TIME, EVERY DAY : not a morning person? Sit at sunset. Too tired after work? Wake up five minutes earlier and do it sitting up in bed before you get up. Choose the best time for your lifestyle.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS : you can use apps like Headspace or Insight Timer for this, or a simple paper calendar. The positive feedback we get once we see our progress moving along can encourage you to keep the practice going. Or remind you to come back to your cushion if it’s been too long.
Your practice will evolve as you do — it might become longer, include mantras or mala beads, and maybe become an entire sacred ritual that your day can’t be without. But starting is the HARDEST PART. We all start somewhere, and beating yourself up about how long or how often you do it doesn’t serve us in any way.
Instead, just begin. Again and again and again. Maybe today is your day.