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5 Reasons You Might not be Meditating

Have you tried meditating but not gotten the results you hoped for? Here are the top five reasons most people give up on meditation and some things to reconsider about each one. 

1. I don’t have time.

Do you have time to eat? Brush your teeth? Have coffee? Well then you have time to meditate. Five minutes a day is all it takes to sit down, be still and tune in to something bigger than your busy mind. Establish even a small habit of meditation and that habit will change your life immeasurably for the better. The fact is that regular meditation increases our efficiency so we actually save time by meditating. Meditation increases mental clarity, and as a result we focus better, make decisions faster, and are more productive in less time. You wouldn’t miss brushing your teeth today would you? Make meditation a habit not a choice. Five minutes. You have time.

2. My body hurts when I sit for a long time.

Comfort is absolutely essential for sustaining a meditation practice. Take some time to experiment with pillows, chairs, blankets etcetera to find a seating arrangement that will allow your hips, legs, and knees to be at ease and your spine to be erect for proper energy flow. Stretching or doing yoga postures before seated meditation is always helpful, in fact this is why yoga asana (posture practice) was designed, to prepare the body for long periods of stillness in seated meditation.  Once you have found the best arrangement possible, then settle in, relax and forget about the body. Tell yourself that for the next 5 to 30 minutes that you are going to focus and expand your awareness beyond the physical body. Get comfortable and relax.

3. I don’t know what to focus on.

When you have carved out time, found your comfortable seat, and gotten still, then what? Random thoughts and images float through, to-do lists, unfinished conversations, etcetera. This is par for the course and why meditation techniques are vital. The mind does not just turn off, so use something intentional to focus the scattered thoughts in one desired direction. Try paying attention to the rise and fall of the breath, or repeating a mantra once with each inhalation, and once with each exhalation. If you are a visual person you try intently imagining something that inspires you. It is also helpful to have an order for your practice, thereby soothing the mind through positive habit. It could look like this:

·  Get comfortable and set an intention.

·  Take 10 slow deep breaths.

·  Practice a focusing technique like the ones mentioned.

·  Sit in the stillness of receptivity.

·  End with an affirmation or gratitude.

4. I don’t get anything out of it.

We cannot expect to accomplish anything of value without effort, and at the same time, when it comes to meditation, we must release all expectation of accomplishment. Forget instant gratification. Once you have chosen a focusing technique and ordered your practice, stick with it for at least a month. Everyone experiences restlessness and frustration. We are programmed to go, do, produce, and multitask at epic rates these days. To stop the body and quiet the mind takes time. Use your will to eliminate distractions. Results are accruing with every effort whether felt now or not. Be persistent. Have patience and faith in the process.

5. I have more important things to do.This fallacy is the greatest obstacle to meditation. Fueled by the egoic mind that thinks it is personally essential to the world, we prioritize outer activity and production over inner stillness and balance. But the Bhagavad Gita explains, “When this I shall die, then I will know who I truly am.” To know who we are beyond our personality self, the one that feels it is so important it cannot stop for 5 minutes to meditate, is the very reason we must meditate. Only when we come to know true Self, can we operate our individual lives without tension, fear, doubt, or worry. Only then will we find peace no matter what is happening and be anchored in a state of joy. Not to mention improving performance, lessening stress, increasing immune functioning, decreasing blood pressure and all the other physical benefits of meditation. Maybe it’s time to rethink meditation. Do you really have something more important to do?