Meditation for those who think they can’t meditate
The first thing is the mindset towards meditation. There’s a specific image that people have in their heads. The sitting upright, cross-legged on the floor image with absolutely no thoughts in your head is what people think meditation is. It is meditation, but it’s pretty advanced, and not good for beginners. To meditate upright, you need perfect posture, which isn’t going to be possible for the average person. People who do sports or some other athletic activity could sit like this, but not the layman. Secondly, meditation is a practice to learn to control your brain.
You’re not going to be able to control your brain from the get-go, which is why we have many techniques that exist when you’re learning to meditate. This is what we’re going to get into in this article.
Firstly, to meditate, we do need to have perfect posture. This is because the first step to learning to meditate is breathing exercises, and those are not possible to perfect without perfect posture (not being hunched in any way). So, does this mean that we have to sit upright? NO.
We can achieve this effect by lying down. There are actually all these ways that you can lie down. Which variation works best for you highly depends on your specific breathing pattern, & any issues with breathing you may have. You’ll know which one works best for you once you spend a few minutes meditating in these poses. You can judge your own comfort level, and your body instinctively knows.
If you’re meditating, you want to be relaxed, which means that for this scenario, diaphragmatic breathing is the best option. When you breathe in, your stomach should rise, and it should fall when you breathe out. There should be no tension in the stomach. The inverse of this (what you shouldn’t do, abdominal breathing) is not moving the stomach, but moving the ribcage. This means that there is tension in your stomach, and we want total relaxation.
There are some techniques for breathing, depending on what you want to achieve. Longer inhalations give you more focus, but more stress. Longer exhalations give you less focus, but more relaxation. A pause between breaths is also useful for relaxation and awareness.
We don’t need an empty mind, but we also don’t want a mind that is flitting from one place to another. This is why we tend to use breathing as a way to focus. The simple thing to do is to count your breaths, but another thing you can do is count for your inhalations and exhalations. Count to 4 for inhalation, count to 5 in between, then count to 8 for exhalation.
This is a simple breathing exercise for relaxation, and it’s also great for falling asleep. Another thing you can do is a body scan. this means to basically systematically focus on each muscle, from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. This is good to create a deeper awareness of your body.
4. Things to know
- You will feel bodily discomfort while meditating. Itching, pain, the uncontrollable urge to move. If you can ignore it, it’s for the best, but it might not be easy for beginners to resist.
- If you do move for this, it’s okay, because you will constantly keep failing. Being distracted is human, & it’s just going to happen. Whenever you get distracted and realize that you’re distracted, just move back to your breathing/body scan, whatever. This is part of the learning process, so don’t get too frustrated. It’s okay if you get frustrated. This is a frustrating endeavor. Just keep up at it.
- Try not to be judgemental, but if it happens, there is no need to dwell on it. Just move back to the original thing that you were doing. No time for self-pity, just focus on yourself.
- You might fall asleep. This is okay. Sometimes, meditation makes your body aware that it’s sleepy, and relaxation makes you fall asleep. That’s okay, because your body probably needed that, and the sleep you got was probably really good.
- You might feel tired for days in the beginning. It’s a process, and becoming aware of yourself means becoming aware of the random pain in your body, the sleepiness, the sheer exhaustion that you’ve had. This is a phase, and it’ll get over with regular practice.
- You might feel emotionally fragile after starting to meditate. This is also okay, and it’s a phase. We repress a lot, and meditation brings all of that out to get rid of it. Again, the important thing is to keep at it.
- Regular exercise helps a lot with meditation. It builds awareness of your body, and exercise helps you to fix any issues that you might notice. Plus, building a strong core can help you progress into sitting upright for meditation, which brings more awareness to your mind. In fact, it’s good to do a few stretches beforehand to get your body and mind warmed up and more relaxed. Do as much as you can. If that’s only 2 minutes or even just 30 seconds, it’s okay.
You’ll keep improving. Just make sure to do it regularly, and you’ll improve for sure.