- You can’t mess up at meditation! That’s right…no matter how many thoughts cross your mind, no matter how deep you get into your grocery list, no matter how many emails you mentally write, no matter how “zen” you may or may not get at the end of your practice, there is no wrong way to meditate. Consider the victory that is just sitting down and sitting still for even five minutes. Set an intention to simply untether yourself from the outside world and give yourself some time for introspection.
- Get OK with distractions! Here’s the thing: The moment you sit down to meditate, to really commit to practice, every single solitary human being with a leaf blower within five miles of you is going to turn that thing on. Every dog will bark. Every car alarm will go off. And then, right when everything seems to quiet down, you’ll hear your phone buzz from the other room after you were certain you set it to airplane mode. Instead of attaching a feeling to these sounds, just let them be there, sharing the same space as you. The moment we become ok with distractions, whether internal or external, they become, well, less of a distraction. Thoughts are going to pop up. Let them. Acknowledge them, and then see them simply as clouds floating through your mind. The thoughts are there, but they are temporary (just like the leaf blowers!).
- Let go of expectations! Few things leave us disappointed the way having expectations does. Consider approaching your practice without attachments. Some days 30 minutes will seem to zip by, and some days five minutes will feel like an eternity. Some days your meditation may stir up all sorts of emotions, and other days you might find your practice leaving you unstirred. Let go. The beauty of meditation is that there is no good or bad.
Meditation should come with a warning sign that reads something like “It’s OK to meditate with a lot on your mind!”. So often, we are intimidated by the thought of actually sitting down and just letting our thoughts go wherever they may. The notion of having our minds wander wherever they might can be terrifying. The great news is this: There is no wrong way to meditate! Meditation is whatever we make of it. Just like a yoga where one day we are surprisingly flexible to the next where we are barely able to raise our arms above our heads, our meditation practices also vary. (That’s why it’s called a practice!) The next time you feel a twinge of intimidation about meditation, keep these helpful tips in mind: