I was recently having a conversation with my roommate about stress and ways to deal with it, at some point in the conversation meditation was brought up and he told me that he couldn’t meditate. This flabbergasted me. I understand that meditation isn’t for everyone but the way he said it, as if he couldn’t meditate even if he wanted to just really threw me for a loop. We talked about it for a little bit and he mentioned how he could never focus on something in his mind or constantly visualize something like pure whiteness. We eventually moved on to other topics but those words never really managed to leave my head. So without further ado, here’s a brief introduction to different forms of meditation!
I find that there’s this huge misconception over meditating where if you’re still thinking than you’re not doing it properly. I’ve always been brought up with the belief that meditation and clearing your mind are two separate but still related things. When you clear your mind you would usually do so by visualizing a static image or a colour with no end in sight and you’d train yourself to hold that state for longer and longer periods of time enhancing your focus. However you don’t really need to do that for meditation, indeed it is a form of the art but not the only way. Meditation can be as simple as freeing yourself from judging your thoughts, watch them come and go without attaching yourself to them, notice that the voice in your head can keep going without conscious direction, just become aware. The more you focus on observing your own inner voice the deeper you’ll dive inside your own mind, twenty minutes later you’ll suddenly realize you fell into a trance at some point. Maybe just for a single minute or two but with time and focus you’ll find the way back to that state gets easier and easier.
An extremely helpful tool which has a long history of being used for this exact purpose would be mantras. A mantra can be as simple as repeated “Ommmm” noises, something more illustrious like “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare”. Basically just use whatever resonates the most with you, what gives you a sense of connection or draws you in. Sometimes in the middle of a session you might even be struck by some sort of profound realization or thought which leads you to changing your mantra to something more personalized or some sort of universal truth in which you feel a connection. I know there was a point in time where I used to repeat “There is no self there is only energy, there is no divide, everything is energy.” and to this day no mantra has helped me more. Within moments of it’s repetition i’d lose that feeling of where my skin ended and the air began, there wasn’t even a conscious realization of disconnection, everything just shifted and you could almost feel that collective consciousness. It was beautiful.
If mantras aren’t really your thing than i’d recommend just breathing, which is honestly harder than it sounds. Get yourself into a position that feels nice and comfy, one where you won’t feel the urge to move or fidget for a little bit. Now this form of meditation I like to think of as just extensive body awareness and at some point in your life you’ve probably followed along with an audio which had similar instructions. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel the air as it gets drawn into your lungs causing your chest to rise, taste the air, naturally exhale somewhat slower than normal. Begin to relax your muscles starting with the ones in your face and working your way all the way down through your body. Devote complete attention to relaxing each of your muscles as you continue to breathe, feel all that tension leaving you, just feel it and breathe, keep breathing. If you managed to keep focus on your breathing and being fully in tune with your body as you worked your way through your muscles than congratulations, odds are at some point you slipped into a meditative state during this exercise! Remember that feeling, as with anything the more you practice it the easier it’ll be.
If none of these ways worked for you than i’m not sure what to tell you. I would call even just stepping back and watching your thoughts as an observer a form of meditation so maybe just start from there and work your way up? Just because you had difficulty with your first few attempts doesn’t mean that meditation doesn’t work for you/won’t work for you, just like any skill you need to recognize that meditation will take time and practice to learn. Are there specific problems you notice when you try and meditate? If so than let me know, maybe we can solve them together. ^-^
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” ~Buddha
Peace and tranquility,