Keep Trying That’s Why It’s Called a Practice
I have been meditating off and on for almost 10 years now. I love meditating. It’s one of the most difficult and most rewarding things I do for myself. It’s funny because whenever I talk about meditating, I usually go on and on about how much I love it and the benefits I receive from it and then end usually somewhere around ‘that’s why I rarely do it.’ I say that to make people laugh which I love to do, but it’s also a little true. I don’t meditate nearly as much as I would like.
A Beginner’s Guide
When one is first beginning a meditation practice it helps to have someone guide you through it or have something to focus on either the breath, counting from 100 backwards and starting over if your mind wanders or even a body scan practice. In an article by Tara Healey found here: https://www.mindful.org/a-10-minute-body-scan-practice/. She not only describes how to do a meditative body scan but links to an audio version you can listen to and practice along right at home.
Vipassana – Silent Meditation
After you have practiced meditating several times or if you want to explore other methods of meditation another option is Vipassana or silent meditation. I used to go to the Zen Center in Minneapolis and I have also attended many sessions at Dharma Field in South Minneapolis. Both places offer meditation where essentially there is a group of people in a room, someone leading the meditation clangs a metal bowl or bell three times and then it’s quiet for 20 minutes. There is something about meditating with a group of people that is much more powerful than doing it alone and I don’t know why. John Mac explains that one can meditate anywhere. One of his favorite places is in the forest.
It’s called a meditation practice for a reason.
Whichever way you decide to practice meditating is up to you. Any advice I could give on it would be the same advice I would give myself. Your mind is going to race and it’s going to wander because that is what the mind does. Clearing your mind for 30 seconds or 10 minutes or 30 minutes is a gift. I like to think of it as a vacation from my thoughts. All the lists I create in my head and all the future plans I absolutely adore making will be there waiting and ready to be picked back up again once I’m done meditating. But for just those few moments I’m allowing myself a break, a pause from the constant go go go of life. Even if you think you could never meditate you probably already have without even knowing it. Have you ever caught yourself ‘zoning out’ staring off into space while waiting in line or looking out the window? That’s meditating. You’ve already done it. Look at you already practicing!