DAY 1 : BUSTING THE #1 MEDITATION MYTH
Why there’s more to meditating than shutting up your monkey mind.
Welcome to the first day of How To Meditate – Made Easy.
I thought it might be good to begin by dispelling the number one meditation myth. It’s the top objection I hear from people when we talk about meditation:
“But I can’t shut up my mind!”
There are different ways of saying it:
- I don’t have an off switch.
- My mind is too chattering.
- My mind multi-tasks.
- How on earth can I meditate, if I can’t make my mind go quiet?
- As soon as I sit still, my mind takes over.
Well, it’s a myth. And it’s an excuse we often use, to get out of ‘having to’ meditate. But:
You don’t have to shut up your mind and stop thinking to be able to meditate.
Many expert meditators can’t do that yet. Some people find it easy. But the fact is that most of us have got monkey minds or grasshopper minds, leaping from one thing to the next. And there’s more to meditation than an empty mind.
You don’t have to make your mind go silent to be able to benefit from meditation.
If that’s what you’re aiming for, you’re likely to be disappointed. Just think about how many decades your mind has been taught to chatter. Yes, you can quieten your thoughts and slow things down with simple techniques that we’ll be covering during the next four weeks. But if you’re aiming for total ‘mind-silence’, then you’re setting yourself an extremely high standard to reach.
One of the keys to meditating well – or enjoying mindfulness practice – is to accept your mind. It’s about setting yourself free from being attached to your thoughts, so you are better placed to choose thoughts that create inner peace and happiness, rather than stress and anger. You don’t need to shut up your mind, to be able to meditate.
Meditation is one of the processes that allows you to quieten your mind, so it is really the other way round!
Strange though it may seem, having a monkey mind that chatters can actually be a bonus when you are first starting meditation, because you will quickly notice how 10 minutes a day of meditation can help quieten your mind. It takes dedication and it takes practice, just like any skill, but you will see results, even in the next 28 days.
So how on earth are you supposed to meditate with your mind racing? Well, there are three keys to meditation.
- The first one is relaxation.
You can’t meditate if you’re feeling exhausted and stressed. It’s a simple fact that when we are tired and stressed we are running on adrenalin – and meditation is about creating a sense of calm.
You can’t do that if you’re in your ‘fight or flight’ stress mode. That’s why you’ll notice that, at the beginning of each meditation audio, there is a sequence that allows you to settle in the moment; to settle in your body and to start to relax.
It is critical that you let go and do that.
By the way, if you find over the 28 days that it’s really hard to sit still, then what you actually need is deep relaxation, not meditation. And we will be covering that in some of the daily messages.There’s a bonus deep relaxation MP3 that comes with this book. If you’d like to download it, here’s where to find it:
Week 1 Resources
- The second key is acceptance.
Your mind will wander: it will think about the shopping; it will think about the ironing; it will think about the school run; it will think about anything it can, because it is used to doing that.
That’s the job that it has had for so many years.
Don’t judge it; don’t dive into a story complaining to it about it getting in the way of your meditation, because suddenly your 10 minutes will be over. And you’re likely to feel that you wasted your time.
Don’t give up if your mind wanders. Just gently bring yourself back to whatever it is that you are focusing on in that day’s meditation.
Learning to accept the monkey mind is one of the most amazing ways to de-stress and calm down. It makes a huge difference to your meditation journey. It takes practice, but it is achievable.
The same thing goes for aches and pains, noises and interruptions. With the help of the daily messages and meditation audios, you will be learning how to accept them and not let them get in the way, over the 28 days.
- The third key to meditation is concentration and focus.
You’ll be learning how to concentrate and focus on just one thing at a time, to deepen your meditation.
In our multi-tasking life that can feel like a real challenge – and our conscious mind might give us all sorts of reasons why we can’t do it. The key is to choose whether or not you want to buy into those reasons – or whether you want to allow the process of practising meditation to help you make changes in your life.
If you want to learn to meditate and gain all of the amazing benefits that come with it, it’s a journey worth taking.
During the daily messages we will be looking at:
- how to deal with thoughts getting in the way
- how to calm and quieten your mind
- how to allow your mind to relax
- and how to accept those thoughts
So you see, meditation is not about switching off your monkey mind. But if that’s what you want to do, it teaches you how.
Meditation is about learning to get your mind to work with you – gently training it – and that can be fun.
Tomorrow we will be looking at how to sit comfortably to meditate – and believe me, it makes all the difference! Meditating doesn’t have to hurt!
Your First Meditation
This week’s meditation is available for you to download on the Week One Resources page.
Find somewhere quiet; turn off your phone; sit calmly; close your eyes; relax and enjoy the beginning of your course.
If you’d like to join in at the forum, your login details are the same as for the course’s website.
And if you have a spare moment, how about popping round to the ‘Say hi’ discussion thread and perhaps letting us know what your ‘Big Why’ is – from page 14 of your Getting Started guide. We’d love to hear from you!
Day 1 Affirmation
I choose to enjoy today’s meditation.
Got questions? Pop by the forum or email firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
P.S. Each day has an image, with a key quote, as you saw above.
All of these are available for you to download, free of charge, to print out and use around your home, if they inspire you. You could even share them with your friends. Just click on the image to go to a high resolution version of it, then right click on that one and choose ‘save as’ (or similar), to save it to your computer.
Getting Started: www.clarejosa.com/how-to-meditate-made-easy/week-one-how-to-meditate-made-easy/