Without fail, as I ask questions about their experiences in how they came to that conclusion, I find these common issues that led to their attitude that they can’t meditate:
- ‘I can’t blank out their mind’, or ‘my mind is so busy and my thoughts won’t stop.’
- My response: It’s important to know that blanking out your mind is not necessarily the goal of meditation. The focus of your meditation (whether it’s your breath, a silent mantra, etc) is what you concentrate on. Thoughts will naturally come to mind, and your job in meditation is to gently return to your focus.
- ‘I’m too busy to meditate.’
- My response: Meditation does not need to be daily for an hour, as many people assume. Even taking 10 minute breaks to meditate can produce huge benefits. Also, mindfulness practices during the day produces the same benefits as meditation. I believe everyone can fit in 10 or 15 minutes per day. It’s a matter of priority.
- ‘Meditation is not for me.’
- My response: It’s true, meditation is not for everyone. Meditation needs to come at the right time in one’s life, and there needs to be a curiosity and willingness to cultivate the practice. Meditation does make you go ‘inward’, and sometimes people just don’t want to do that.
- ‘I tried reading a meditation book and staring at a candle once, and it didn’t work.’
- My response: It’s rather difficult to learn from a book. I find that people’s success rate is very high when they are guided by a skilled instructor. I, too, first tried to learn from a book and when I had numerous doubts about whether I was ‘doing it right’, I had no one to ask.
I heard someone say once: If you can breathe, you can meditate. This is because probably the most common meditation technique is to focus on your breath. It’s as simple as that. So I do believe everyone can meditate – it’s more a question of if they want to learn.