Have you read about meditation and all its wonderful benefits, only to give it a go and find it very difficult? Have you sat down to meditate yet found yourself squirming and fidgeting, your mind racing? Did you keep finding yourself thinking about every little thing while not really managing to go very deep nor have very enlightening experiences?
It’s ok – you’re not alone.
For many years, whenever I have mentioned that I enjoy meditating, people have made comments along the lines of “Oh, I need to meditate, but whenever I sit down to do it, it seriously drives me crazy”, or “I just can’t do it. I can’t stop thinking”.
The Number One Problem With Meditation
It’s the number one problem with meditation: it can be quite tedious and difficult to get to a place where you feel in any way blissful, peaceful or “enlightened” (whatever that means). So most people just give up after a few attempts.
I think the main problem is that most people try meditation by, logically enough, joining a class or buying an audio product by some teacher or school. These teachers usually offer a limited range of meditation techniques, and may indeed preach that their method is the only legitimate path.
This is problematic in two ways.
- NO single meditation technique or method is the ONLY legitimate way to come at meditation. Please don’t believe anyone who tells you that. In fact, run away from them as fast as you can.
- Trying one kind of meditation technique is limiting. If it doesn’t work out for you, where do you go? If you just think that this technique is the only way to meditate, then you may give up in disgust at yourself for not being able to “do it properly”.
I’m here to say that there is no “properly” and that you should keep trying different methodologies until you find one that resonates with you, so that you too may enjoy the myriad benefits that meditation has to offer, which can be reduced to “better health and inner peace”.
Resonating Focus Meditation
All meditation is about focussing on something that you are perceiving in the moment using your senses (sight, hearing, etc). I enjoy focussing on the breath and also listening to the sounds in my environment, like birds outside, cars in the distance and the possums banging about on the roof.
Some people prefer to focus on their bodily sensations as they do yoga, which is a kind of moving meditation. Others like to listen to guided audio, music or recordings of the sea or forest. In my book Psychedelic Meditation, I recommend focussing on the play of light on the back or your eyelids. A candle is also quite relaxing to stare at.
It honestly doesn’t matter: you may prefer having someone stab you in the bum with needles while you Zen-out, or deeply inhaling the fragrance of your cat’s breath. The point is, forget The Guru’s One True Meditation Path and simply experiment until you find a meditation technique that resonates with you. Find something to focus on that works for you. That’s what I mean by Resonating Focus Meditation, which is really just a fancy name that I came up with for “meditate your way”.
As long as you are focussing on things that you are experiencing via your senses, in the now, rather than thoughts about the past or future (I explain why in my book), then you are on the right track. When you inevitably do find yourself thinking about other stuff, just gently and patiently bring your focus back to whatever it is you are meditating on, trying not to get upset about your Monkey Mind’s insistence on leading you astray, for it always will, so best to get used to it, keep calm and carry on.