There are so many reasons and ways to meditate that it can at first be daunting, but the benefits of sustained practice are worth the effort. You need to give it a go.
I've been practising meditation for many years. For a long time it was a private thing. Nobody knew I meditated and I often worried what other people would think. But any potential embarrassment paled into insignificance compared to my overactive mind that refused to be stilled. My mind was on constant overdrive, in a state of anxiety and worry about the smallest things that may or may not happen. It was also holding on to stories of the past, replaying them to justify the way I felt in that moment. I wished I could take a holiday from my mind and its over thinking.
An so with meditation I became hooked! A simple sustainable meditation practice has honestly changed my life and I truly believe we can all benefit from it. I don't see meditation as an answer or a fix but instead as a vehicle to slow down and check- in with myself. In this space I know and understand myself better and make choices that are more aligned to what serves me best.
But meditation can be daunting and confusing to new partners in this instance, it can be helpful to break it down and view it afresh (see below) to help you on your way to a quiet mind.
FIVE TIPS FOR NEW MEDITATORS
1. THERE IS NO ONE WAY
There are many approaches, theories and philosophies when it comes to meditation. At the start, these can seem overwhelming. If you have already tried meditation and found it difficult, it is important to know this is completely normal. People are complex creatures. But rather than give up before you have begun, instead explore different types of meditation as a way to get to know yourself a little better. What works for one person may not work for another. Try movement meditations such as Yoga, T'ai Chi or breathing techniques (Pranayama) or explore different guided meditation classes.
2. THOUGHTS ARE COMPLETELY NORMAL
We live busy, complicated lives that involve attending to myriad of tasks, solving problems and looking after family members. So when you sit down to meditate, especially for the first time, do not be surprised when your mind wanders almost immediately. The art of meditation is noticing when you r mind has taken a different direction and to bring it back to your original focus.
3. YOU CANNOT DO IT WRONG
See your meditation practice as time and space just for you. In the moments of quiet, you are free of life's complications and challenges. You can let go of the roles and responsibilities with which you identify yourself. You will most likely have meditated naturally in everyday life at times but might not realise you were doing it. Unless you are following a structured path or approach to meditation, I believe you cannot ever do it wrong. You have to start somewhere - if that is just a few seconds of quiet, a feeling f deep relaxation, being free of distractions or calming of thought you are meditating.
4. IT TAKES PATIENT PRACTICE
Western science now proves what Eastern philosophies have taught for centuries - taking time each day to sit quietly to simply breathe, listen your surroundings and your heart and quieten your mind has enormous physiological and psychological benefits and can lead to heightened sense of general wellbeing. In today's fast paced society taking time to be still is more important than ever. The long term benefits do not happen over night, so be patient. Science and any long-term meditator will tell you the practice is worth it.
5. ITS FOR ANYONE AND EVERYONE
You do not need to believe a certain thing, dress a certain way or have a certain outlook on life to benefit from meditation. Whether you are a chief executive trying to manage the pressures of running company or a busy parent seeking to handle family challenges (or both)meditation is for you. Similarly, it does not matter if you are simply looking for a way to balance you r emotions or you are a spiritual person hoping to deepen you r connection to that which is greater than us...all are welcome. See meditation as yours - your mind, your meditation. Whether that is being more mindful in everyday life, carving out a few minutes each day to simply breathe with more awareness or a more formal practice, it is for you.