3 Reasons you can’t meditate (and what to do instead)
I wanna talk to you about why you may be struggling to meditate, and what to do about it.
Let’s get straight into it.
- You have no idea what to do.
Don’t worry. It’s not really complicated at all. In actual fact, you cannot “DO” meditation.
You see, the English language does not have an accurate word to define meditation (because in the west, most scientific exploration was & is done in the external world).
Thousands of years ago — the ancient Indian scientists chose a different path, to explore the inner world — and that’s why Sansnkrit offers way more vocabulary around inner exploration & meditation.
So, here’s what you need to know.
Meditation is not something you can “do”. It’s a state, just like sleep.
We cannot “do” sleep. We fall into sleep. If the right conditions are in place — being tired, a nice cosy bed & some darkness.
In the same way, meditation is a state that we fall into, spontaneously. If the right conditions are in place.
What are these conditions?
An unwavering focus on a single object, for a prolonged period of time. That’s it.
So, according to a key text on the science of meditation (The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali), here is a more accurate definition.
Dharana = Concentration
Dhyana = The state of meditation.
Prolonged Dharana results spontaneously in Dhyana.
So all you must do, is to focus on one thing. What is that one thing?
It could be anything, like your breath, a mantra, an idea like loving kindness, a deity.
The only rule is that it should be an object that is uplifting, something that reminds you of a divine quality.
So you can pick one of the above, or — you can even begin with a guided meditation.
There are tons on youtube, and I also have a channel with guided meditations if you fancy trying any — @meditatewithrishi
2. You think you need to empty your mind.
This is actually not possible, as long as you are living. So forget the idea that you need to empty your mind. You don’t & you can’t.
What you’re really trying to do, is to quiet the mind, as much as possible.
A noisy mind is scattered, with many thoughts.
A quiet mind is the opposite, focused… with less (or ideally) only one thought.
So it is simply through the practice of Dharana (concentration), that we can quiet the mind, by focusing only one one idea, one thought.
Hence going from ThoughtS… to thought.
3. You can’t sit cross legged
No worries. Our corporate lifestyles have ensured that we have bad posture and poor flexibility.
With time, we can regain our baby like flexibility. The (physical) yoga really helps with this.
But for now, here’s two things you can do.
- Sit cross legged & use a cushion(s), for support.
(When you place the cushion under your buttocks, it raises your hips and makes it much easier to sit cross legged — without hurting the knees and hips).
2. Sit on a chair.
If sitting on a cushion is difficult, don’t worry. Sit on a chair. Just make sure your back is straight.
3. Lie down.
Yes, you can actually meditate lying down — and no it doesn’t make your meditation any less effective.
In fact, there is a style of meditation called Yoga Nidra (very powerful) that is traditionally done lying down.
That is a technique I specialise in and have numerous guided meditations on Youtube that you can check out too!
So all in all.
- Pick something you like and focus on it
- You don’t need to empty your mind
- You can even meditate lying down.
Hope that helps.
Peace & Love