“I can’t meditate.” Urgh – you don’t know how many times I have screamed this as I aggressively massage my crystals, check my watch and listen to the sound of the rain forest cheerfully chirping from my phone! Focus Kathryn!
Meditation can play such an important role in healing and balancing the Chakras – I know it does for me – but it was something I really struggled with in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I still haven’t totally mastered it (I’m not sure anyone really does…), but it has become an integral part of my morning routine.
In my experience, when it comes to managing and living with stress, overwhelm or anxiety when you’re in the grips of ‘the panic’ – it’s too late. You can engage in your safety behaviours, ride it out, centre yourself or use the 54321 method, but now isn’t really when meditation is going to help you. It’s not really an ‘in the moment’ fix.
For me, regular meditation as part of a wider Chakra balancing practice creates a life where the panic is less likely to strike in the first place and everyone knows prevention is better than cure, right?
I totally believe – even if it’s just grabbing 10 mindful minutes – we can all achieve some level of a meditative state and we can all benefit from spending a little time in contemplation. Ohm….
Here are some common myths and misconceptions about meditating and why people think they can’t meditate. Take a look – you might be surprised to learn you’ve been meditating all along!
Woah there! I love the idea of yoga, but I’m just not that bendy anymore and even sitting cross-legged is a challenge (remember when it was so easy in infant school??!). I have found sitting up is best – in a chair or on a sofa – with a straight back and feet (bare if possible) firmly on the floor. You need to be relaxed, yet alert – this is not the time to fall asleep. Which brings us on to Myth #2.
People think you need to relax, chill out, clear your mind and drift. Nooooooo. For me, meditating is an activity which takes effort and concentration. Of course, it can be amazingly relaxing too, but if I want to ‘switch off’ for 20 minutes – I go take a nap! Which is awesome. Napping. Zzzzzzzz…. Sorry, where was I? Ah, yes…when it comes to meditating, you need to be aware – aware of your breath, your surroundings, your thoughts – which brings us to Myth #3.
In my experience, this is nigh on impossible. I’m sure there are yogis somewhere who can clear their minds as they approach enlightenment, but I’m trying to prepare for a day of writing blog posts, sorting out a mortgage and walking the dogs – not Nirvana! So, give yourself a break! Thoughts will come into your head – of course they will. What you have to do is not follow them. I notice them, acknowledge them and send them on their merry way as I bring my focus back to my breath. In…. out…. In…. out. #Bonus tip: using guided meditation apps is a Godsend! Especially when you’re starting out – I use Calm, but there are loads – check some out and see which one you like best!
Who’s got hours to spend meditating? I mean it would be amazing to be so connected and balanced (and free of stuff to do!) that you can concentrate for that long (see Myth #2), but honestly even 10 minutes of meditation or mindfulness can have a huge impact on your day. It has for me. I’m busy. I’m struggling with stuff – just like you are, but if I find 20 minutes (preferably in the morning, but whenever I can fit it in) to meditate, get in touch with my intuition, and find the answers I am looking for? I know today will be a significantly better day than if I hadn’t.
Ah – this is a great one to finish on and comes back to the core of what meditation actually is.
The dictionary says:
“verb (used without object), med·i·tat·ed, med·i·tat·ing.
to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.”
We’ve already talked about not needing to ‘clear your mind’, just creating a space for the thoughts to come and go without attachment. Sometimes the best way to do this is to engage the physical body and conscious mind in an activity. You know, distract them a little!
So, any repetitive activity can become meditative if you focus on the action and free your mind. Running (count your steps), swimming (count your breaths or strokes), knitting (count your stitches), spinning cloth (focus on the movement of the spinning wheel) – heck, even doing the washing up! Just focus on what you’re doing with no expectation of an outcome. Unless it’s the washing up – then you need to get that shit done!!!
Finally – take the pressure off yourself. If you really can’t meditate, that’s fine – there will be another Chakra or spiritual tool that will work for you.
Meditating (in the traditional sense) might not be for everyone. Your version of ‘meditating’ might be walking the dog, communing with nature or having a quiet five minutes while you wait for the kids to come out of school. Whatever it is for you, go with it. You will feel the benefit. I did.
Still think you can’t meditate? Let me know.
Now, where did I put my Tibetan Singing Bowl…?
If you’re interested in finding out more about how I live My Chakra Life, the Chakra System and the tools we can use to leverage its awesome power to create more balance; live a better life; and even manage specific issues like anxiety, sadness, loss, poor body image (and lots more), pop over to our Facebook Group and join the conversation there.
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