I hear so, so many people say they “can’t” meditate. And it’s usually for similar reasons.
They say they can’t concentrate or quiet their thinking. They think they can’t sit still long enough.
If you’ve ever said or thought anything like this, I politely invite you to snap out of it.
First of all, I’ve never played golf before. If I picked up a club tomorrow and went madly swinging across a course, I’d be terrible.
If I wanted to boost my skills and lower my scores, what would I need to do? Practice, of course. Intelligent practice, probably with some coaching, over months or years.
Meditation is the same way, only with an extra wrinkle. If I’ve never played golf, I have the advantage of starting from nothing. You’ve been thinking your entire life, though. You have to unlearn more than you need to learn.
You might need more time and more intelligent practice before you see results.
Which brings me to my second point:
Who says you need to quiet your mind?
Meditation involves focusing on a single thing in the here and now. Often that means you need to quiet your mind.
Or you can make your thoughts louder and focus on those.
In fact, you could think a single thought. You could make it so loud that it drowns out everything else. There’s no room for effort or distractions.
Why not? Once you understand the principles of meditation, this solution becomes obvious.
But if you are going to think a single thought, you should probably make it a good one.
This is where a mantra becomes useful.
A mantra is a word or phrase that is more than just a word or phrase. It captures everything you are and wish you could be. It speaks to your ideal self and tempts them into being.
Your mantra can begin with “I am…” or “I will be…”
And it should tell anyone you choose to share it with everything about you.
What is it you truly desire? Who is it that you really are? What are you becoming?
Take some time to get your mantra right. This single thought will occupy your attention, so it pays to craft it well. That said, it doesn’t need to be perfect to begin. Find something that resonates with you and keep exploring.
You have outgrown many things – clothes, toys, hobbies. You can outgrow mantras, too. But only if you begin.
There are certain phrases that I repeat across my guided meditations.
Some of these I choose consciously. Others emerge on their own.
Are they my mantras or are they useful phrases to bring you towards yours?
It doesn’t matter.
The main thing is to listen: