I defer to Yoda’s expertise when it comes to The Force. The little dude has centuries on me. But I have to disagree with him about ‘doing’ vs ‘trying’. Maybe meditation works differently for Jedi. Who knows. But his famous quotation is completely backwards:
Try or try not – there is no do.
Many people give meditation a go, then stop. It doesn’t seem to work for them. I get it. Other people talk about all these benefits – relaxation, focus, inner peace – that seem so out of reach.
Here’s the thing:
Meditation is WEIRD. You probably don’t understand it – even if you think you do.
How Meditation “Works”
Forget everything you know about meditation. Forget everything you know about everything. It plays by its own rules.
In tennis, no one cares if you ‘try’ to ace your opponent. Only the results matter. No one cares whether you were calm or aggressive – did you ace them, yes or no? In business, it’s about adding value and making money. In relationships, are you happy enough to stay together?
Outcomes, outcomes, outcomes.
In meditation, genuinely trying to clear your thoughts is good. Genuinely trying to hold your focus is the whole point. It’s irrelevant whether you succeed or not. All that matters is the attempt and your attitude.
“My mind keeps wandering during meditation.” Great! Each time you catch yourself, calmly and lovingly redirect your attention. Each time you do, you strengthen your mind.
“My thoughts are so scattered!” Wonderful! Meditate for a bit – do your thoughts seem less scattered afterwards? Even just a little?
The goal is not to have perfect focus and perfect emptiness of mind. Those may come later. Then again, maybe not. Who cares?
The point of bicep curls is not to lift a weight once. The exercise comes from lifting and lowering, again and again. Meditation benefits you by clearing your mind and directing your attention, again and again.
Results don’t matter. What you try to do – and how you try it – is everything.
If you like this relaxed, devil-may-care approach to self-improvement, you should subscribe to my free email list. As a gift, you receive a free self-hypnosis guide – one that’s just as chilled and easy-going (and effective) as the advice in this post.
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