I admit it: I really resist meditating sometimes. Even as someone who teaches meditation, I have the same excuses as everyone else. "I'm too busy right now," I tell myself. "I'm too distracted right now!" On occasion, the simple act of sitting down in front of my altar seems like a chore. How silly does that sound? In contrast to the actual chores that seem to continuously pile up, I'm avoiding sitting down?
So, what motivates me to sit down and meditate? I have actual answers to the excuses that come up. The ability to shut down the doubter/procrastinator/busy person in my brain with a benefit of meditation has really helped me to build and deepen my practice.
#1: I have so many things on my to-do list, and it looks like I won't be able to tackle them all today.
Dear, did you know that meditation can actually make you more productive? Get this: meditation can help you to multi-task like a beast. Meditation also helped you to stay more focused (and calm!) when crossing items off your daily agenda. So, sitting down and chilling out for a few minutes might actually save you time, in the long run.
#2: I'll never be able to clear my mind; I'm so stressed!
Well, love, not only does meditation decrease stress, but you also don't have to clear your mind to meditate successfully. Just sit and breathe.
#3: It's 11:00 at night, and I forgot to meditate today! I'm too exhausted to now. I'd fall asleep!
Luckily, meditation can help you to improve your memory, so maybe you won't forget to meditate tomorrow. What if you meditated a bit in bed, just for a couple of minutes before falling asleep? That wouldn't be too bad, would it?
#4: I'll probably be interrupted by ____(fill in the blank)_____
Oh, those pesky interruptions! Here's a way to re-frame it: Meditating, even if you only get in 1 minute here and there, can help you to be a better (read: happier/less stressed/calmer) person to greet that interruption. Could you also celebrate the interruption (oh, I'm so happy to have the UPS guy ringing my doorbell to deliver a package to me!) instead of seeing it as an obstacle?
#5: I should really be making some art right now (or doing something else creative)
Oh hey, guess what -- meditation can help you be more creative. Maybe you'll get your next bit of inspiration for your painting/blog post/poem/lesson plan/etc. while your meditating. Or, you could incorporate meditation into your creative practice -- make it a ritual to meditate before diving into your creative ventures.
#6: But really, I don't have time!
Think of how many minutes there are in a day (okay, I did the math for you: 1440). Could you maybe swap 10 minutes of being on facebook for sitting and breathing? Plan it into your day. Maybe dedicate 1/3 of your lunch break to meditating. Or sit and practice, first thing after waking up.
So you see...there are hundreds of reasons to meditate. Who wouldn't want to experience improved relationships, increased willpower, reduced anxiety, and be in a better mood, over all?
If you've never meditated before, try it out. There are lots of different ways to meditate, but the most simple way is to just follow your breath. It's easy: find a space where you can sit comfortably. Take a few deep breaths. Then, just focus on your breath entering and leaving your body. How does it sound? How does it feel? Thoughts are going to come up: it's almost unavoidable. Just let them float in and out of the mind without giving them much attention. All of the attention goes to the breath. If you lose track of the breath, no worries -- just gently guide yourself back to it. Start with doing this for a minute, and work your way up to longer periods of time.
So, tell me -- what's your most common excuse for not meditating?