I’ve struggled with meditation most of my life. Over a span of 15 years, I purchased meditation CD’s, attended meditation classes and read books on meditation, yet was still unable to incorporate it into my daily life. The meditation CD’s usually put me to sleep and the classes and books made me feel like a failure! In fact, my first meditation was quite painful and I always felt like I was too busy to meditate!
The sad truth is that while most of us are aware of the benefits of meditation, very few of us actually have a regular meditation practice. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to incorporate meditation into our daily lives. I overcame those obstacles and have been meditating daily for two years as well as meditating periodically throughout the day! Through meditation I have experienced more peace and joy in my life, I’ve become less reactive and less stressed and I have more energy and creativity! And I know you can experience these benefits as well!
But first, I think it’s important to define what meditation is? Many of us have misconceptions about meditation. The most common misconception is that meditation is about getting rid of thought! That would set anyone up for failure! Meditation, rather, is about becoming the observer of thought rather than the reactor to thought.
Meditation, pure and simple, is being fully present in the moment! In this meditative state you are aware of the truth of who you are beyond your body and your mind.
Have you ever been in awe at a beautiful sunset? So much so that you forgot about what happened 5 minutes ago, and you weren’t thinking about the future? You were completely in the moment and had this sense of aliveness inside? Well, that’s meditation!
So now that we know what meditation is, how do we incorporate it in to our daily lives? I knew the reasons why I had struggled for years before I developed a regular meditation practice, but I was curious to see if others had the same reasons, so I conducted an international survey on the biggest obstacles to meditation and received over 400 responses from people in 46 different countries. Below are the TOP SIX biggest obstacles to meditation, and how you can overcome them!
Obstacle #1: Not having enough time
The biggest obstacle people face in developing a regular meditation practice is TIME. We don’t have enough time to meditate! (Interestingly enough this wasn’t just an “American” phenomenon. People from all across the globe mentioned they didn’t have enough time to meditate).
Yet there are 4 simple ways to incorporate meditation into your life without taking ANY time out of your current schedule!
First, I invite you to convert your waiting time into meditating time.
The average person waits 45-60 minutes a day. We wait for appointments, we wait in traffic, we wait in line at the grocery store and we wait on hold on the phone. Yet those precious “waiting times” can be converted into meditating times.
So next time you are waiting for an appointment, take a moment to notice your breath. Or next time you are waiting in line at the grocery store, take a moment to smile from the inside.
Second, have a daily activity be your meditation. You can incorporate meditation into any of these daily activities:
*brushing your teeth
*emptying the dishwasher
*folding laundry, ironing
As you brush your teeth, notice your breath. Or notice the aliveness in your hands and mouth. As you empty the dishwasher, feel the aliveness in your hand as you put each dish away.
Third, have your dog or cat be your meditation! Have you ever noticed when walking your dog how your dog is completely in the moment, taking in its’ surroundings? Well you can join your dog in this blissful state. When walking the dog notice the aliveness in your feet with each step. Notice the aliveness of the trees, birds, your surroundings. While petting the cat, notice the softness of the fur. Be completely present with your dog or cat!