5 Easy Ways to Start Meditating in The New Year

New Year’s Resolutions don’t work, at least not for me. Oh, I’m all shiny about it until around January 12th when it’s dark and cold and I get cranky and toss my “resolutions” out the window.

So let’s do it backwards this year. Let’s begin with reasons why you’ll NEVER start meditating. They’re time tested, believe me because I wrote the book on How To Avoid Meditation: 

   1. I don’t have time to meditate. I’m too busy. Too important.

   2. My mind NEVER shuts up. Never.

   3. Sitting still is kinda weird, huh?

   4. It doesn’t work.

   5. I’m afraid it will work and my personality will change and I won’t be fun anymore.

   6. I’ve tried it. I can’t do it.

   7. yadda yadda (insert your own unique excuse here…)

There. Glad we got the excuses out of the way. Now we’re going to kind of do a smack down on all that whining because meditation has been around for thousands of years and it works. You know that low level anxiety you feel most days? That sort of jittery feeling inside like your guts are made of jello? That’s called being human, and meditation helps you calm down and be a better human. Worth a try, huh?

Of course you have five or ten minutes a day to sit still. I bet you can pluck your eyebrows for longer than that. Geez, I sharpen a pencil or talk to someone I can’t even stand for longer than five minutes. We just don’t want to meditate because it feels so crazy to just sit still. Meditation is the opposite of everything we’ve ever learned. Don’t just do something. Sit there. Before we talk about how to meditate here’s a few reasons WHY you should learn to meditate.

REASON #1: IT WORKS

Now all the hot shot neuroscientists are jumping on the Buddha bandwagon and saying how the science supports what the monks and nuns knew two thousand years ago: meditation changes your brain, actually gets into your neural pathways and calms you down. It changes the way you react. It’s like a good drug without the bad side effects. Read Buddha’s Brain if you’re the nerdy scientific type but believe me. The doctors and rocket scientists are way on board with this. But it’s not rocket science. It’s pretty easy.

I know so many people who manage their anxiety with drinking or prescription meds. There really is a better way. Binaural beats works directly with the brain, and this is where the good stuff starts.

REASON #2: YOUR UNTRAINED MIND IS DRIVING YOU CRAZY

Real quick, let’s talk about the clatter that goes on between your ears.

The ancient folks call that’s non-stop blathering in your head monkey mind because it’s like the aimless shrieking of the monkeys that just swing around from branch to branch making noise. Sound familiar? But I prefer to think of my mind as a puppy – adorable and out of control, weeing all over the furniture and eating all the shoes inside my head. You love and want the puppy, but you better train it or it will run and ruin your life.

REASON #3: IT’S NOT THAT HARD

Do you get the feeling you’re just not good enough to meditate? Sometimes “spiritual” people can be so snobby! They can make you feel you’ll never get it or you don’t have what it takes to meditate. Don’t buy what they’re selling.

Forget the excuses, here’s five easy ways to start – and keep – a meditation practice:

1. Be kind to yourself: Stop beating yourself up for not being able to meditate. You’re fine, honey! You’re great. You are amazing for just reading this. So, relax.

2. Commit to Sit:  You go to the gym. Believe me, you know how to commit to something. So, with love in your heart for your fabulous, brave self, just commit to do this.

3. Make a Space: It’s really important to have a place to meditate. You’re going to want to be as close to the ground as possible. On a cushion or pillow if your knees can handle it (a chair is fine too). Where you sit becomes part of the habit of meditating. So, make a small sacred space. No big deal. 

4. Just Breath: You’ve been doing this since the day you were born. Now you just want to be aware of it. Focus on breathing in and out. Maybe just count your breath. Feel it come in your nose and gently out. That’s all it is. You don’t need a fancy mantra or some spiritual secrets. Just breathe.

5. Start Small: Can you do this for five minutes a day? Five minutes can seem like a long dang time if your mind is babbling about what assignments are due and how angry you are at your brother-in-law. Every time a thought gets into your mind, just let it float out of there, like a leaf on a river or a cloud in the sky. No big deal. Easy come, easy go. Practice that for five minutes, and then maybe ten.

Think of your commitment as a three-legged stool, the grit that they call The Three Pillars of Zen: Great Doubt, Great Faith, and Great Determination. You’re going to doubt the whole process, think it’s crazy, think you’re crazy and go back to your old ways. That’s when you invoke Great Faith in all the folks who have done this for thousands of years, and are better humans for it. Then, Great Determination. Like an Olympic athlete, just keep practicing. Just do it.

One final word of encouragement, like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars you need to learn to Trust the Force, all that which is bigger than little me, all the inner and outer complexity and power that supports our good-hearted efforts. And binaural beats is sure part of that Force. Sometimes you don’t have to understand why or how something works. You just have to trust that it does.

Meditation is not rocket science and it’s really good for you. Go figure. Five simple steps. Want to be peaceful and happy in the New Year? Don’t just do something, sit there. 

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