• Juan Jose Reyes

Seven most common excuses not to meditate ( and how to beat them)

1. I don’t have time

We all have busy lives, always trying to get things done. There is always time for the things that we “want” to do but we can’t seem to find time for the things we “have “ to do. We choose to do the activities we want because there is an element of control since we are not being “forced” to do them. The key to consistently do a new behavior is the feeling or reason that we associate with the new behavior. Find the real benefit of meditation that makes you want to do it. For example, instead of doing it because the doctor told you to do it to reduce your blood pressure, do it because when you feel less anxious you can enjoy being with your kids and you laugh more. Then magically, you will find the time to do it.

2. I can’t sit still/ I'm too hyper

What of someone said “ I’ll give you a million dollars if you sit still for twenty minutes”, would you do it? My guess is that you probably would. Being hyper is simply a reflection of the societal pressure to always be busy because we associate erroneously that being busy or moving is the same as being productive. It’s not. But we feel guilty if we just “sit there doing nothing”. Moreover, the need of the body to constantly move or fidget is a direct reflection of a mind that is hyperactive, always thinking. We have over sixty thousand thoughts per day and over eighty percent of them are exactly the same. Knowing and accepting that it’s ok to be still and it doesn’t mean that we are not being productive is the first step to changing this belief. Of course the mind is "hyper", it's supposed to be, that is the whole point and the reason to practice, not an excuse.

3. I can’t clear my mind

Good, because you don’t have to. It’s a very common misconception that meditation means that we have to completely clear our mind of thoughts. Meditation is actually the opposite, it is being aware of thoughts and knowing when we are caught inside of them, and instead choosing to be awake and present. Thoughts are welcome during meditation because they are the reason we practice.

4. I’m not good at it ( I tried)

If you can breath you can meditate. Anyone can do it because it’s a simple technique, but simple does not mean easy. Whenever our brain encounters a new difficult practice the default reaction is to resist it. There is also a misconception that we have to be really good at it in order to do it. A good meditator is one who meditates and nothing else. It takes practice to train the brain and it’s normal to come up with the “I’m not good at it” excuse. You don’t have to be try to good you just have to give it a chance.

5. I can’t sit cross legged

You don’t have to. You don’t have to wrap your legs into a pretzel and hold your hands in a cliché position. It is perfectly acceptable to sit on a chair or anywhere you can keep your back in a straight and dignifying posture. If you choose to sit on a cushion you may bend the knees and place the legs one on front of the other ( burmese position) , and if you are sitting on the floor always sit on a cushion that will prop your pelvis higher than your knees. You can rest your hands on your lap or on your thighs, palms facing down.

6. I don’t need it

If you are human you need it. Humans think, that’s what we do. And unless you have achieved enlightenment your mind will continuously create stories and thoughts that will take you away from the present moment. Being present is not the default state of the brain so it takes conscious effort to be present. Our lives happen in the present and if we don't pay attention it will pass us by. "While meditating we are simply seeing what the mind has been doing all along." – Allan Lokos

7. I fall asleep

This is very common and it’s more likely a reflection of lack of sleep rather than meditating making you sleepy. Avoid meditating in bed or fully laying down ( unless you have to because of your back) and make sure you are getting at least 7 hrs of sleep every night , if you are not then you are sleep deprived. And if you fall asleep during meditation, enjoy it!