Can’t meditate?
3 tips to help you meditate

by Catherine Haylock
Closeup shot of a white female Asian sculpture among the leaves of exotic plants

I’m sure you heard before meditation is supposed to be good for you, and people around you might tell you all about it. But you can’t think of anything worse than sitting still and quieting your mind, as there is a constant chatter in your head as soon as there is silence. – that is ok.

Did you know that meditation is not about having no thoughts? Our brain processes thousands of thoughts per day, so just because you close your eyes, your brain won’t stop running. There is no on-and-off switch, it’s just not how we humans are designed. But when we meditate we move slowly from chaos to a clear mind.

We all have thoughts, the question is only do you need to grasp those thoughts and spin the narrative further, thinking about tasks or about tomorrow? Or can you say, ok, here is a thought, and I can just let it go, and when the next one appears, again allow it go instead of letting it consume you.

3 tips to make meditation easier

1. Choose which meditation works for you

Meditation in silence can be very challenging, especially if you are new to it. It is nice to have a voice guiding you. Many apps help you with it, like Headspace, for example.
You can also put soft music in the background, find a music piece that has the length of the meditation you want to do and then sit down and listen to it, letting go of arising thoughts.

Or there are meditations where you have music and a guiding voice.

Or meditation with the sound of nature. You can find anything on the internet, especially on YouTube.

If you can’t sit still, then choose a walking meditation. Go to the park, put on your headphones and let a voice guide you.

2. Use visualisation techniques

I use two visualisation techniques that might help you too: When you see thoughts arise, then visualise yourself sitting on the bottom of a pool full of water or the sea, and each air bubble that comes out of your nose or mouth is a thought, which you just let rise to the surface, where the bubble bursts, and along with it the thought.

Or if the thought of breathing underwater is a bit too abstract, you can see yourself standing at a train station, and when a thought comes up, put it into the train and let the train depart into the unknown.

3. Be patient

Being patient is probably no one’s strong suit. So look at it like a workout, the more you do it, the stronger the muscle goes. First, you might not be able to let go of thoughts, and you might judge yourself for feeling confirmed that you can’t meditate. It’s like being in your first yoga class, you probably didn’t flow through the asanas at first, but with practice, it became familiar and accessible. It’s the same with meditation.

Trick when feeling frustrated by your wandering mind

When you notice your mind wanders around, instead of getting frustrated at yourself, congratulate yourself! Pat yourself mentally on your shoulder, celebrate that you have noticed it, and then return to your point of focus. It is not about how long you can stay focused on one point; it’s about strengthening that muscle, going from a wandering mind back to your meditation. And that is all.

So if you still feel meditation is not for you, try to look at it from a different angle. Whenever I feel inner resistance, normally, that indicates that I probably should look into it 😉
I try to understand its WHY instead of discarding it. When I have the information, my perception of the topic usually changes, as I can rationalise it, and it shifts from an internal resistance to an openness, which turns into curiosity.
So I try to understand meditation on a rational level first. This knowledge can help you to understand the topic and will help you to change your mindset, leaving old beliefs behind you. You might be surprised, but it can work for you too!