Why doesn’t everyone meditate? What is everyone so afraid of? These are a few of the questions I have been asking myself now in almost 4 years of meditating on “daily” basis. And there are a few guesses I have to these questions, but first a small preface about me.
I am a CFPT. What I found out a few years ago, is that meditation is nothing more than a modification exercise designed specifically to stretch, strengthen, and even in some cases just like a muscle, tearing it down to rebuild. I teach three meditation courses presently, through the YMCA, and The Summit Campus. And at the beginning of each class, I give the same speech which consist of, “I am not the guy on the mountain you seek for enlightenment. I am the Personal Trainer who is here to teach you some mental exercises.”
So let’s begin.
The first reason people don’t meditate (I believe), is because people don’t know what the hell meditation really is.
Do I have to sit a certain way? Face a certain way? Stare at a candle? Have a candle? Just a few of the questions that rambled through my head when I started.
The English word meditation is derived from the Latin meditation a verb of meditari, meaning “to think, contemplate, devise, or ponder. So great news! Sitting, breathing, and thinking is meditation! Sound too good to be true? Well, as you know, it is. To me, meditation is when you have to CONSCIOUSLY bring all your awareness to pondering, thinking, or contemplating. And THAT doesn’t come until you can at least control your breath.
Second reason people are afraid to meditate, is they don’t know where to start. In the same manner people are overweight, and know they should “eat better”. They, like the rest of us, have a tough time putting our finger on what “eating better”/”meditating” is.
In all my classes, the first exercise we do (after a little chit chat of course;), is a 15 minute practice with 3 bells going off every five minutes (3 Exercises every 5 minutes).
The sitting position is “comfortable”. You can google those for yourself;) Or ask a professional. I myself waiver between sukhasana (easy pose), and half lotus. BUT, I started sitting on the edge of my couch first working on my posture for that 15 minutes.
Exercise 1. During this time I ask beginners to practice that first five minutes, by just trying to sit still. Often when we first start, our mind is still racing a million miles per hour. And because of all those thoughts, our body starts to fidget like the impatient children we are. So start there, see if you can set a timer for just FIVE MINUTES and start breathing. If you don’t move for five minutes. You’ve passed level 1.
Exercise 2. Five minute breath practice. This one is still an exercise I have tremendous difficulty with, depending on my morning or afternoon. All it is, is breathing in for a set count, and then doubling that count out. So for example, if you breathe if for 4 seconds, then you would breathe out for 8 seconds. If you are a shallow breather like me at first, it may be more along the lines of 3 second breath in, and 6 seconds out.
Exercise 3. Repeating, “I am grateful for.” That’s it. Start repeating “I am grateful for…” and then fill in the blanks.
I am grateful for my home
I am grateful for my family
I am grateful for my water bottle. Is my water bottle in my gym bag? Is my gym bag in the car? Should I warm up my car after this? What time is it?
This is what a beginners/my mind looks like some times. You can get into the groove, same as sitting still for five minutes, and WHAM! You get sidetracked. See if you can make it the whole five minutes saying/naming things you are grateful for.
If you can nail this 15 minute practice, your brain will be the equivalent of Michael Phelps focus, with young Schwarzenegger strength. Try it and find out for yourself. But try it with the mentality that you will go ALL OUT for 60 days. You may not make all 60, but do your best.
And don’t be so afraid to do it wrong! In the next blog, we will discuss meditation competition and how that’s ridiculous. Have a wonderful day!
Any questions please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org