Meditation for People Who Think They Can’t Meditate
Tara Parker-Pope - Washington Post
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October 5, 2022
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(Abbey Lossing for The Washington Post)

Meditation is good for you. It can calm your mind and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Mindfulness meditation can improve sleep and reduce inflammation in the body.

But many people say they have tried meditation and failed. Here are some common complaints about meditation:

I can’t do it. My mind wanders. I can’t sit still. I can’t concentrate that long. I fall asleep. I have too many noisy thoughts.

If your first attempt or first several attempts at meditation resulted in any of these thoughts, then congratulations — you’ve meditated!

Many people perceive meditation as a magical moment of transformation. But meditation isn’t about perfection. It’s about awareness. Being aware that your mind wanders, that you’re tired, that you can’t sit still, that your mind is racing — that’s the point of meditation.

Judson Brewer, associate professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a leading expert on meditation, said a common mistake people make is not understanding the aim of meditation. “I did this for 10 years,” he said. “I beat my head against the wall thinking I need to focus on my breath, and I was doing something wrong because I couldn’t.”

If you’re struggling with meditation, Brewer suggests reminding yourself that at its core, a meditation practice is about helping you to learn how your mind works. The day I spoke with Brewer, a student had just complained to him that she was struggling with meditation.

“I told her to really bring in an attitude of curiosity,” he said. “When she notices there’s a thought, can she be aware of it? ‘Oh no, my mind wandered’ tends to be in the background when we think we’re failing at meditating. But just notice it. ‘Here’s what it’s like to be caught up in my mind.’ You’ve just learned something about how your mind works.”

Even the fact that you think you’ve failed at meditation is worth noticing, Brewer says. Have you formed a habit loop of berating yourself? “It doesn’t matter what the mind is doing,” Brewer said. “Every piece of information is good information. Be aware of it.”

Follow the link below for some easy advice to help you learn how to meditate and incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your day.

Read the rest at The Washington Post

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