Did you know meditation can be an integral and easy part of your weight loss program or as we say here your weight release. I learned the easy art of meditation early on in my transformation and wanted to pass along some really helpful tips on how to meditate. So many people think it is reserved only for those who are specially trained.
Below are some comments from Sarah McLean, one of the foremost authorities on the subject of meditation who regularly teaches and holds retreats with her special Sedona Meditation. She among many other things, has worked with Dr. Deepak Chopra for over 8 years. You can do this…let’s get started.
Q: Sarah, what are some of the top reasons people don’t pursue meditation that you are aware of?
A: Most people have misconceptions about meditation that really are false. Here are some that I have heard over and over again.
1. I can’t stop thinking. I say that’s right, you can’t – it is nearly impossible to stop thinking by thinking about it. The nature of the mind is to think, like the nature of your eye is to see. As you practice meditation correctly, without effort, your mind will settle down and you’ll access more and more subtle levels of thinking, and eventually, more and more silence. With the proper meditation technique, it is natural for the mind to transcend the thought process for a moment or two, but bear in mind, thoughts will always be a part of your meditation. And thinking doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. Be kind to yourself.
2. It takes hard work to meditate correctly. The idea that it takes hard work can actually get in the way of a successful meditation. Meditation is something that anyone can learn. I haven’t met one person who can’t do it. It does take the ability to sit relatively still, with your eyes closed or semi-closed, and the willingness to put your attention on a focus. Most people can do that. Some meditations have you focus on an area of your body, or a color, a candle flame, a sound, or a thought. You’ll need to spend a few minutes every day to practice turning your attention inward, but anyone can do it. Hard work is not required.
3. I’ve listened to CDs and read books, and I can’t do it. As long as you can sit down and close your eyes, you can meditate. Most people have so many expectations about what they should be experiencing in meditation that it can make it nearly impossible to sit down peacefully. I suggest that people get professional instruction by someone who has had years of daily meditation experience. I also think it is helpful to have a seasoned meditator to practice with occaisionally, so you’ll gain confidence that you can actually do it.
4. I’ll have to wear unusual clothing. You don’t need to wear a special robe, hat, or love beads. You don’t need to chant out loud either. You don’t have to hold your hands in a certain position either. Though you can if you want to. But it doesn’t necessarily make you more of a meditator. Meditation is a personal experience: you do it the way you want to by following the techniques that suit you and your lifestyle. Always be kind to yourself, and stay with your own integrity. Just because some people insist you should look or live a certain way if you are really into meditation, heed your own inner wisdom, trust yourself and do what you want.
5. Meditation will make me too relaxed to be competitive. Most people are used to functioning while being tense or stressed, and they feel it’s the only way to get something done. You know, Red Bull, caffeine, performance, competition, beat yourself until you get it right. In reality, over time, the effects of stress can lessen your ability to concentrate or make good decisions. You won’t become lazy or too relaxed: you’ll be clearer, and operate in your life from a place of centeredness and balance. You’ll probably gain some focus, creativity and better concentration. With meditation, you’ll learn be more relaxed and you can do less and accomplish more. Nice!
6. Isn’t it dangerous?Won’t I leave my body or run into evil spirits? My experience over the past 20 years has been that meditation isn’t like that, it is perfectly safe. And living here in Sedona I notice people often try to have certain experiences in meditation rather than just simply doing it. Some people get great insights and others love it when they lose a sense of where their body begins and ends. I don’t try to have any experiences in meditation, though they certainly do happen. There are so many experiences you can have in meditation: you’ll have thoughts (lots of them), get distracted by noises outside, feel uncomfortable, see colors, feel relaxed, feel restless, feel bliss, etc. But the real measure of how your meditation is working is by taking a look at your life. Are you happier, healthier, more relaxed? Are your relationships more fulfilling, are you making better choices?I simply do it each time with a sense of newness. I practice the type of meditation that allows the awareness to transcend the world of thought and form. The real reason to meditate is to have a better life.
7. I’ll probably have to change my religion. Even though Buddhists and Hindus are well known for meditation, meditation is a practice, not a religion. Many of the techniques come from an Eastern religion of philosophy, but meditation can be secular too. It is really about closing your eyes, sitting still, and reconnecting with who you really are. You can meditate if you are atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Quaker, Buddhist, Hindu, anything. Regardless of your background or beliefs you can meditate. It might even make you more connected with the religion you already practice. Or it might strengthen your connection with your creator, whatever your belief is.
8. I am so busy; I don’t have the time in my day. How long do you wait in line for a latte? How much time do you spend checking your email? Most of us have five minutes extra a day. It is totally worth taking this time out for a time in. I think of meditation as the perfect way to reduce stress, and it rejuvenates me. If you meditate for a short time each day, you’ll receive more benefits than sitting in front of the TV or surfing the internet. It’s all about priorities, and your health and happiness. I love this quote from Gandhi, “On days that I have twice as much to do, I meditate twice as long!”
9. It is for weirdoes. I’m sure I used to be considered weird by my family; they got married, had kids, got jobs, got stressed. I headed off to an ashram, lived in a monastery, and made meditation my priority. Now that their kids are teens, and they themselves aren’t kids anymore, they realize that I might be onto something. They ask me how I am so happy, why I look so good, and why I am so healthy. Yes, in our culture, it might just seem strange to see someone sitting up with their eyes closed, in silence, without their iPod in, for an extended period of time, but it really isn’t. That being said, some people who meditate are definitely weird and have really unusual beliefs. But there are people like that everywhere.
10. My knees don’t bend like that. The lotus position, a traditional yoga posture for meditation, is not required for you to meditate. If crossing your legs is uncomfortable, it won’t help you to turn your attention inward. I teach people to sit in a chair and they can have their back supported, some people sit on cushions on the floor. It is best not to lie down (you’ll fall asleep and that is NOT meditation.) You can meditate while you are sitting down almost anywhere – as long as you are not driving.
I can tell you I haven’t run into anyone yet who can’t meditate. Don’t have any experience? Don’t worry. If you can think a thought, you can meditate, and you don’t have to change a thing – not your diet, your religion, your beliefs – nothing. You just have to have the desire to do it and then take a short time out every day. You’ll notice the benefits unfold naturally and effortlessly right away.
Want to learn how to meditate from Sarah, herself? No problems…just click here
Thank you Sarah for sharing your valuable insight with us and we hope to hear more from you very soon.