Meditation doesn’t take a lot of time and it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s the busiest people with busy minds who benefit most from this practice. We live in a world that is more hectic than ever. We are attached to our devices 24/7. Stress levels are at all time highs. Investing in a few minutes of quiet solitude per day can slow your biological age (make you younger!) and it doesn’t have to mean completely clearing your mind. Lets further explore our ideas regarding the time and difficulty that comes with meditation.
Excuse #1: Meditation Take Too Much Time
We know….you’re busy. Time is such an important factor for many of us because we want to be successful. We are conditioned to seek stimulation to feel productive. Society tells us that to be successful we need to work hard, and hard work means being active. But busy, doesn’t equal productive.
Making time to sit in silence is contrary to what we believe to be the definition of success. Taking anywhere from 10-30 minutes sitting still can seem like a complete waste of time. However, research has shown that those that meditate have a slowed biological age, reduced stress levels, and improved cognitive function. Our biological age speeds up or slows down based on your level stress. The International Journal of Neuroscience published a study in which subjects with the same chronological and biological age at 30 were put through a meditation practice. Those that started meditating, were found to have the skin elasticity, vision, and memory of a 23 year old.
Excuse #2: Meditation Is Too Difficult
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” ― Blaise Pascal, Pensées
Like a domino effect, our ideas and thoughts about success and hard work trickle into the difficulty we perceive in achieving stillness. When our mind is constantly firing, it finds it challenging to suppress all thoughts. If you’ve tried meditating and found yourself unable to completely clear your thoughts, you are on the right track! The truth is, you don’t have to clear your mind of all thoughts during meditation. A study done by Harvard University demonstrated that suppressing certain thoughts creates MORE of those similar thoughts. Don’t believe me, try this:
Close your eyes and imagine a pizza, focus on it for about 10 seconds, open your eyes
Did you get distracted?
Close your eyes again, this time let your mind roam free. Think about whatever youd like…except the pizza. Whatever you do, do not think about the pizza. Go!
Did you think about the pizza?
Likely the answer is yes!
If you focus on anything, after 5-6 seconds your mind diverts to other thoughts, that’s just the nature of the mind. In addition, intentionally trying not to think of certain things triggers more of those things. Instead, try to imagine your thoughts like passes clouds, and as soon as the mind wanders, you just bring the attention back. There are many types of meditation practice, but one common technique is to focus on or count your breath, focus on a pebble in front of you, or on a particular word or “chant.”
Time and Difficulty are not true problems in meditation, they are associations we have made based on what we think meditation should be. Now that you understand why we have the common beliefs regarding meditation, you can more easily incorporate the practice into your daily routine. If you’re a busy person with a go go go mentality, implementing only a few mins a day and gradually working into longer periods of stillness will yield tremendous benefits, including a younger you, better sleep, more clarity, less anxiety and more happiness.