“I can’t meditate—I don’t know how to clear my mind.”
This is what I’ve heard from most people whenever the subject of meditation comes up. They’re convinced that meditation is good for them. They’ve heard all about how it can reduce stress, induce a sense of calm and relaxation, improve their health, help them think more clearly. And they’re equally convinced that they won’t be able to meditate.
Most of the reasons people have for thinking they won’t be able to meditate come down to misconceptions. One is that you have to clear your. Another is that there’s a “right” way to meditate. Or there have to be ideal conditions to meditate, like being on a quiet, serene mountaintop.
The truth is that meditation is easier than you think when you learn about two Yoga Tools. One is Dharana, or focus, where you get accustomed to gently bringing your mind back to your choice of an object of meditation. That can be as simple as focusing on your breathing. Dharana is about the understanding that your mind will wander, and you just bring it back, as many times as you need to.
The other is Dhyana, or absorption. This is where thoughts get quieter, kind of like background noise, and your focus is more of a flow.
Knowing about Dharana and Dhyana helps dispel some of the misconceptions about meditation and make it more accessible.
There are different ways to meditate, and you can try them out to find which works best for you. The New York Times has a great introduction to meditation, with samples of guided meditations you can listen to.
So, since meditation isn’t as complicated as you thought, and now you have a source for a bunch of great guided meditations, how about giving your mind the gift of a week of meditation? Starting today, try meditating for a week. See how it feels. Try out different kinds of meditation. You may find you want to continue after the week and make meditation part of your daily routine.