Whenever the subject of meditation comes up, people will say, “I can’t meditate.” Not, “I don’t know how to meditate” or “I’d like to learn how to meditate,” just “I can’t.” When I ask them what they think meditation is, they usually say something about clearing your mind completely, stopping all thoughts and enjoying that blank slate.
Like that’s even possible. Or desirable!
Yes, it would be great to quiet the mind. And there’s a great story about what meditation really is from a serene, peaceful swami in my book Yoga Mind. I can tell you now that there are many different forms of meditation—you don’t have to book a trip to a remote mountaintop and hope someone’s cellphone doesn’t go off.
Meditation can happen whenever your mind is focused on one thing, preferably something relaxing. There’s walking meditation. You can meditate on whatever you’re eating. And there’s my new favorite form of meditation, knitting.
Knitters become completely absorbed in what they do. Many of my friends who knit or crochet say they enjoy watching movies (well, listening to them, anyway) while they work, but mostly, you can tell they’re focused on what’s happening right in front of them. Their minds are quiet, and they’re serene and peaceful.
I recently took up knitting again and found what research studies have shown: knitting creates the same sort of effects in the brain that yoga’s deep relaxation and meditation do. Knitting is even used in eating disorder clinics to help patients stop obsessive thoughts about food and to relax.
If knitting is not your thing, you can try pottery, macrame, or anything else that involves your hands and absorbs your mind. For me, and, I suspect, for many other stressed-out people looking for a way to calm down, knitting is a form of meditation. Try it, and soon you’ll have a different answer about being able to meditate.
Want to learn how to meditate? There are simple steps in my book Yoga Mind. Order your copy here.