Meditation – Common Mistakes + Live Exercises

The word "Meditation" seems to be intimidating. Perhaps you've tried it a couple times and think it's too hard, or that it's only an exercise for deeply spiritual people. Let me be clear: Meditation, and its benefits, are for everyone.

The purpose of this article is to guide you through some live exercises, share some common mistakes people run into when it comes to meditation, and to hopefully persuade you to meditate every day for 10 minutes starting TODAY. Your concentration is probably already waning (because you haven't been meditating) so let's get started.

 

Live Exercise 1

Set a timer for 10 seconds. Sit however you are sitting right now: There is no need to sit in any special "meditative posture."  Once you are done reading this sentence, start the timer and close your eyes.

Congratulations, you just meditated! That was awesome. I could tell even from here that was an A+ meditation. Well done.

 

Live Exercise 2

Set a timer for one minute. Sit however you are sitting right now: There is no need to sit in any special "meditative posture."  Once you are done reading this sentence, start the timer and close your eyes.

Congratulations, you just meditated! That was awesome. I could tell even from here that was an A+ meditation. Well done.

But wait. Let me guess. You don't think your meditation deserves an A+. Your mind was all over the place: you just couldn't stop thinking!

 

Common Mistake #1: Believing meditation = having no thoughts.

They say nothing is impossible, but I'm going to posit that suppressing all thoughts for a duration of 15 seconds or longer is pretty close to impossible. In fact, trying to suppress them only makes more surface. It's like trying to stop the ripples in a pond by throwing a rock at them: It just causes more ripples! So how does one quiet the mind? How would you stop the ripples in a pond? You would leave them alone, of course. You would observe them, let them run their natural course, and let the pond become smooth all on its own. 

 

Live Exercise 3

Set a timer for one minute. Sit however you are sitting right now: There is no need to sit in any special "meditative posture." For this meditation, pretend you are a private investigator. Your job is to observe and "watch" every thought and feeling that arises without becoming that thought or feeling. Remember, you're a separate private investigator! For example, if the thought, "This meditation exercise is stupid," pops into your awareness, make a mental note, "that was a thought." Your job is to notice what you in fact notice. It could the sound of your breath, how your shirt feels on your skin, or how the air feels on your nose.  Once your are done reading this sentence, start the timer and close your eyes.

Congratulations, you just meditated! That was awesome. I could tell even from here that was an A+ meditation. Well done.

Exercise 4. Last one! Stay with me! 

Set a timer for five minutes. Sit however you are sitting right now: There is no need to sit in any special "meditative posture." For this meditation, pretend you are a private investigator again. However, five minutes is a long time to be a good private investigator. It's natural that sometimes, you will forget that you are a private investigator and will forget to take your mental notes. No worries! This time, you've come prepared with your pencil. This pencil is special because if you ever notice you are lost in thought, you can use the pencil to "pop" the thought bobble. This will refocus you and allow you to continue to make your mental notes. Once you are done reading this sentence, start the timer and close your eyes. 

Congratulations, you just meditated! That was awesome. I could tell even from here that was an A+ meditation. Well done.

 

The Challenge

I challenge you to do Exercise 4 for 10 minutes a day. Every day. For at least two months. For bonus points, always meditate at the same time of day e.g. You always begin the day by meditating, or always do it when you get home from school / work.

Woah. Two months? That's a big commitment. Your mind is probably already coming up with excuses about how you don't have 10 minutes to spend meditating every day, and how meditating is pointless. I could list all the benefits here but you can easily find hundreds of answers with a quick google search. I could tell you how it has benefited my life in countless ways but you would just be taking my word on faith, and that just won't do. No. You have to experience this for yourself.

You may fail at times during this challenge. You may sometimes get lost in thought for the whole 10 minutes, or skip a day of meditation and want to use that as an excuse to quit meditating all together. You may want to quit because you're not seeing the benefits you were promised. I urge you to persevere. 

Common mistake #2-∞: Giving up after a week, a month, six months, a year...you get the idea.

Good luck, my meditation friend. Feel free to comment or email with any questions you may have. Please keep in mind that Exercise 4 is only one of thousands of techniques! If the analogies in Exercise 4 aren't working for you, try some other techniques. 

Thanks for reading. 

Posted by Elevate Academy

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