Meditation. It has been (scientifically) proven to help us relax, alleviate anxiety, react more thoughtfully and patiently to challenges and setbacks, and reflect more effectively on what we want out of life. And yet, it is also one of those habits that can feel impossible to cultivate.
The challenges of meditation
Part of what makes meditation seem so daunting is that many people believe it requires absolute silence and absolute stillness. Not to mention a superhuman focus that can seem impossible to summon. But the truth is that we’ve probably been overthinking it a bit.
1 very simple way to think about meditation
In his book 10% Happier, Dan Harris trains his eye on demystifying meditation for anyone who thinks they don’t have the time, patience, or discipline to incorporate it into everyday life. In an interview with Eric Barker, here’s how Harris distills meditation into the 3 simple, approachable steps (emphasis ours):
It really involves three extremely simple steps.
One: Sit with your eyes closed and your back straight.
Two: Notice what it feels like when your breath comes in and when your breath goes out, try to bring your full attention to the feeling of your breath coming in and going out.
Third step is the biggie. Every time you try to do this, your mind is going to go crazy. You are going to start thinking about all sorts of stupid things like if you need a haircut, why you said that dumb thing to your boss, what’s for lunch, etc. Every time you notice that your mind is wandering, bring your attention back to your breath and begin again. This is going to happen over and over and over again and that is meditation.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that meditation will automatically become easy. Every single time you sit, you may still find some resistance.
But after enough time, the benefits will hopefully inspire you back to sit again and again, give yourself a break, and a shot in the arm.