Why you think meditation won’t work for you!
Okay so you’ve read about the benefits of meditation and you’ve heard from countless people who’ve experienced these benefits for themselves…. BUT maybe you still don’t think that meditation is going to work for you.
This could be because you are one of those people whose mind just doesn’t stop. Maybe you always like to keep busy and the idea of stopping, even for a moment fills you with dread. Maybe in those moments your mind becomes even busier. All the thoughts that you can easily ignore throughout your busy day, get louder and louder and louder.
Or maybe you love the idea of meditation but the truth is that your life is so busy that you can’t even find 5 minutes to sit down. It would be lovely if you could, but your life just isn’t like that. It’s alright for others who don’t have to work so hard, don’t have so many people to look after, who have money or who don’t have to…….(fill in the blank) but for you it feels impossible.
There may be other really good reasons why your brain is telling you that you can’t even try meditation. How do I know? Because I have one of these brains. I’ve had these thoughts for years. In fact I still have them. The trick is that I’ve learnt to over ride them.
I deal with these thoughts in the same way that I’ve learnt to ignore well meaning but terrible advice from people. I nod politely, thank them and move swiftly on.
“Thoughts aren’t fact, don’t take them so seriously” Ruby Wax
Our brain is extremely complicated and science is still figuring out how it works. There have been amazing discoveries by evolutionary psychologists such as Professor Paul Gilbert who explains that our human brain is actually not a very good design as we have different brain systems all pulling us in different directions.
“My mind is like a bad neighbourhood, I don’t like to go there alone” Angie Le Marr
Despite studying psychology at University, it wasn’t until I read Gilbert’s work that I realised how our brain has evolved. To avoid Science speak, mostly because I don’t know how to do it, ss we evolved, the new bits of our brain grew on top of the old bits of our brain.
This means that we have ‘caveman’ mentality in a modern world.
This more primitive part of our brain has completely different agenda from our human brain. As well as conflicting needs and desires.
So it means that it’s perfectly normal to have conflicting thoughts and feelings. There’s a part of you that wants to meditate and feel more relaxed and at peace within yourself but there’s another part of your brain which tells you that you don’t have time or that ‘meditation is for suckers’.
Meditation actually helps you come to peace with all your conflicting thoughts, even the negative thinking patterns. We learn that we may not be able to stop ourselves from thinking and in fact trying to stop our thoughts can often makes things worse. So we come to peace with the fact that we can’t always control our thoughts but we don’t have to believe them or act upon them.
“That voice inside your head is not the voice of God, it just sounds like it thinks it is”. Cheri Huber
In my meditations I guide people to come to peace with their thinking minds and rather than thinking of them like a hapless dictator, to imagine them as a loyal servant who has been working too hard. It’s frightened, it’s over worked and it’s needs our help.
Some say that the thinking mind or ego thinks that it’s all powerful and that it’s terrified of losing it’s power. I prefer to think that our thinking mind is like a goldfish and continually forgets the most important stuff.
Meditation helps us remember what’s important and gives us a better perspective on things. Meditation is also very soothing for the part of our brain that doesn’t want to switch off and is endlessly trying to achieve or improve things.
Meditation helps this part of us remember everything that you HAVE achieved rather than what you haven’t been able to do.
Gilbert calls this part of our brain our ‘drive system’ which is focused on our progressing. When things are going well this can lead us to feel: excited, empowered, fulfilled, loved, happy, proud and financially secure. No wonder we love to achieve!
However here’s the catch…. the problem is that your drive system will never want you to stop. It’s job is to drive you. No matter how much you achieve it will always want you to do more.
This part of you that will never be happy with what you do. By constantly trying to keep this part of ourselves satisfied, we begin to burn out, feel exhausted, anxious, stressed. It can also set off a pattern of negative thinking where we berate ourselves.
Not so good huh! So we need our drive system but we’ve got to keep it in balance. One of the best ways to do this is to set aside 5-10 minutes every day to meditate.
The slight hitch here of course is that your drive system will tell you that you don’t have time to meditate. It maybe constantly reminding you of other more important things to do. Your choice is that you can believe these thoughts and continue to run around for the rest of your life looking after everyone else or you can dedicate a few minutes each day to looking after your own well being and bringing your drive system into balance.
Remember that even a small amount of meditation will refresh your drive system and stop you from burning out.
The best way to start is to get yourself along to a meditation class or download meditations that you can listen to. Once you begin to feel the benefits you’ll be hooked!
Here’s a free 10 minute meditation to get you started: http://www.helpmetorelax.com/calm-and-focused/
Meditation has made a world of difference to me. Those 10 minute breaks in my day have reset my drive system and helped me reap the benefits of the present moment rather than my happiness being fixed on the future.
I hope that meditation takes you on a beautiful journey too and that our paths cross some day.
Big love Susan