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Bad Thought: I don't have the time or ability to meditate.


We've all heard the advice. Meditation is good for us. The mental and emotional gains are great: inner peace, personal insights, connection with the higher self, and oneness with all living beings. And the physical benefits are numerous: stress reduction, lower blood pressure, improved circulation, and the release of endorphins.

You know you should, so why don't you? The number one excuse appears to be that we don’t have the time. Busy lives, of course. We all have them. And yet we do find time for other forms of self-care. Why not this one? Maybe we hesitate because meditation seems hard, this deliberate emptying of the mind, this shutting off the outside world, while sitting still and attending to our breathing. We remember the “monkey mind” scene in Eat, Pray, Love, when Liz Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) attempts to meditate, but can’t manage to shake thoughts about the future, or irritating sensations in the body, for even two minutes time. You think, I don't have the time or ability to meditate.

It’s all just too demanding, right?

It doesn’t have to be.

Here’s an alternative way to meditate that you can easily incorporate into your daily life. Whatever you’re doing that’s physically low-key--say, sitting in a meeting, watching TV, or driving somewhere--simply keep part of your attention on an autonomic activity or sensation of your inner body: your breathing, your pulse, or, as Eckhart Tolle would say, the “aliveness in your hands”. You can still pay attention to everything that’s going on around you: what people are saying or proposing, how the plot is unfolding, where other cars are on the road. It's no different than, say, having a song playing on the radio while you're driving. Giving your inner body part of your awareness takes no attention off the outside world. In fact, you'll interact more adeptly with the outside world because you’re connecting with a greater reality. You gain a kind of objective distance on the minutiae of your daily life.

Try it out now: as you read this blog entry, put a part of your awareness on your breathing, your pulse, or the aliveness in your hands. Notice how calming this feels. Your inner body loves to have your attention. Many say healing is promoted when you do this.

Just as with the more formal practice of sitting in meditation while doing nothing else, you will lose focus on your inner body at times, and all you need to do is bring yourself back to it.

This way, you can meditate whenever and wherever you like. No set aside time is necessary.

Start today: focus on your inner body for 5 minutes, and when you're good at remaining in touch with your inner body over those 5 minutes, try 10 minutes. Now think, I’m a meditator!

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/store

Click here to get your free Memory Spa Audio: www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com

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