You can buy our book at all good bookshops – there guys are especially nice.
Meditation language can be off-puttingly cheesy. Wince-inducing phrases such as “self-compassion” and “awakened heart” make us flinch and, even worse – “loving-kindness”. Waffly terms like these are bandied about quite a bit, making what is a very good idea downright embarrassing.
The good idea…
If you meditate for more than a few seconds it will become clear that you’re talking to yourself almost constantly. And most of what you say to yourself is unpleasant and half the time you don’t even notice this is happening. Meditation makes this bad habit really obvious and allows you to spot when you’re making yourself miserable. Then you can choose to ditch the cruel mental chatter and replace those thoughts with kinder, more helpful ones. If describing this as “loving kindness” makes you cringe, we can recommend someone who’s as troubled by cheesy language as we are. We like him so much we recommend him in our book, My Mind Won’t Shut Up, Meditation For People Who Don’t Meditate.
Do you know Dan Harris?
We are delighted to see that Dan Harris, one of our all-time favourite meditation writers is taking on this tricky area for his new book. If anyone can get you past this hurdle it’s him. Click here to listen to him talking about “Embracing the Cheese!” We’re right behind you Dan!
Sometimes meditation rubs your nose in painful but ultimately helpful truths.
Your mind talks rubbish: anyone who tries to focus on their breath for five minutes knows this.
You’re insatiable: have you had enough food, sex, praise, comfort, holidays? Has anyone?
Because everything changes, you can’t rely on anything.
Your chimp-based evolution has wired your brain to see threats everywhere.
You’re going to die (okay, meditation doesn’t show you this directly but it’s true anyway).
You were shielded from most of these certainties when you were young but if you ignore them when you’re an adult you’ll create problems for yourself.
Gimmie the numbing distractions!
Popular methods for avoiding awkward truths include: working too hard, taking drugs, over exercising, procrastinating, pornography, self-loathing and checking your phone every two minutes. Meditation removes some distractions so you are gently forced to see how things really are. This can be daunting but sometimes your coping methods cause more problems than facing the truths themselves. Late night drinking to avoid the fact that you chose the wrong career might be causing you more difficulties than actually changing your job.Of course in many ways drinking will seem like a much more fun option than acknowledging that you’ve wasted time in a job you don’t like.But before you throw your meditation cushion in the skip…
Remember you can only deal with something if you acknowledge it exists in the first place.
When you accept How Things Actually Are it will be much easier to find a happier way to solve your problems. In the same way you don’t become furious at gravity when you fall off a ladder, accepting that life is a bit shit sometimes, helps you come up with better solutions. You can also take comfort in the fact that everyone you know, and will ever know, also has to deal with the same crap. It might even bring you closer together.Meditation can feel a little brutal sometimes but life is tricky enough without deceiving yourself.
We get it – sometimes you’d rather pick the peas from the back of the freezer than meditate
You’ve got stuff to do! A company to run, a house to organise and lies to tell your children.
You don’t have to feel like it to meditate. Yep, you in your ‘oh fuck this I’d rather unclog the drains’ state is ideal because if you waited for a window where you feel calm, motivated and serene, well you’d never do it at all, would you? Waiting on a good mood, or for the perfect five minutes to arrive is a really good way of not doing any meditation at all.
Not In The Mood For Meditation, Meditation
- Accept your mega-strop and sit down
- Fold your arms, think to yourself ‘this is ridiculous’
- Roll your eyes and REFUSE to meditate
- Focus your attention on one breath
- Breathe in. Breathe out
- When you get distracted, go back to your breath
- Repeat for 10 breaths
Meditation isn’t about being calm and happy. It’s about accepting when you’re not.
It’s actually better to do meditation when you don’t feel like it because you learn that tolerating, or getting interested in your massive sulk is excellent training. It teaches you that any emotion is a good object for meditation, and the worse the mood the easier it is to focus on!
Just bloody do some.
Metro asked us for some advice about New Year resolutions, and kept in the swearing, which we enjoyed. They also listed as the No1 book to get you through 2021, which was nice!