Meditation Tips For People Who Don’t Want To Meditate
With the constant juggle that is modern life, cultivating a meditation practice can feel like another tedious chore on the to do list as we race towards our perfect lives.
Rise early. Floss. Exercise. Read. Do positive affirmations. Cleanse. Eat ten fruits and vegetables a day. Smile at strangers. Journal before bed. Write a list of everything you’re grateful for. Take vitamins. Achieve inbox-zero. Maintain the perfect work-life-balance – oh, and don’t forget to wake up an hour earlier to meditate in silence.
But just as our days do not follow a perfect script, neither does a meditation practice. Jacqui Lewis from the meditation school The Broad Place has a refreshing approach to teaching meditation in a way that embraces the haphazardness of our lives.
Not all meditation is practised the same, and Vedic Meditation is a variety that is perfectly suited for busy minds and busy lives.
“I don’t live a life meditating in a cave or forgoing lots of things, and I am not a monk,” she writes for The Broad Place.
“I am highly-engaged, energised and ambitious. I live in the middle of a busy city, I am a wife, mother, owner of a nutty Jack Russell, employer, business owner and more. I work passionately on things I love and that is teaching people unique and accessible ways in which to live better.”
Jacqui employs and teaches a dynamic meditation technique founded on Vedic Meditation in order to complement the demands of business, family and being engaged in a high energy world. To find out just how, we gather meditation tips for the time poor, the uncommitted, and the haphazard among us.
#1 A morning routine isn’t essential
Jacqui is an early riser – often waking at five a.m. to tongue scrap, stretch, meditate, and make a pour-over coffee before the rest of the household awakes, but only out of necessity. “For me, I like to feel grounded and creative and on top of the days from the onset. Rising early sets the tone for the rest of the day.”
Build meditation into your day in a way that suits you – that may mean first thing in the morning, or it could shift from midmorning, afternoon, or night depending on your schedule.
#2 Embrace flexibility
Strict routines and rules can be a hindrance to freelancers, working parents, self-employed or anyone with an ad-hoc schedule.
“Knowing how the mind and ego work, we can find 99 excuses to why we can’t meditate,” says Jacqui.
Flexibility helps to minimise excuses. “Broad Place Meditation is perfect for those who don’t have the same routine each day because you can do it anywhere and at anytime. You can do it in your car, at a park bench, at home, at work, anywhere you can sit with your back supported you can meditate. I find a flexible approach makes life so much more practical in regards to meditating.”
#3 No such thing as one size fits all
Do you experience zero stress? Are you happy with where you are at? Are you at your creative optimum? Are you completely fulfilled with everything and everyone? If yes, then you might not need to meditate.
For the rest of us – including the sceptics – it’s worth giving meditation a shot. “Be open to a tool and a technique,” says Jacqui.
There are countless tools, and no one size fits all when it comes to meditation. “Just because you’ve tried one app, doesn’t mean you can’t mediate or it’s not for you. It would be like doing Crossfit and saying you hate exercise when really you would be happy doing laps in the pool something. There many different types of meditation and they all deliver a different results, so dig a little deeper.”
There many different types of meditation and they all deliver a different results, so dig a little deeper.
You might even surprise yourself. “We all know the experience of discovering something that you love and that works – feeling like this is the one is so liberating and exciting.”
#4 Master the art of a dynamic lifestyle
A dynamic meditation practice can influence other areas of your life. Jacqui’s approach to navigating much of her day is what she describes as dynamic and being a little more free flow – squeezing, navigating and negotiating pockets of time here and there to fit in things that matter. One notable habit is her approach to daily reading, and being mindful of how she spends odd patches of free time.
“I used to spend so much time scrolling through Instagram, but now if I have fifteen minutes free in the morning, I’ll prioritise reading instead. I try not to engage with emails and correspondence till much later in the day as it really clogs up my creative thinking.”
#5 Get flexible
It can be helpful to apply creativity to your practice to make it more sustainable. “One of the reasons we practice is so we can become dynamic, creative and flexible as humans, so a really good first step is to ask how can you apply being creative and dynamic to your own meditation practice.”
You’ll also witness how meditation can increase creativity in daily life. “No matter what life throws at you, you can come up with intriguing and curious ways of being in the world. As opposed to getting all locked up in a crisis, a meditation practice trains us over time to be able to handle things in a really interesting way.”
#6 It’s all up to you, and found within you
Whether it be Stoic philosophers or Zen teachers, there’s a common thread of wisdom that suggests contentment can only come from within.
As Jacqui explains: “There is no fun-fairy that is going to fly down with a wand and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to make your life better now.’ You need to be in charge of the way you think, the way you process, and the we you execute things.”
Meditation helps us to cultivate a sense of stability even in times of external chaos. “If for example our happiness and our sense of self only comes from curating the exterior in a particular way, when that all goes, all of a sudden you are in a hot spot.”
Knowing how the mind and ego work, we can find 99 excuses to why we can’t meditate
“There was a time I was divorced, a single mum, and bankrupt, and it really taught to me my sense of identity and happiness can’t be hinged to those parts of me, it had to come from within.”
#7 Treat meditation like Teflon for the mind
A student once told Jacqui that meditation is like Teflon to stress. Often we can feel trapped by our stress, old habits or circumstances, but meditation can help change our perceptions.
“Meditation erases the idea you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Over time, you are rewiring your brain and nervous system so you become more adaptable. Solutions seem more plausible as opposed to when you’re stressed out.”
Regular practice helps strip away the stuff that blocks us from being the better version of ourselves, she says. “The stresses, the tensions, the fatigue, and patterns and behaviours slide away and you can then bring a sense of expansion into your day to day existence.”
#8 You’ll still be a mess, but a peaceful mess
There’s no perfect meditation practice, and meditation won’t make you perfect, either. What it will help with is your ability to embrace your own imperfections.
“I used to always think that because I was a meditation teacher that I should be more Zen. I should be more calm, and I should waft not walk. When in actual fact, by nature I’m very hyperactive and making peace with that has allowed that part of me to shine.”
For more information about Vedic Meditation workshops and courses, visit The Broad Place
Madeleine Dore is a freelancer writer and founder of the interview project Extraordinary Routines. She regularly shares interviews, experiments, and articles exploring creativity and everyday life in her weekly newsletter.