That is a summary of the typical response I usually receive from folks when I talk about meditation.    I can understand their response.    Most folks believe that it is difficult, or have some excuse why it’s not for them.   I know when I was an undiagnosed bipolar the mind was out of control, and I would have looked at you like you were crazy.

When I talk to people I mention my simple meditation methods, and they still think it’s too difficult for them.   I never learned formal meditation techniques when I began to look for relief from suffering.   I read a little blurb in a book that simply talked about being relaxed, sitting comfortable,   and keeping still.     That’s it.   I have practiced other techniques; where you have to sit a certain way, the posture needs to be in proper alignment, you have to have your hands in a special position, and using proper breathing techniques.    It was complicated!  A complicated process will taint some opinions on meditation.  They made it more difficult than it needs to be.  A simply technique is enough to develop inner peace.

Here is a recent conversation I had with someone.

“Have you tried meditation?”

“Meditate?!  No way, I couldn’t do that!”

“Why not?”

“I could never sit still.  The mind is too busy.”

“Okay, it’s not that hard.  Do you want me to show you how simple it is?

“No,  it’s not for me.”

“Okay that’s fine, tell me what do you like to do?”

“I like to jog.”

“That’s great!   Tell me about your jogging.   What are you thinking about when you jog?”

“I think about how John is going to call me to ask for money.   Or about somebody that made me pissed off.  Or wondering what kind of trouble my sister is causing.   I am always thinking when I jog.”

“Instead of getting lost in thoughts while you are jogging.  Try this.   When you notice that you are lost in thoughts, bring your attention back to your feet hitting the ground.  What does it feel like?  Notice your breath,  is it easy or is it labored?    Look around, what do you see around you?  Bring the awareness back to your body jogging.   Keep your focus on the body, and not thoughts.   Wouldn’t you enjoy jogging more if you weren’t lost in thoughts?”

“Yeah, it would be enjoyable. “

The above conversation takes the focus onto a new area they could explore instead of meditation.   This is mindfulness; bringing your awareness to what you are doing at this moment.    The whole point of meditation and mindfulness is to interrupt the constant thought stream.   The more space or gaps that you can place into the thought stream or mind chatter will create  inner peace.

This works for any activity:   knitting, sewing, jogging, swimming, walking, washing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, eating a meal or drinking a cup of coffee.  The list is endless.

For example, if you are washing the dishes.   Notice the temperature of the water,  the texture of the glass,  the smell of the dish detergent, if there are any bubbles being formed notice them,  bring you attention into every aspect of washing dishes.    You will have interrupted the thought stream.

Mindfulness doesn’t work watching the TV; TV watching takes you below thoughts.  When you are below thoughts, you open yourself to the goals or desires of the TV program.   The TV does program your mind;   your thoughts will become aligned with their objectives.  This is why you buy stuff you latter regret.    Or you do not realize that you have become very opinionated about a subject.    Or you get emotional about what you are seeing.

If meditation techniques are too much for you, try mindfulness.    The goal is to interrupt the thought stream and  to develop inner peace.   Even a few minutes a day will make a big difference in your mental health (less stress and anxiety).   Over time,  If you are able to expand the minutes you practice daily, you will discover that the mind gets very quiet and stress is no longer in your vocabulary.   The rewards of inner peace are priceless.

Be well.