Updated: Aug 9, 2021
Yes of course you get it, the evidence of its benefits are everywhere. Magazine articles, social media posts, the books, the celebs & self help gurus, the headlines, the podcasts ~ meditation is just a really great thing and everyone on the planet should be doing it.
But it also has a bit of a freak out factor about it. It can freak a lot of people out for many different reasons all of which are totally valid and totally human.
Here's a few you might recognize:
- It's so uncomfortable to just sit there
- 1'm afraid to be alone with what's going on in my head
- I've tried it and it doesn't seem to work for me
- I just can't quiet my mind
- I'm probably the only one that can't do this
- I'm afraid to go into some weird trance
- what if someone startles or scares me, when I'm into it
- what if something weird happens when I meditate
- I'm afraid of what I might find "in there"
- Is it some weird "cult" or "religious" thing?
So there's just a few reasons but I'm sure if I spent the day or did a poll I'd come up with quite a few more reasons why this practice, that seems to be sweeping the planet, can also freak some of us out.
Whatever the reason, your reason, it's okay and totally normal to feel this way about meditation. A lot of people I know, who now are totally rocking this habit, felt this way in the beginning. I think that is the very first place to begin this conversation, is that being freaked out by it, is okay and cool. Let yourself be a bit freaked by something, being freaked out won't kill you. Acknowledging that you are freaked out and uncomfortable with it and maybe why is the first step to overcoming being "freaked out". Staring straight at your "freaked outness", can be the first step through and past it.
So there you go, first step acknowledge your discomfort and maybe even why so that it no longer "runs" you and lurks beneath the surface, bring it out into the light. It's always so freeing when you do this with anything in life that makes you uncomfortable.
Second, pick a reason meditation fascinates you and what it might be able to help you with. There are literally thousands of reasons and many of them, today, backed by a growing body of research. Here are just a few:
- a better brain (who doesn't want this!)
- a better mindset
- less anxiety
- more energy
- enhanced emotional health and intelligence
- better focus & concentration
- less age related memory loss
- higher levels of creativity
- self awareness
- better ability to handle stress
- increased kindness and compassion towards self and others (this is very cool!)
- better listening skills
- improved sleep
- better pain management
- better blood pressure control
- health and healing
- better leadership skills
Wow, I could go on and on, but for the purposes of today's conversation, any of these reasons can help take the "freak out" factor out of meditation. It's not about becoming a monk on a mountain top; meditation is a tangible way to help us with everyday life and leadership. So pick one reason that is meaningful to you and that can really go a long way to grounding meditation for you.
Next keep it simple, like any habit the more simple the better. You don't need to go out and purchase special robes, candles, pillows or statues, just find a simple comfy seat somewhere you will be pretty much undisturbed. You don't have to sit in a special yogi-style cross legged position. Sit comfortably upright in a chair, if you wish or do a slow paced walking meditation outside in nature.
Now consider setting the stage for an uninterrupted experience by sharing with others around you that this is what is going down, in this particular place and at this particular hour. This is your new cool habit, that way you are less likely to be disturbed or startled by kids or even furry creatures around you.
Timing wise, try if you can to get this done almost as soon as you wake in the morning, it's ideal. Pick a time just before everyone else gets up. Your brain and mind are still in that dozy state so they have not yet had the chance to get busy and "freaked out" thoughts are usually at a minimum.
Lastly use a guided meditation. Some ask what is better, to just just sit there by yourself and try to breathe or put some earphones on and meditate? There is no right or wrong here. It really is whatever you prefer. But, in the beginning going about it on your own, without guidance can add to the "freaky" factor so if you put the headphones in and listen to a guided meditation it really helps to keep your mind focused on something. Pick a few meditations, not a whole bunch, that you like and use them over and over again. I find that while there is a lot of cool meditation content out there today, it can also overwhelm us. Allow yourself to settle into the comfort of a few guided meditations you simply love.
At the end of the day anything new has a bit of a freak out factor in the beginning. You just have to deal with that and do it and before you know it, you will settle into your own comfortable everyday rhythm with this life changing habit - one that feels right for you. As with anything in life, you will feel uncomfortable till you feel less uncomfortable...
Oh and what also helps is to lighten up on this journey to a calmer awesome mind...even though this is literally a game changing habit, you don't have to get all serious about it. Just do your best and that changes moment by moment, day by day so enjoy...
Meditation Coach & Creator