Sitting in silence (aka meditation) is a powerful practice. This practice is not based in any one religion; rather its a tool employed by all traditions, in one form or another, to gain control over our monkey mind, and enhance self-awareness.
However, a sitting practice can be elusive for many people. Sometimes the mind is too active, or else the body is restless, or we are just in a pattern of distracting ourselves. Also, the benefits of meditation are subtle, so it's hard to actually feel them, which makes it demotivating (and even frustrating) to stay with the practice. This is all very normal, and we can work with it.
So let's talk about how we can gently prepare ourselves for cultivating a sitting practice. Small steps towards breaking the incessant pattern of "doing" and pausing the mental busy-ness can go a long way in avoiding the frustration a beginner can encounter when first trying to meditate. I call this creating spaciousness. Spaciousness of mind is an excellent pre-cursor to meditation. Hear me out.
With smart technology we have constant access to information via podcasts, audiobooks, social media, movies, news, and communication. It's easy to be doing something all the time - whether it's listening, watching, reading, talking, or learning. We are ingesting so much each day!
Plus there is the high value we have placed on being productive, which frowns on actions that lack results. So "doing" is a way we find self-worth, and feel useful in the world.
This is where the need for spaciousness comes in. Just being with the self is virtually unheard of, and yet so incredibly valuable. It is how we tune into ourselves, process unfinished thoughts and emotions, and listen for the deeper wisdom and intuition inside us.
So in this busy world, where the mind and senses are constantly inundated, just taking a pause to do nothing, to start releasing rather than ingesting, is a great starting point.
Here are some simple ways to find spaciousness in a busy day:
Just a few minutes a day of a single activity like this is a potent first step. As an Ayurveda coach, this is where I ask my students to start when meditation has eluded them for many years despite their repeated efforts. In fact, meditation can spontaneously happen after many of these simple acts.
So if you are ready, start by identifying one easy way you can cultivate spaciousness in your day. Just one. Then do it daily for a week. Then for a month. Soon you will be ready to approach sitting, and it will come to you a bit easier. Possibly just that much easier enough that you will want to stay with it!