Carving out space and time in your daily life to sit down and meditate can be difficult. The actual practice can also be hard - we have spent most of our lives letting the mind run wherever it likes, asking it to stay still and focus on something as subtle as the breath is understandably tricky!
Personally I have been struggling with meditation recently too. There have been more than a couple of days that I haven’t sat down to do it until late in the evening, my morning routine has been disturbed by study, work and recently, back pain… The other day something shifted. Instead of sitting to meditate, I decided to sit and check out what is going on in my mind and body right now. I sat on the couch, took a couple of deep breaths and just noticed how my body felt right then and there, and noticed the sorts of thoughts that were going through my head.
If formal meditation feels too hard, try simply pausing in your day to take three deep breaths and notice how you are feeling.
You could try this right now! Sit back in your chair, take a deep breath in and a long exhale. After you read this paragraph, close the eyes for a moment and ask yourself - how does my body feel right now? How is my mind at this moment?
Meditation is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, in an open and non-judgmental way. We can also actually do this informally at any time - no big deal, no fuss or ritual needed. Taking a mindful pause in the midst of daily life can help us press reset, help us tune back into what is right here in front of us.
If you feel like meditation is a chore, it begs the question - why bother? This isn’t something you have to practice, or must try. It needn’t be a big deal, or a mammoth task. I believe habits form when we start small and when we are motivated by a desire to change that comes from within. Sticking to a schedule can absolutely work, but sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break and work in a way that feels easy, lightweight, pleasant.
Pausing in this way instead of sitting down for formal practice can take the pressure off - meditation doesn’t have to go on the daily to do list, it can become a natural normal part of your daily life.
Next time you are struggling with meditation, try letting go of any fixed idea you have of how practice should be - simply take a moment to pause.