Meditation Part 2: How to make meditation easier for your busy mind (With 30+ FREE meditation links)

Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

I’ll say it again, because I believe it that much, meditation is amazing. Its benefits are numerous–as I mentioned in part one of this post–and it has helped me personally in more ways than I can articulate.

However, meditating can be difficult to get used to. Our busy brains and lives find many reasons and ways to distract us from this wonderful tool. So, if you have a desire to meditate, but find it really difficult, or just don’t know where to start, this post is written just for you.

Finding the right meditation for you

There are a LOT of ways to meditate. Part one went into a little detail on some of the more popular styles of meditation. And it’s quite possible that you’ll like several of them. But instead of just telling you what’s out there, and letting you guess which one will work best, I want to look at some of the common meditation challenges you may be facing, or think you’ll face, and provide some suggestions for meditations that can help you overcome those.

BONUS: they are all FREE! Many of these links are guided meditations, because they are easier to get into, and others are articles or videos explaining how to execute a specific technique.

The idea is that you start here, and as you get more comfortable, your mind will naturally relax and you can move on to less guided, or fully self-guided meditation if you wish.

What’s your obstacle?

I’ve never meditated before, and have no idea where to start
Yay! So happy you are willing to try it out! Here are some easy guided meditations to start. They talk you through the basics as well, so you’ll know you are “doing it right”.

Racing mind
This is probably the most common obstacle to meditation. You’ve tried to focus on your breath, your mantra, or even the back of your eyelids, but you just can’t seem to shut your brain up. Your best bet is most likely a fully guided meditation. And if you are a visual person, definitely try guided visual meditation.

A wandering mind isn't too much of a problem. Mine usually wanders down a beach somewhere. Image from Pexels.

A wandering mind isn't too much of a problem. Mine usually wanders down a beach somewhere. Image from Pexels.

Wandering thoughts
Similar to racing mind, but a little calmer. You seem to drift a lot. You think you’re doing well, repeating a mantra or visualizing something, but your brain just seems to wander off into la-la-land and next thing you know, you’re planning your next vacation, and basically forget that you are meditating at all!

Honestly, this really isn’t a problem. If you tend to want to think about what you WANT your life to look like, you may like manifestation meditations. The best part is that they work! Vipassana could also be a good option for you if manifestation really isn’t your jam.

Interruptions
You’ve set your space, shut your door, relaxed in the perfect spot, and started your meditation music. Then the dog starts clawing at your door, or sirens from the fire station down the street start blaring, or your phone won’t stop buzzing with texts or emails.

First of all, if you use your phone for your meditation, turn it on do not disturb. Second, there’s not really a specific meditation I can point you to that will combat this.

However, consider open monitoring meditation, where you have open awareness of all that is going on in your mind and around you. Letting thoughts, noises, and sensations simply be; not focusing on them in any way, just acknowledging their presence and continuing to monitor openly. This style of meditation is a little harder than single focus meditation (which is what many other meditations are), so check out the link below on how to do it.

Not feeling anything
You’ve been meditating for a while and seem to be able to quiet your brain pretty well now, but you just don’t feel like anything is happening, or like you aren’t really getting anything out of it. Try something more directed and intentional like the following suggestions.

Bodily discomfort
No matter what you do to get comfortable, staying in one position for too long makes your back ache, or your knees hurt, or maybe your butt gets sore. First, this is why yoga was ever a thing to begin with. Men and women stretched, moved, and breathed into all parts of their body in order to prepare for hours of sitting in meditation. So maybe try that first.

But if the problem persists, try these:

Boredom
You have tried to devote your 20 minutes a day to meditation, but you just plain find it boring. What’s the point of doing nothing for 20 minutes when you have a million other things you could be doing that are much more productive? FALSE!! Meditation is very important and very productive work. Sit with it. Stew in it.

My view is that if you find meditation incredibly boring, then you probably really need it. We are so accustomed to constantly doing, and the pressure (be it internal or external) to always be productive never seems to go away. But these are the exact things that stress us out, and make it harder to listen to our true instincts–our inner self. So shut up for twenty minutes and listen. Be bored. You need it. But these meditations may help too.

Just for fun, I’ve found some livelier meditations to help you out:

Does meditation turn you into a tired panda? Try a more active style. Image from Stocksnap.io

Does meditation turn you into a tired panda? Try a more active style. Image from Stocksnap.io

Sleepiness
Every time you get in a good flow in your practice, you doze off, only to wake a few minutes later with that lovely line of drool dripping down your chin. Hot! Some people prefer this (the dozing, not the drool) as they use meditation to help them sleep at night.

But if you find it happening and it’s not what you want, here are some tips. First, don’t meditate lying down. Which I’m sure you’ve thought of if this is a problem you are trying to solve. You may also want to keep a window open for fresh air, or turn the air down so it’s a little cooler than you are used to. These more active meditations may also help:

Restlessness
It never fails, even if you can get your mind to focus for more than thirty seconds, you can’t stop fidgeting, squirming, or moving in some way. This could very well be because you are not used to letting yourself be still and even the thought of total stillness for more than five minutes makes you squirmy. Similar to boredom, take this as a sign that you NEED it.

I just Don’t. Have. Time.
LIAR!! Sorry, that was a little intense. We all have 24 hours in the day–even Beyonce only has 24 hours. And just 10 minutes of getting quiet and centering yourself can actually make you faster and more productive throughout the day. There’s an old Zen saying that I love:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day–unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

Well said, ancient Zen dude.

Any one of the links above could work for you, so choose a short meditation from whatever your next challenge might be (I’m going to guess Racing Mind or Interruptions) and try that a few times. Allow yourself the pleasure of letting go of all that pressure for just ten minutes. You’ll be so happy you did.

Because this has been my excuse for MANY things in life, I’m going to guess one or all of these may also help:

 

Whatever your barrier, try not to think of it as one. Meditation is simply about objectively observing. Whether that be external happenings or internal ones. The trick is to continue on. To not dwell on anything, not even the expectation that your practice should look or feel a certain way.

The single best piece of advice I can give you is to just KEEP DOING IT. Work it into your daily routine and make it just as important as taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Consistency really is key. The more you do it, the more natural it will become and the stronger effect it will have on your overall health and wellbeing.

I’m excited to hear from you. What are your blocks, and how you plan to overcome them? Did any of these suggestions work for you? Do you have others you’d like to share?

Or did I overlook your obstacle completely? Let me know in the comments!

- Sarah