I know I should meditate, but I can't sit still for that long. Any advice?
Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole
Q: I know I should meditate, but I can't sit still for that long. Any advice?
A: You'll be happy to know that there are many varieties of meditation. Some are physically passive and others are physically active. Some are solitary; others are practiced in a group. All forms of mediation measurably quiet the mental chatter of the mind, sharpen mental focus, upgrade the immune system, calm emotions and relieve stress. The idea is to then carry these positive benefits into daily life to experience inner peace and mental clarity regardless of what’s going on externally.
Every world culture and religion offers some form of meditation, and all of these ancient practices (and modern ones) are designed to bring people closer to their own pure essence. They all share the notion that we are naturally connected to a "Universal Field of Consciousness," which gives us access to the higher intelligence and unconditional love of "All That Is." Typically, that access is clouded by the distractions inherent in daily life. However, once that link is established and strengthened, life is very different. There are hundreds of scientific studies documenting the measurable health, wellness and spiritual benefits of practicing meditation.
The common denominator in all forms of meditation is the unique combination of deep relaxation combined with a highly alert mental state. In meditation, both of the brain’s hemispheres are simultaneously active. This is what makes it different from sleep, trance, daydreams, hypnosis and our normal waking consciousness. The meditative state creates its own unique brainwave patterns, which offer benefits other states of consciousness cannot deliver.
Back to the original question, some of the many active forms of meditation include: yoga, martial arts and athletic activity when it takes you in to "the zone." More active options include dance, playing a musical instrument and chanting. So, if the passive kinds of meditation, which involve sitting in silence, have no appeal, there are plenty more options. All forms of meditation are cumulative, so the more consistently you incorporate the practice, the better you will feel in your body, mind and spirit.
If you'd like some further resources, you can contact me for information about meditation classes in Jackson. There are also great meditation courses online (Google these) and other links, like one from the Huffington Post that lists 15 great books on how to meditate.