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How Can I Meditate, When I Just Can’t Meditate? (Part Two)

26 Apr

Last week, we heard from Sheri who asked "Is there a meditation tape that can successfully be used by someone who just can't meditate? I have tried many different ways to meditate -TM, breathing, visualization - and none of these seems to work for me." She added "Perhaps I don't have the patience. I really don't know what it is. I just know that I would like to be able to meditate, if only for a few minutes. Any suggestions? I would appreciate your input."

Answer: (Continued from last week's Ask Belleruth)

Okay, Sheri. Here are some additional thoughts:

It’s possible you don’t like being 'guided' by another person's voice. Maybe it’s the particular voice you don’t care for. Or maybe you just don't like somebody telling you what to do! Perhaps you’ve had enough of that in your lifetime. Or maybe, like a lot of people, you just have a healthy streak of anti-authoritarianism in you. I certainly do.

[Sidebar: That’s actually why I avoid the imperative verb form whenever possible in the guided imagery I create, and wind up with weird sentences that start with gerunds – as in, “Feeling the breeze on your face and neck.”   That’s to avoid telling you to “Feel the breeze on your face and neck.” It’s a lot better English, no question, to “Feel the breeze:, but a little too bossy for some folks.]

If that's the case for you, you might want to just listen to some soothing, pleasing, immersive music for a few minutes, maybe while taking some nice, full breaths, in and out. Even if you do that for only five minutes, that would qualify as meditating. We offer Steven Mark Kohn’s beautiful music available as stand-alone titles. We were asked for it so much, we just started producing it separately. The truth is, every time I play it, which I do regularly to relax or grease my creativity when working, I’m newly surprised and delighted with his music and what it does for me. 

After all, meditating is simply a matter of placing your attention on just one thing or on a very narrow band of things, to the exclusion of most everything else. That’s all it is, in its most general definition. 

So you could get one of those stress relieving, adult coloring books and fill in the designs with multicolored pencils. That will require just enough of your attentianal focus to clear your mind of just about everything else, and give you a nice, easy brain break. And that, my dear, is meditating too. I know you can do that and succeed!

Finally, you might try listening to guided imagery to fall asleep by, and experience it that way, when your psyche is more open to relaxing and letting go, and your brain waves are slipping into a nice, trancy, pre-sleep state of consciousness anyway.

For this reason, our Healthful Sleep imagery is a kind of gateway experience that introduces you gently into the process, with low expectations and high-yield results. Sometimes this is just the ticket - people get around their initial resistance or reluctance or discomfort by using guided meditation while they sleep!

I hope something in this extended answer helps.

All best,

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Belleruth 

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award