I can't meditate! How many times have you said that?
I've said it so many times throughout my adult life and it's always met with a cliché (but very true) response like "if you don't have time to meditate, you need to meditate".
So what's your excuse? I have many; there's no time, I can't concentrate, I can't not fidget or I just don't see the point - meditation is not my thing. Yep, I've said them all and I've even been resistant to the idea of meditation when sitting in a room filled with meditating people and there's nothing else for me to do. In the past when I've tried meditation my imagination gets the better of me or my mind starts creating an epic 'to do' list.
So when I signed up to do a yoga 'project' (read 'Not a Natural Yogi' here) that included a daily meditation I was a little skeptical on how I would do, or if I'd even do it. With some encouragement from my yogi friends, I committed to a daily meditation practice of 10 minutes a day.
At first I had a physical reaction to meditation, my body literally felt like it was buzzing with energy and the only way to release it was to fidget an abnormal amount (which I wasn't supposed to do whilst meditating). So I changed tactics and decided to give guided meditation ago. After a few fails due to my unbeknown dislike of certain accents, I finally found some guided meditation that didn't annoy me or wasn't overly 'out there'.
After about two weeks of meditating for 10 minutes a day, I really started to feel the benefits; firstly my sleep quality improved significantly, it was deeper and less disrupted. Secondly, my mind gained a sort of clarity and focus, which has helped me direct my energy into projects I truly believe in. That last bit sounds pretty hippy right, but it's true!
So this is how I do it. Firstly I downloaded Melissa Ambrosini's guided meditation. Then at the end of my day around 9pm I switch everything off (tv, ipad, iphone), get comfortable and play whichever guided meditation track I feel like. Within a few minutes Melissa's voice sort of disappears into the background and yet still has the power to help keep my mind focused. Once I'm finished, I close my laptop, hop into bed, read my book and then fall into an epic sleep.
It might not be the most powerful Zen-like meditation practice, but it works for me! Melissa's website has lots of meditation posts and includes some really good free guided meditation sessions, so it's definitely worth checking out.