24 May What’s stopping you from meditating? Yes, they are all excuses.

– Janice Tang, Hong Kong

I started practicing mindfulness a few months ago. At first, I was pretty held back by the concept of deep breathing and being present in the moment. Why? Well, I am only 24. I am too young to be wasting my time sitting and practicing deep breathing. I should be going out, partying, and enjoying life. During the first few days of mindfulness, I really didn’t feel like doing it at all.

However, as I integrated mindfulness into my daily life, I recognize the little changes in my life. I am more in control of my emotions. I am not as annoyed when my friends arrive late. I don’t get mad when I am not invited to parties because I know that time is well-spent when I focus on improving myself. I am a lot more tolerant to my surroundings. Little things, like crying babies and traffic, no longer irritate me. My inner calm emerges whenever my tension rises, guiding me to find comfort in my own skin. There is often an inner voice saying “It’s okay. Just let it go” whenever I feel trapped in an emotional roller coaster.

I have learned a lot about myself during these few months. I hope to spread the words and empower others to do the same. Here are my responses to common excuses from friends and family.

1)   I don’t even have time for my friends and family. I definitely don’t have time to meditate. Forget it!

Yes, you have time to meditate. Think about all the time you waste on social media, dwelling away with all the posts, likes, and news that are completely irrelevant to you. There are many bankers, executives, and athletes who have meditated for twenty years without missing a meditation session. If Kobe Bryant, Oprah Winfrey, and Hillary Clinton have time to meditate, then you have no excuses to say no. Furthermore, you don’t necessary have to meditate every morning on a specific time for a set period. Time for meditation can be organic so you can do it whenever you want.

Meditation helps you improve focus and reduce stress because you are able to practice in the state of consciousness, removing any restlessness. You are able to accomplish more while doing less because your mind is trained to focus on the task at hand.  When meditation becomes a common routine, you will realize how meditation helps to clear your mind and instill a sense of calmness against any struggles.  

2)   C’mon, you should know me by now. I can’t even sit still. How am I supposed to meditate?

I am a huge fan of sports so I love to move around and get in action. I also thought that meditation was all about sitting still. But this is one of the biggest misconceptions of meditation, in reality, it is ok to move around. You can stretch your legs and arms, and re-adjust your position. If you can’t sit still, you can try walking meditation, as a beginner.

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The art of walking meditation is to learn to be aware as you walk, to use the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness and wakeful presence. Start by selecting a quiet place where you can walk comfortably back and forth about ten to thirty paces in length. Then begin by standing at one end of this “walking path,” with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Let your hands rest easily, wherever they are comfortable. Open your senses to see and feel the whole surroundings. After a minute, bring your attention back to focus on the body. Center yourself, and feel how your body is standing on the earth. Feel the pressure on the bottoms of your feet and the other natural sensations of standing. Let yourself be present and alert.

3)      Meditation is a way to escape from the real world.

Meditation allows you to understand your thoughts, and feelings in a calm and genuine manner away from judgment. Instead of running away from reality, you will be able to accept the situation, identify the reasons why emotions are triggered, and gradually find clarity in tragedy, loss, or pain. Meditation is being in the moment and letting your awareness bring wholeness and love in the purest state.

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