Meditation is so often perceived as a drudgery, it takes longer than brushing our teeth, it is harder work than yoga or aerobics or spinning, it is more boring than bookkeeping or cleaning the house, and anyway it is not a requirement, so why add yet another “should do” to an already endless list?
How about if we chose to meditate because it was yummy and soothing, like chocolate cake or a fag and a drink at the end of a long and stressful day? Meditation is not always going to be fantastic, because it is about staying present, and often we would rather escape, but 10:1 that cigarette isn’t always brilliant either. Meditation can be fulfilling and spacious and calming, and it can release some of the anxiety and stress of daily life. The calming aspects of meditation are side effects of the process rather than the end goal, however if we employ meditation techniques that develop a sense of well being and enjoyment from the beginning, then we have a chance of sticking to it, so as to develop the ability to become more open hearted, equanimous and wise in the face of the experience of daily life. If meditation can’t be an enjoyable process then, unless we’re dogged and tenacious, it’s not going to be part of any kind of daily ritual for long.
There are many effective meditation techniques that develop contentment and peacefulness. They are useful for their feel-good factor. Having achieved some peacefulness in meditation, it becomes much easier to stay mindful and to focus on ‘Being Here Now’.