Meditating for people who can’t sit still

I usually manage thirty seconds of meditating, before something ‘vitally important that must be attended to this minute’ pops into my brain.

On the lookout for alternatives to meditation, I took a yoga session at my local Buddhist centre. It was a great class with friendly people, a relaxing atmosphere, and an encouraging teacher. I was doing fine, until, at the very end, we were told to lie down and relax!

‘It will be over soon,’ I told my brain in the quiet of the room, but it wouldn’t listen. I started to wonder what the time was and when my parking ticket would run out. Then I got an itch on my bum.
‘What if you need to fart?’ my brain said helpfully.

I panicked; I had an overwhelming urge to leap up and dance around the room or to shout something random into the silence. By the time the session ended, I was sweating profusely. I ran to the toilet, sluiced my face, scratched that flipping itch and got out of there. I’ve been too scared to return.

Meditating without sitting still

After a few more trials and errors with various classes, I discovered a book called The 5-Minute Meditator: Quick meditations to calm your body and your mind by Eric Harrison. The contents were a revelation. I didn’t have to sit still for hours. I didn’t have to maintain complicated poses. In fact, I didn’t have to stay still at all. It was possible to meditate while walking!

I set off to my local woods to try one of Eric’s simple techniques which involved nothing more complicated than breathing and counting steps. Within minutes, my monkey mind had settled down for a nap and my breathing had naturally slowed. I felt calmer and more relaxed. Soon, I was noticing my surroundings rather than listening to the constant chatter of my brain.

I returned home feeling relaxed, clear-headed and focused. The rest of the day was the most productive I have had in a while.  Anything that helps calm my manic brain is good enough for me.

Has anyone else got any meditation tips for those of us that struggle?

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