Category Archives: Mindful Meditation

Overcoming Obstacles when Learning to Meditate

Overcoming obstacles is one of the biggest challenges when learning to meditate. There is always a learning curve when you start something new, and learning how to meditate is no different. There are some common obstacles that will have to be overcome in order to be successful.

Trouble Focusing

The biggest obstacle is often your own mind. The mind is always working. One thought passes and another immediately takes it place. There are thousands of pieces of data churning in your brain, making it difficult to focus.

There are four main things that distract you, cause your mind to race, and make focusing difficult.

  1. Your list of things to do is ever present in your mind. Most people have two active lists – personal (family) and business. There is internal pressure to get everything done. (Your mind is telling you that you don’t have time to meditate.)
  2. You are heavily stressed or have recently experienced some kind of personal trauma.
  3. You are worried, anxious or fearful about one or many things.
  4. There are too many distractions around you – children, TV, road noise, electric lawn mowers, barking dogs, etc.

Good news! There are ways to deal with each one:

  1. Things to do – Remind yourself  that meditation doesn’t take long, and as soon as you are finished, you will take care of things.
  2. Dealing with stress and trauma  –  Use the following exercise before  you begin to meditate:In your mind’s eye, see yourself opening a large empty box. With your hands – gently lift the trauma or stress from your mind and place it in the box and close the lid. Then, set the box aside. I know this may sound strange, but it does work. I have used it many times.
  3. Dealing with anxiety or problems that are worrying you – Use mindful deep breathing before you begin to meditate.  As you breathe let the concerns go and tell yourself that you will look at the issue(s) again when you are finished meditating.  (Mindful deep-breathing exercises help you calm the mind and release emotional stress from your body before you begin to meditate.)
  4. Distractions –  The ideal, of course, is to find a quiet place that does not have distractions, or that muffles the noise to the point that you can tune it out. For example: It is easier to tune out a neighbor who is mowing his lawn than it is to tune out a dog barking in the same room.) Enlist the support of your family – ask them to help you with 15 minutes of quiet time, or meditate when everyone is still asleep (early morning, late evening).

Finding the Time

Until you are convinced of the benefits you will enjoy as a result of meditating, you may struggle with the feeling that you “do not have time to meditate.” As I have said before, you always have time to do the things you want to do. But, if this is an obstacle for you, look for “down times” that you can fill with meditation.  For example, use the time while you are waiting for your appointment in the doctor’s office – or waiting for the kids after school.

In those “unoccupied moments” you can practice simple breathing exercises that help you relax and move into the quiet, still place inside. You can also do this when you are doing chores like vacuuming – or exercise like running, walking, or using a treadmill – none of which requires a lot of focus

Lack of Self-Discipline

A common obstacle is a lack of self-discipline. Without the ability to stay with it until you realize the benefits, you will not develop the habit of meditating. A new habit takes twenty-one days to solidify.

When you decide to start meditating – do so with a 21-day full commitment to the process. Give yourself permission to stick with it for twenty-one days. If you can do that and practice everyday (with full intent), at the end of three weeks, meditating will not only be a habit, you will look forward to doing it.

One thing that can help you stay with it is to find help.  It could be very beneficial for you to work with guided meditation at first.  You may want to consider working with Tom Cronin, The Stillness Project,  personally through one of his workshops.


Change Your Life – Mediate 15 Minutes a Day

Man meditating in officeIt is possible to change your life by meditating only 15 minutes each day. If you are longing for relief from the intense pressures and stress brought on by endless responsibilities, meditation is a tool you should seriously consider. Thousands of people practice it regularly – some daily, some weekly – and benefit immensely.

There is scientific evidence that meditation helps people enjoy happier and more peaceful lives. Harvard professors are getting close to proving …..that yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease.

In a brain wave study performed by a Ph.D at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, people who engaged in meditation over the study period had scans showing a difference in the stress areas of the brain.

You may be among those who have heard about meditation for years. Maybe you have even thought about looking into it, but have never taken the first step to make anything happen. You may be one of the many who hesitate because of the time required.

With incredibly busy schedules, the thought of adding one more thing is too much. People often think that in order to learn how to meditate, they would have to spend hours learning the technique; and, then spend additional hours sitting and chanting. Unfortunately, that is a common misconception about all forms of meditation.

If you have been intrigued with meditation or have even the slightest desire or curiosity about how it works, you should sign up for Tom Cronin’s Stillness Project. He provides guided meditation through a calm, unintrusive program.

Meditation does not involve hours and hours of practice that will push your sanity over the edge. In fact, a meditation session can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. But . . . the benefits will last for hours or days. It is absolutely worth the investment of time in yourself.

You may be thinking, “Even 15 minutes is too much. I simply do not have the time!” But, we both know that there is always time for things that we really want to do. So, why not put mental and physical health first this time and give it a shot?

If you can commit to the 15 minutes each day and fully engage in the process for each session, you will be less stressed, have more energy, and sleep better than you have in a long time.

The first step is to learn some simple breathing techniques that are used in meditation. You can find instructions for these exercises online and teach yourself, or you can get the help of an experienced guide like Tom Cronin. The Stillness Project.

If you have never tried to meditate before, it is good to be aware that at first your mind will not cooperate. Dozen of other things will pop into your head  that you could be doing instead of meditating. Unfortunately, your logic will tell you that this is a waste of time and you should just keep on keeping on with all you have to do. Don’t let that defeat you.

For your session find a quiet, comfortable place that is as free from outside noise and distractions as possible. When you are ready to begin, set your phone alarm for 15 minutes. Knowing that you will only be using 15 minutes will help quiet the mental resistance mentioned above. Then, relax into the process.

You will discover that once you reach a consciousness state, your mind and body are fully united as you revel in the peace of those moments.

In a very short time, you will no longer feel that you are “giving up” 15 minutes of your day. You will begin to feel as if you have more time because your mind is clear and your ability to focus is amazing, which increases your productivity as you peacefully go about the rest of your day.  


Live on Tuesday, June 17,  at 6 pm PST


Guided Meditation or Self Meditation?

Guided meditation is a wonderful tool to help you handle life’s challenges. If you have ever practiced meditation or done any research on it, you know that there are many ways to meditate and thousands who will passionately tell you that meditation has helped them find a happier way of life.

There are two primary types of meditation: guided meditation and self-meditation. People who are new to the practice often struggle with the question: Which is the better choice for me? My recommendation for newbies is guided meditation.

It can be difficult for beginners to achieve the consciousness level they desire when they try to meditate on their own. Guided meditation makes it easier because it leads you carefully and artfully into a state of relaxation.

Having someone guide you through the process who knows exactly what steps to take to reach that still, quiet place within is a wise choice for the beginner.

If you are just exploring the possibilities and/or are still not sure whether this is something you want to do – or have time to do (as I believed for many years), you should consider signing up for The Stillness Project –an event in which over a million people globally will be led in meditation by Tom Cronin.

This event could be the perfect way for you to find your inner strength and clarity of thought that can guide you through the rest of your life.

How Does Guided Meditation Work?

Guided Meditation
Image by RelaxingMusic

First, the guide will ask you to sit (or lie down) in a comfortable position. Then, he will lead you through a series of tranquil visualizations to help you relax, to clear your mind of stress and worries.

An important part of guided mediation includes learning how to relax the muscles in your body – one area at a time. The meditation will help you slowly release tension that you may be holding onto without even realizing it.

After being guided through the muscle relaxation steps, you will be guided through breathing exercises that will relax you even further.  As you move through the process, your mind becomes clearer and clearer.

In such a deeply relaxed state, your subconscious mind is open to positive suggestions – for healing, positive thinking, spiritual development and more.

You don’t have to do a thing except listen to the guide and follow his lead. You don’t have to worry about what is coming next because a guided meditation gives you clear instructions that take you from beginning to end.

You are not required to meditate at any particular time or in any particular place because of the ease and convenience of technology that we have available.  Guided meditations can be played on your iPhone or your laptop or even in your car’s DVD player.

As you become more and more experienced and grow in the practice, you can mediate any time you need a calming break to re-center yourself.

If you choose to incorporate meditation into your daily life, you will gain a wonderful calmness about your person, you will learn how to let go of stress, and your ability to think clearly will be stronger than it has ever been. Finally, there will be a powerful connection between your mind and your body that will support every task you choose to undertake.

I encourage you to check out The Stillness Project to see if it could be the perfect first step for you to take in this amazing journey.