Whenever I talk to people about the benefits of meditation or any sort of mindfulness practice, I get predictable answers. I really do. First, I get people who confuse meditation with some sort of religious practice. As you probably already know, we live in a secular world especially in Western Europe and North America. People simply do not want to hear anything about God, the deity or anything supernatural.
Regardless of whether you agree with that or not, this is the reality. The moment you engage in any kind of talk that comes suspiciously close to something supernatural or the divine, people shut off their minds. And that is on a good day.
On a bad day, you get somebody who would actually attack you. They would think that you’re stupid. They would think that your IQ is very low. They might even accuse you of having extra chromosomes. It can get quite nasty. That’s just the world we live in. It’s very secular.
The other predictable objection I get about meditation is that they simply do not have the time. It is obvious that for too many people, time is a luxury. There are only so many hours in a day and they have basically overbooked their day. This is a fact. If they could, they would split themselves up and be found in different places at the same time. That’s how busy they are.
Given this context, do people have the time or the energy to meditate? Well, if you can overcome your initial suspicion that meditation is somehow some way linked to religion and give it a shot, then the next problem is simple time management.
Believe it or not you have the time for meditation. First of all, you only need fifteen minutes or less. In fact, if you can invest five minutes or more to meditation, you’re in a good place. You don’t have to spend half a day. You don’t even have to spend a full hour. Fifteen minutes is plenty.
You may be thinking, “Well, I don’t have fifteen minutes.” Think again. Do me a big favor. List down all the things that you actually do at work. You’d be surprised as to how unproductive you really are. Sure, you’re putting in eight hours a day, day after day, week after week, month after month.
That much is obvious. You’re overstressed. You’re overworked. You feel tired. However, look at the nitty-gritty of the stuff that you’re actually doing. I can bet you that you’re not actually doing eight full hours of work. I’m talking about productive work here. I’m not talking about you checking out your social media updates. I’m not talking about you looking at your mobile phone to see what’s on Instagram or checking your e-mail.
I’m talking about actual work here. I’m talking about work that puts food on the table or at least the kind of work that your boss is paying you to do. I know it’s uncomfortable to hear this because it is a moment of truth. If you were to compress those eight hours or filter it in terms of productivity, you probably would be lucky if you have two hours of actual work.
So, don’t tell me that you don’t have time for meditation and mindfulness. You have the time. You just have to free up some of your unproductive activities.
Focus on the fact that meditation and mindfulness deliver a lot more benefits than whatever cost they bring to the table. Sure, you’re out of fifteen minutes every day but can you really put a price tag on the sense of calm, inner peace and harmony that you get? Can you really put a price tag on the sense of calm, inner peace and harmony that you get? Can you really put a price tag on the amazing feeling of liberation that you often get after meditation?
You have to understand that you’re carrying a lot in your mind. You’re worrying about a lot of stuff in the future. You even be carrying emotional baggage from the past. Those are precisely the kinds of things mindfulness will liberate you from.
So, stop looking at the price you have to pay and focus instead on the amazing mental and emotional riches that you stand to gain.