Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

5 Ways to Meditate If You Don't Like to Meditate

I learned to meditate in rehab.

Every Friday afternoon we would sit, 20 women, in various stages of post acute withdrawal, squirrely and distracted, in chairs crammed uncomfortably close around a boardroom table, with no air conditioning in mid-summer's heat. I hated it.  Until I loved it

Meditation can be a hard practice.  Especially silent meditation, sitting alone in stillness for sustained lengths of time is not everybody's cup of tea.

But the gifts of meditation are astounding.  Not only do we find a calmness and peace that we can carry through our days, science is showing that it improves memory, attention span, and decision making abilities as well as improving blood pressure, reducing stress, and contributing to mental health.

I assure you that you can grow to love meditation without having to ever having to sit criss-cross-applesauce on a floor pillow and saying "uummmm" (unless you want to).  Here are 5 ways to start a simple meditation practice.

1. Guided meditation.  You can find videos on youtube or download an app like Insight Timer.  Find a guide whose voice doesn't grate on you and whose directions feel natural to you.  Give it enough tries to find what styles you prefer.  I don't like meditations that tell me when to breathe, they stress me out.  But I love full body relaxation meditations right before bed, they help me to loosen up and sink right into my pillowtop.  Start with shorter meditations and work your way up.

2. Walking meditation.  How much of your time spent walking is spent in your head, thinking about the day behind you or events approaching?  Try instead to notice the world around you.  Use as many as your senses as you can.  What do you see? What can you hear?  Close by? In the distance?  Do you smell anything? What does the air feel like on your face? Or the ground under your feet?  Be aware of how your body feels, of what pace feels comfortable, and who and what you share your space with.

3. Meditating on Music.  Choose a song that you find encouraging, put in your earbuds, and sit comfortably while you listen carefully to each word with your whole being.  One of my favourite songs for this is Control by Tenth Avenue North.

4. Washing your Dish.  After a meal, wash the dishes you just used by hand, in silence, focusing on the chore itself and your gratitude for the food, the body it nourishes, the implements you used to eat and cook.

5. Mindful Cooking.  Set aside time to cook alone, without distracting yourself with television or intrusive thoughts about the day.  Instead, notice the smell that bursts from the fresh pepper when you slice into it and the sound of the ingredients sizzling in a pan.  Express your gratitude for each item you pull from the fridge or pantry.  When your mind wanders, as it will, gently pull yourself back to your present task.

As a beginner, meditation can seem intimidating and awkward.  Been there, done that.  Just start slow and allow yourself grace, as your mind is bound to wander.  Gently keep bringing yourself back to the present moment and in time you will find it becoming easier, more natural, and a favourite part of your day.

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  1. Kelly, oh how i have tried to meditate. I always find myself writing my shopping list in my head, drafting a todo list, or even replaying the dreaded pinterest in my mind ! I need to keep practicing various forms of meditation until i find something that relaxes my mind. I think the key is to not get frustrated and giving up on meditation when you get distracted. Ease the mind back and keep on trying !

    Thanks for the tips - i shall try those.

    Enjoy the day .... Debbie

  2. Meditation without the Lord is for not.
    the Scriptures tell us to Meditate on HIS WORD.. Not mindless wanderings. Mindless , self meditation is new age garbage.