Is Meditation Right for You?


Perhaps you’ve heard there are many benefits to be gained from meditation, but aren’t sure whether it’s right for you. You might be concerned about challenges like needing to sit for prolonged periods and avoiding distractions. Perhaps you fidget, or your inner voice chatters all the time, and you think you won’t be able to concentrate. These answers to your queries will help you determine whether meditation is suitable for you.

Will I have enough time?

No doubt, you’ve seen monks who meditate on TV documentaries for hours on end, and you know you don’t have that much time to spend practicing. At first, however, you’ll only want to meditate for a few minutes a day. 

As you become more experienced, you may like to extend meditation sessions. Sessions can be as short as five minutes or might last for hours; it’s up to you. Studies show the length of time you practice isn’t as important as how regularly you meditate. So, ten minutes might be as good as two hours a day.

What if I can’t sit still?

Few beginners remain still for long. The ability to sit in comfort for longer periods grows the more you practice. But you need not force yourself to stay seated in meditation for longer than is comfortable. Add a minute or two a day as you wish. You’ll soon get used to sitting quietly.

Meditation might be a little too woo woo for me

The term “woo woo” means the same now as “far out” meant in the sixties. Some people look upon meditation as a radical spiritual practice suitable for committed New Age advocates and individuals who adhere to strict lifestyles based on extreme well-being measures.

The truth, though, is people from all walks of life and with various beliefs and lifestyles practice. You need not rise at dawn to meditate on a velvet cushion made by nuns in the Himalayas, burn incense, or chant to enjoy meditation.

Must I attend a meditation class?

While it helps to gain support from an experienced instructor, you need not join a class unless you want to. Some people find being among other meditators helpful too, but this doesn’t mean the same is true for you.

It’s fine to practice at home indoors, in your garden, or on a hilltop; whichever feels right is best. You can also join meditation sessions online if you fancy or listen to guided audios.

My inner voice doesn’t stop. Does this mean I can’t meditate?

Don’t worry. The point of meditation isn’t to make self-talk stop, although it’s likely to slow down as a consequence of practicing. When you meditate, you learn to detach from your thoughts. Giving them less relevance than you might otherwise helps you step away from them and enjoy peace and calm. 

The process of detachment takes a different timespan for each person, so there’s no right or wrong involved. If your inner voice pipes up, you can acknowledge its presence and return your focus to your breath. The more you practice, the simpler doing so will become.

Most of the concerns people face about meditation stem from the idea you can get it wrong. Realistically, meditation is flexible and can be tailored to suit individual preferences. So, you might meditate while walking, for instance, or when sitting at a desk.

Or, you might practice for three minutes a day for months, until you feel ready to lengthen sessions. If your worries haven’t all been addressed, ask an experienced mediator or meditation teacher. Or, you might find an online course or book helpful.