Can anyone meditate?

Man meditatingThe short answer is “yes.”

Sex, age, nationality, religion, previous experience, social conditioning, genetic makeup — these are all unimportant. Anyone can learn to meditate. You don’t have to travel to the Himalayas, give up all your money, find a guru, or spend hours every day in an ashram in order to learn meditation.

Forget any ideas that you have to be really “spiritual” (whatever that means) to practice meditation. You don’t need any “innate ability” to be able to meditate, any more than you need special powers to be able to learn to ride a bike or to use a computer. Some people take more naturally to meditation than others, but anyone can do it and benefit from doing it.

All it takes is a little effort, and the conviction that some things are worth persevering with. Sometimes your meditation practice will be instantly rewarding — which fits with our “instant gratification” culture — but other times it will challenge you. At those times it’s best to remember that when you are growing flowers, there is some digging and weeding to be done as well.

This kind of work isn’t instantly rewarding, but it will repay your effort with interest. Of course there will be many times when doing your meditation practice is like slipping into a warm bath, and you’ll emerge feeling calmed, energized, and refreshed.

You will find that meditation benefits you even if you do as little as 10 or fifteen minutes a day (although if you do more, you’ll benefit more).

The most important thing is persistence — keeping at it despite the natural ups and downs you’ll experience.