First of all, you don't need to read any hefty or hard to understand books to meditate. Of course, it's more than okay if you want to! I love to read about anything and everything, but I know not everyone does, and that's more than okay. Meditation is not a lofty out of reach practice for only a select few. We can all do it. I think one of the biggest misunderstandings about meditation is that you have to do it a certain way. That's just not true. If someone ever tells you that, they are being what I think of as a "meditation snob". Ignore anyone who makes you feel inferior. You are no less divine or capable of having a solid meditation practice as anyone else. The thing is that we are each unique. We each have a different energy frequency and we each find connection to that place of stillness and peace in our own special way.
If you have trouble meditating, I challenge you to think outside the box. Find your own way! Remember, the point of meditation is to quieten your mind. Hush that chitter chatter, so to speak. Release that feeling of being an individual and let yourself melt into the web of life for a few moments. You could feel the breeze blowing, hear the birds, try to feel the energy flowing into the trees from the sun above and the earth below. Silently observe the clouds moving and shifting and morphing. The point is to observe, feel, be a part of... and let any thoughts or reaction slip away.
Another idea for meditating is to pick a special object. Take your time finding it. You may already have something in mind, such as a feather, a stone, a flower, or maybe an abstract painting or a photograph of the stars, small animal totems, etc. You can probably tell I prefer nature elements, but you're not limited to that. Just find something that YOU can connect with in a way that doesn't stir up the "monkey mind". Simply sit quietly and meditate on/with that object. Really merge with it and see it as if you were it and it were you. The point is to take you out of yourself and into the realm of "self-less-ness". That place where the division between "you" and "it" no longer exists.
Nothing sounding great so far??? Maybe you're the type of person that can get lost in a beautiful piece of music? The kind of lost where time stands still? Music may very well be your path for meditation. Many people who've tried other forms of meditation and have felt intimidated have had amazing success with music. There are so many forms of music... classical, instrumental, drumming, Native American flutes, even more modern alternative forms can work. I would suggest staying away from music with lyrics, or at least have limited lyrics as the words can get your brain into the wrong space. You want a space where you aren't "thinking". Rather, find something that helps you let go of thoughts and wraps you up in the sound, giving your brain a break from active thinking.
Although, you don't want music too heavy with lyrics, words CAN help you meditate. Choosing a single word, or a combination of words (a mantra) can help you get into a meditative state of mind. Also repetitive sounds such as the well-known "OM" can hush a noisy mind. Also, just spontaneously humming random sounds, making up your own music or combination of sounds can be effectively calming. Remember, the point is to not think. If you find that you are, no worries. Please don't beat yourself up about it. As soon as you realize you are thinking, observe the thought without reaction or judgement, then gently let it drift away and return to your quiet space.
One of the most common methods of meditation is to simply observe your own breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Maybe intentionally slowing it, or trying the 4 square method: Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. So many people find this relaxing. However, I will admit that I am not a fan of breathing meditation. For some reason it seems to have an opposite effect on me and puts me into a state of agitation instead of relaxation, so it isn't my personal first choice. I don't beat myself up about it either. Like I said earlier, everyone is different and one person's method may not be another's and that is to be embraced. Find YOUR way!
Another method worth mentioning here is walking meditation. Just simply walk and focus on one step at a time. Feel each time your foot connects to the earth and stay in the moment. Notice what's around you or how your body is feeling. Just keep your mind in check as best you can. "In the Moment" is key. No worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, or the laundry waiting at home. As soon as you realize your mind has wandered, let it go and softly come back to where you are in time and space.
There are so many ways to meditate, and I can't possibly list them all here, nor do I want to; that isn't the point of this piece. The point is to tell you that it's okay to break out of the box if there is nothing in that box for YOU. And don't not meditate because you don't "know how". There are no rules you have to follow. You deserve the quiet refuge you will find. Your mind and body will thank you. It's worth trying out a few different ways, or totally making up your own way. MAKING UP YOUR OWN WAY IS OKAY! You may discover a totally non-traditional way to meditate, and that would be awesome. Whatever lovely way you find to soothe your mind into that special space that gives you a much needed break from the day to day, THAT shall be your meditation. <3
I'll wrap this up with a fitting quote about finding your own way, I think it's spot on... I hope you take a few minutes to reflect upon it.