How to Finally Convince Your Friends to Meditate
You can do it if you play it cool
Ever since I’ve tried meditation, I’ve been an evangelist. When you find something wonderful, you want to share it with others. This is why my desire to share meditation with people is ceaseless.
But as anyone who’s tried to convince others to meditate can tell you, it’s not always easy.
Every time I speak to my friends, the topic of meditation comes up. They want to ask me more about my practice and the transformation that I’ve gone through.
They want everything I have — controlled anger, the ability to quit bad habits and develop good habits, increased focus, higher willpower, and so on.
But they don’t want to meditate.
I don’t blame them though. The end result attracts everyone. When we see someone succeeding, we want the same thing for ourselves. The problem is, we’re not always willing to go through what they went through.
Even though I’m intelligent enough to know this, I still jump at every opportunity to talk about meditation and endorse it to my friends. I also offer to hold them accountable so they stick to their practice. I send them links for courses and online classes all the time.
And they seem to love it!
So what’s the problem? They don’t take action.
Every conversation ends up with “This is great! I know I should be doing this, but…” There’s always an excuse.
If you’re someone like me, you realize how much it hurts to hear this. After all the joy and calmness I’ve experienced after meditation, I wish everyone in a 10-mile radius should try it!
After all such attempts, we all often come to a point where we realize that stating the benefits is not going to do it. Sending them links, articles, and making a good case for meditation is not enough.
Here are some points you need to take care of when you start on your journey to convince others of meditation.
The More You Care, The More You Will Fall
Your desire to share with others is great. When we find something working for us, we want others to have it.
But if you want to control their behavior, your ego will get involved. It’s a deep need inside us to have control over our environment and the people around us.
And thus, while you may think you’re the one thinking of their benefit, you might be hurting yourself in the process.
It’s easy to think everything will be perfect if they start meditating. But that’s not the best reaction on your part.
Share what you have with others, but accept whatever they do as is.
Don’t obsess over a change in their behavior. If you get angry or upset because the people around you are not meditating, what message does that send them?
You might end up scaring them away from meditation forever. So help them, but be at peace with yourself and the situation around you.
The Desire To Meditate Needs To Come From Within
The desire to meditate, just like anything else should come from within.
Real change happens only when people have a burning desire to change.
If an obese kid doesn’t believe that getting slimmer will be of any benefit, he’ll not take care of his health. But if he sees he can win a running competition he yearns for, he will train himself.
The moment the pain of inaction becomes greater than the pain of growth, a person spurs into action.
Similarly, only when the desire of a person to meditate is deep enough, can he start a practice. Once the desire is planted, it will manifest itself sooner or later.
If you force meditation on someone, they won’t accept it. After all, it will always be your idea. Anything that comes from others is rarely accepted if it doesn’t align with your own self-image.
So take it easy and give them time. If it’s bound to happen, it will happen.
Lead By Example
When I played basketball as a kid, I used to love watching games and documentaries of famous players. Why? Because it gave me hope. It showed me what life can be like if I perform better.
Watching those tapes was a huge catalyst to get me to spend extra hours at basketball practice.
Similarly, what do you think is a good way to help others to meditate? Let them see you as a shining example.
Everyone is looking for happiness, joy, calmness, and peace. No one who’s meditated for long enough has ever said “Oh what a scam!”
And so when people see those qualities in you, they will ask you “What’s your secret?” “How are you so calm?” That’s when you plug in your knowledge of meditation.
This can only happen when you become strong enough in your practice. Thus, paradoxically, the best way to help others is to improve yourself.
We meditators can often look down on people who don’t meditate. It’s as if we know something they don’t due to which we deserve to be on a pedestal. This is another ego trap.
The more you give yourself importance, the greater will be the distance between you and aspiring meditators.
If you look down on them, they’ll never relate to you. And if they don’t relate to you, they’ll never think meditation is possible for them.
Instead, share your experiences and be vulnerable. Tell them how you sucked when you started. Tell them how you couldn’t find the time, couldn’t stop your thoughts, and countless other examples to show them they can also do it.
Don’t deprecate yourself. Be honest and say it how it is. This will give them confidence that they also can achieve what you’ve achieved.
Be Supportive. Don’t Condemn or Judge
Don’t condemn or judge people for failing in their practice, missing it, or not being as serious about it as you are.
Everyone has their own path to follow. Rather, be supportive and give them the confidence they desperately need.
Reply To Common Excuses
To further tackle the common questions or excuses that people make, I wrote an article a few days ago: Surprising Reasons People Don’t Meditate Even If They Want To
You can’t just step in front of a person, shake them up, and tell them to meditate.
All you can do is deepen your practice, point them in the right direction, and then watch the drama unfold. Don’t be attached to the outcome. Don’t ruin your peace over their life.
When their souls are ready for it, they will be attracted to the practice. Be a silent friend guiding them whenever they need you and who knows, they just might end up doing what you want!