Why Meditation Doesn’t Work (for you)
I’ve heard people verbally beat themselves up over not “knowing how” to meditate. Here are several reasons it’s not working for them:
- Expectations – If you set your expectations before trying something, you’re probably going to be wrong, and disappointed. Enter into it with an open mind realizing you have no idea what it’s going to be like. Many people expect some exestential or exotic experience. You may have that, and if so, shoot me an email and let me know what it’s like… because I meditate, and that’s not how it goes for me.
- Going alone – It’s fine to meditate alone, but when you’re first getting started it helps to have a meditation group or mentor to guide you through some initial questions.
- Self-Judgment – Why in the world do people hold themselves to impossible standards? Of course when you’re new at something you won’t reach expert status in 15 minutes. Be patient. Oh, and also give yourself a break. Meditating for five minutes at first is quite a long time. Maybe start with two minutes.
- Inconsistent – You won’t become proficient at anything without regularity.
- Escaping reality – If meditation sounds alluring so you can escape your life, go another route. Meditation actually brings you into a greater sense of awareness on a different level of understanding. I’ve heard it explained like the layers of the ocean: there’s the rough surf on top, the medium-grade movement in the middle, and the dead-still of the bottom. Meditation happens in the world with a million things going around you (surf), your own body’s impulses (middle), and your mind that is still in the midst of it all (bottom). You’re not escaping reality- you’ll be finding how to exist within it more peacefully.
- Exhaustion – Anything you prioritize is going to get your attention and energy. If learning how to meditate is a priority, you won’t save it for the last part of your day when you’re tired. If you do, you’re planning to fail or at very least not have a very successful experience.
- Religious fear – Meditation has absolutely nothing to do with a belief set. Anyone can do it whether they are Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Pagan, Atheist, or anywhere between. Meditation takes you into your own body and mind, so what is believed within that body and mind is present in your meditation. You don’t have to bow to an idol that contradicts your beliefs.
- Underestimating the skill level – On one hand, meditating is easy. On the other hand, it’s extremely difficult. Cut yourself some slack.
Start small, find a meditation group or buddy, and don’t get anxious about something that is purposed to bring you peace.