In the frantic pace of modern-day living, many people approach meditation as a way to improve their powers of concentration, calm and clear their mind and achieve a sense of inner peace. However, from conversations with students and friends it appears that the actual process of meditating is fraught with challenges which in some cases prevent you from sticking with your practice.
Read on to see what these challenges are and how you can avoid them.
Three Obstacles To Overcome When You Meditate
Obstacle One: Being Present and Staying Focused
As a meditation teacher I often meet people who ask me to teach them to meditate. However, in reality, I feel a bit of a fraud as I believe you can’t teach someone how to meditate per se. All I can do is to offer you specific tools and techniques to aid your process. What you do with that information is up to you.
Meditation is a journey not a destination. In this goal-orientated society, meditation has become another “thing” people feel they have to do as part of their spiritual, professional and personal development. Many beginners set out with the intention to do as if they have to reach a certain destination rather than view their practice as a tool just to be.
You are born to meditate, the same way you are genetically wired to walk talk and eat. However because of the nature of the mind it is hard to develop the necessary self-control needed to remain in a meditative state without drifting off in to a daydream cum trance like state.
Solution:Practice Mindfulness Meditation
To be “successful” at meditation, you need to release your attachment to the expected goal of having a desired outcome. To a beginner it can be difficult to experience, however next time you sit down to meditate, or better still when you are out and about in your daily life, practice the art of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a meditation technique in which you are fully aware of and present of what is happening right now without judgement or reaction to the observation.
Obstacle Two: You Fall Asleep When You Meditate
From experience I know how easy it is to fall asleep when you meditate. It is simple to do. You sit down to meditate and because you are so tired, instead of sitting upright and meditating, you find yourself swaying, nodding off and eventually falling asleep.
Solution: Get More Rest
Sleep is your body’s way to rest and repair. If you find yourself drifting off when you meditate than accept what your body is telling you. Go to sleep. You will wake up refreshed and in a better state to meditate. If it isn’t possible for you to sleep, try doing a few rounds of yoga breathing exercises or practice these simple seated yoga stretches to energize your body. If sleep is a problem for you, check your diet, try to avoid eating late at night and find a way to reschedule your routine so you get at least 6-7 hours restful sleep every night. It is a vicious circle. The more you meditate the more energy you will have yet if you are sleep deprived you struggle to have the energy to mediate.
Obstacle Three: Lack of Time
Trying to fit in meditation into your already full schedule can seem like a nightmare. This has to be the biggest obstacle to overcome. Everyone is busy and trying to fit in another activity can seem like an insurmountable task. Yet, in the long run, the more you meditate, the easier it becomes to find the space and time to meditate.
Solution: Develop A Routine
When you start meditation it is easy to be enthusiastic and think you can meditate anytime anywhere. In fact, it takes time and effort to find a gap in your schedule to meditate. Be gentle and honest re your time availability. It is better to take a couple of days to look at your current schedule and see how you could realistically set aside 10-15 every day, to meditate, than to try to squeeze in an manic 60 minute schedule “sometime” during the week.
You could aim to wake up 20 minutes earlier or switch of the TV 20 minutes earlier at a night-time. A good idea and which has worked well for me is to meditate with a friend. You haven’t got mediate in the same place but find someone who will agree to meditate the same time as you. My friend and I used to take it in turns to phone each other every morning whilst we were setting up our meditation schedule. As meditation buddies we held each other accountable.
Like all new projects, practice makes perfect. If you wish to reap the benefits of meditation you need to release your attachment to the desired outcome, allow yourself to be present to what is going on inside you, to rest when you are tired and to practice at the same time every day.
Finally, what’s your experience of meditation?
If you are new to meditation what other pitfalls have you noticed when you mediate? I would love to hear your views. Share your thoughts in the comment box below and don’t forget to share the love via twitter or Facebook.
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