Something I hear a lot is that people have a hard time meditating consistently.
Maybe they do it every few weeks. Mostly, they only do it in a crisis. Or they just can’t sit still.
You may be surprised to know that a lot of other teachers I know started out as crisis meditators- including yours truly- (meaning meditating only as a last resort during a time of stress- and sporatically), and as people who thought they could never sit still.
But how did they move from meditation as a last resort, to meditating every day? Twice a day even? And liking it?
I find that some of the trouble people have as new meditators is caused by the misconceptions about this practice that circulate in the media (online, in movies, etc.). Those portrayals are absorbed by our subconscious mind, and can contribute to our apprehension.
Picture a beautiful man or woman sitting on an oceanside cliff, wind ruffling their well, yet subtly coiffed hair. The sun is illuminating their stylist-chosen yoga outfit, and glowy complexion. Or maybe they are in a garden in Bali, sitting near a pool with lotus blossoms and tea lights floating in it.
Peace. Serenity. Bliss. Perfect. Ideal. Natural. Not!
We think that this is meditation. While beautiful, and sometimes true, it’s not a totally accurate vision.
Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture.
My point is that meditation is often portrayed as something that you should just be able to sit down and do. Switch on. The minute you sit down and close your eyes, you enter this state of perfect bliss and connection. It should be effortless, and wonderful. You should be happy. Floating on a cloud. No thoughts. All is silent. All is well.
It’s like a free app download that has the option of in-app purchases. We get the whole program through installments.
The currency of meditation practice is consistency. I know…..bummer!
Here are 5 remedies for crisis meditating, or lack of commitment (besides loving yourself anyway!):
- Remember, meditation is not a quick fix. It is a cumulative practice, and the benefits show up in your life subtly at first.
- There is not really any such thing as a ‘perfect’ meditation session. Whatever happens- thoughts, tears, planning, total silence, frustration, angelic visions (or all of the above)- that is part of it. The only imperfect meditation is the one you don’t show up for.
- While meditating in beautiful places or at sacred sites is something many meditators dream of (I would personally like to meditate near the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England), you don’t have to go anywhere different to connect with your heart. Wherever you go, there you are! Meditating in the guest room while you let your kids watch their favorite tv program in the living room is perfectly perfect.
- The sense of connection and wellbeing that meditation can bring doesn’t always happen during practice. The results are most noticeable in daily life. At the meeting. Driving in traffic. Waiting in line. Having the difficult conversation. Giving the presentation.
- Get in touch with the reasons why you want to cultivate a meditation practice. Do you want to navigate relationships better? Stress less? Focus more? Connect to your Higher Self? Communicate gracefully? Any of these things and more are possible. The key is to stay in touch with your deep reasons for why you meditate, or would like to.
I hope you have found something useful in this post!
Love, love, Alexa.