Images of monks and priests sitting atop a mountain might be the first thing you think of when someone mentions meditation. However, the uncomfortable reality for most of us is anything but a serene mountain practice. Many people struggle to meditate or make comments like "Meditation just isn't for me, I can't stop my mind from racing". With so many health and wellness experts touting the benefits of meditation, it may be time you gave your practice another shot or at least re-invigorate a potentially stale practice with some new techniques. After working with clients as a meditation and self healing coach for the last 2 years I have crafted a list of the top 5 reasons why you might be failing at your meditation practice and what to do about them.
You tried to clear your mind
Clearing your mind is the worst advice a beginner or even an experienced meditator can receive. Its simply not possible. In order to fully embrace a practice of meditation, we must also embrace, not vilify the mind. Over the years the ego and the mind have been interwined as teachers and gurus have spoken about the evils of the ego. These two are not synonymous. The use of the mind is necessary to help bring about our evolution as a society, don't vilify it. Instead as you sit to meditate, embrace the mind, check in with it, understand what's happening in your mental landscape and allow the thoughts to float through the sky like clouds on a beautiful day. Some of my best meditations have been those where I let my mind wander but didn't let it take control of my practice.
You didn't move enough
Many teachers say that you must meditate first thing in the morning to reap the benefits and that simply doesn't work for everyone. Many of us don't have good take off and landing practices when we go to bed and wake up in the morning so we awake first thing in the morning groggy and unfocused, not exactly the best time to meditate. Many of my clients find that some movement like a gentle yoga practice or walk around the block is needed before they can't sit down to meditate. Other clients might choose to break up their day by meditating on their lunch break and even more will choose to do their meditations at the end of the work day to help clear out any energies that might have crept in during the day. The point is that there is no one size fits all in this equation, find what works best for you and have some fun experimenting with different combinations of movement/activity and meditation.
Your meditation practice had no purpose
Sitting down to meditate because we've been told its good for us doesn't work for most people. In order to create a practice and a habit we need to be motivated, that's just the way humans are built. So if you have no intention or purpose for your meditation practice then you haven't set a goal for yourself and developing a consistent practice may be difficult. When I work with clients I teach them purposeful meditation practices in the vein of self healing techniques that will have an impact on their lives. You may choose to adopt a meditation practice to reduce stress or help you sleep better, whatever the goal, make sure there is a purpose or intention in mind when you sit down to meditate. This will help keep you motivated and will also help you to tailor the tools you adopt to assist you in your meditation practice (see next section).
You have no meditation tools
There are so many resources available today to help you build your meditation practice. Online apps like Headspace and BrainWave are a dime a dozen now and if you have a purpose or intent behind your meditation you can begin to hone in on the best tools to fit your practice. You can also hire a meditation coach or teacher to help you develop your meditation practice into something that is truly transformative. Even just some light trance style music or binaural beats can be used in the background to aid your brain as it relaxes into meditation. Don't suffer through in silence.
You gave up too soon
They don't call it a meditation practice because everyone can be a pro the first time at bat. Some days you may have the most glorious of meditations and other days you may struggle to maintain a simple seated position with your eyes closed. In order to make a habit out of something you must give it a valiant effort day after day, but not push yourself so hard that it becomes something you dread. Meditation is one of the best forms of self care I recommend to my clients and if done properly it can truly reshape your entire life. So keep at it and don't let your current mental state of frustration with meditation affect your potential future self. You too can be heavily meditated and relaxed like the guru on top of a beautiful mountain without ever having to leave your living room.
I'm offering a free guided meditation that is purpose built to help you ground your energy, clear out any blockages and call in calm, ease and peace into your life. Would you like access to it? Click below to sign up to receive it.