My Struggles With Meditation

My Resistance With Meditation

How many of us have heard that we should be meditating? Most of us, right? The scientific evidence for the benefits of meditation has been proven time and time again. But still, many of us seem to ignore this fact.

I know this all too well. I struggle with anxiety. I have for a long time. And with the known benefits of what meditation could do for me, I still resist to sit down and do it. Why do I have so much resistance to it?

Now that I have a technique that I practice (well practice in theory), just reminding myself that I haven’t done it in a while can bring me even more anxiety. Counterproductive right?

I say to myself, “I’ll do meditate as soon as I wake up after I go to the toilet and have a drink of water. Climb back into bed and get into it.” I feel like my day would start on the right foot if I did this. Yet, days, weeks, and months go by, and I still haven’t started it.

It’s interesting, I know that my anxiety will get better if I practice, but each day comes around, and I have a million other things competing for that time.

So, as always, the meditation gets pushed aside yet again. Other things are a bigger priority, or so I think. What are these other tasks that take priority over something that should be as fundamental as eating and sleeping, in my opinion?

Pushing through the resistance

You see, every day that I wake up and have my to-do list running through my head, meditation has long gone. The thought of practising meditation that morning has not even crossed my mind.

I always find reasons as to why I don’t have the time. However, the simple act of paying attention to the coming and going of this breath can be truly transformational and so simple.

I have to work on reprioritising my life. I can start small. At least ten minutes a day. I mean, I can surely squeeze in ten minutes somewhere every single day.

If people that are very successful in life and have a schedule that would make me want to have a heart attack can find the time to practice meditation every day, then surely I can.

On that note, renowned author, Tim Ferriss interviewed a bunch of high performing people and the common thread between them all is that they mediated. He talks about this in his book Tools for Titans.

Every interview that I’ve watched or listened to that involved high achievers when asked about their daily habits or things they can’t live without, meditation is the thing that gets mentioned every single time.

There are so many types of meditations out there, from guided to yogic style meditation, and the style where you learn techniques to deepen the experience.

Using minimalism to make that time

Using minimalist principles of eliminating what’s not essential to you so you can create space for the important things in life, is such an effective task. So, I’ll sit down and plan out what is essential and making sure I eliminate the things that stop me from pursuing other more important things.

Yes, we talk about this all the time. But we’re all on this path to learn. And I feel like I’m getting there, slowly.

So the list would look something like this.

Eliminate/reduce:

  • Watching brainless TV shows or movies most evenings
  • Spend less time on social media
  • Checking my phone too often

Make time for:

  • Meditation, meditation, meditation!
  • Eating at the dining table
  • Baths
  • Massaging my feet
  • Journaling
  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Homemade chai

Now, how can I make these things feel essential in my life? Creating those habits over time will make them become an essential part of my day. I can certainly say that looking at the list above; I can feel that benefit from all of those things but one. Meditation.

Meditation, to me, isn’t something that I get excited about. It’s also not something that I finish and go “wow, that was amazing!”, but the thing with meditation is to persist. And persist even though you may not feel any different straight away.

I mean, one thing that it will always make me feel is more relaxed, almost sleepy. This is why I never do it in the evenings because I’ll more often than not just fall asleep. That is a clear benefit, feeling relaxed. But is that enough? Is that all that I’ll get out of it? Who knows at this point.

So I’m setting myself a challenge to start to focus my attention on feeling the benefits of meditation, rather than seeing it as a waste of time or a higher expectation for my return on time invested.

Quietening my busy mind and giving myself some space (besides sleep) to not feel anxiety on days like today. I know it sounds simple, but for me, it’s not. The main point here is that I’m willing to try.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you meditate? Do you struggle with it? What have you done to make it a habit in your everyday life? Has anxiety caused issues in you getting started with meditation or other healthy habits?

My Struggles with Meditation

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  • Leah 09/06/2019 Reply

    The timing of this post was truly uncanny. After nearly two months since my last go at meditation, I decided it was time to pull out my bolster and find a quiet nook in my apartment. It was a struggle as my mind danced around, but I made it through a 12-minute guided meditation on YouTube. The outcome? I felt calmer, more in the present moment, and it reminded me that I should do it more. The next thing I did was check my phone and what was the new email in my inbox? – this post! I agree with so many things here, and think you’re right that meditation isn’t necessarily exciting which may be why it’s so hard to get into. It seemingly doesn’t light up the reward center of my brain the way getting into nature or moving my body or watching TV does. And the benefits seem to come on slowly and subtly, so we don’t have instant gratification of the good it is doing for our bodies and minds. Still, as you state, the evidence is in: meditation is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
    In short, this article was a lovely affirmation of the meditation practice I had just experienced, and a nice reminder that meditation is worth making a habit, as difficult as it may be at first. If we have 10 minutes for Instagram, we have 10 minutes for meditation. 🙂

    • Thank you, Leah, for sharing that with me. You’ve put it so beautifully. Glad to hear it came at the right time for you! I like how you put that the benefits come slowly and subtly. They certainly do, and in 2019 it’s getting harder and harder to recognise things at such a slow pace when we get instant gratification from so many other things around us. Keep the meditation going, I’m cheering you on from the sidelines 🙂

    • Rhea 10/06/2019 Reply

      Hi Leah, would you share the 12 minute YouTube meditation link? I tried meditating many years ago in a religious setting. Images of children being abused kept creeping into my head. I found out later that boys had been abused there, so I’m nervous about trying again, but open to meditating alone and at home.

      • Hi Rhea, I’m sorry to hear about your experience! There are certainly many guided meditations you can find online. Hopefully, Leah can share her video with you. Another option is the Headspace app. It’s a great one for guided meditations. I hope you get back into it. Best of luck x

  • Steven 09/06/2019 Reply

    I have the same experience that you have with meditation. I “know” it would be beneficial in the long run, but I have yet to string together enough sessions to feel that I really have a practice. And frankly, I “have” the time — I’m retired, I’ve already broken the TV habit, so frankly there’s no excuse — for some reason unknown to me, I’m avoiding it.

    Today I was listening to a podcast of Ram Dass (on his Be Here Now network — I love his early talks, BTW). He mentioned a different practice he uses, along side meditation, and that is reflection after reading some spiritual material. This is something I used to do in the past, always early in the mornings, that really got my introspective and creative muscles moving.

    So I’m going to give myself the option — try one or the other (reflection or meditation) for 30 minutes a day. See what happens. Find if they are complementary. I think this may be a win-win alternative to simply beating myself up for not consistently meditating.

    Best of luck to us both 😉

    • Glad to hear you can relate. It’s funny, isn’t it? Sometimes even with all the time in the world, there are certain habits that have a barrier we can’t seem to push through.
      Thanks for sharing the podcast, I’ll make sure to check it out!
      Sounds like a good plan, report back and let us know how you go if you like.
      Thanks!

  • Peter 09/06/2019 Reply

    I have had similar struggles with meditation. It helped me to overcome compulsive or addictive thoughts or thought processes and the compulsive acting on them. How it does it – It offers an opportunity to intervene my thinking. It reminds me that I often have to take the back seat in my head and just observe what is going on in the frontline.
    I had a conversation once with someone about this and they asked me what do I enjoy the most about meditation and I found it hard to answer because I don’t do it from the view of consumerism, that is engraved in our culture, meaning that “If I do this I will gain this or that” For me it is not for gaining anything or seeking enjoyment in it and being frustrated when enjoyment doesn’t always come directly from doing it. The concept that helped me to understand it is to find the gaps or spaces inbetween my thoughts and try to make the spaces longer each time.
    Good luck with your meditation and keep up the good work!

    • I love the way that you’ve described it Peter! Very refreshing. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • Ula 09/06/2019 Reply

    I found that sitting practice is very difficult as I am a rather twitchy person. So I do moving meditation.
    I practice a Japanese system of movement Shintaido and the standing meditation that takes you through 10 different positions is very effective. I do it standing in the garden or indoors, but I prefer an outdoor space in nature. The eyes are not closed but outward looking so you absorb the flow of nature around you. It incorporates breathing and an internal counting of the breath between positions. This is part of a longer more active sequence. Great for stillness

  • Chiara 10/06/2019 Reply

    Thanks Masa and all for sharing this.
    I have been struggling many years with the consistency of my meditation practise.
    Recently I have started a routine to wake up earlier to do at least 15 min of yoga and 15 min of meditation before going to work, and consequently going to bed earlier avoiding wasting time with social media/movies or other nonsense late in the evening, still struggling, but some improvement is slowly happening.
    Sometimes I guess this struggle it’s a kind of initial reaction of the mind that doesn’t want to be ‘tamed’ and keeps attached to foolish thoughts as it is easier to look out instead of inside, so whenever we try to calm it, the mind is sending us distractions and sense of tiredness that eventually make us difficult to cope with consistency. Some call it the ‘monkey mind’ beacuse as a monkey that jumps from a twig to another so the mind jumps to one useles thought to the other being incapable to keep calm and present.
    Make our minds understand that meditation is leading to a peaceful state is not an easy step, as perceived by the mind as a revolution and revolutions are never peaceful at the beginning.
    A meditation master used to say “If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate” .
    Wish you all the best.
    Chiara

    • Thanks for sharing Chiara. I know that feeling all too well, and this is where I struggle the most too. In the evenings when you want to unwind but also want to get a good nights sleep. It seems like a constant battle.
      Love what you’ve shared, really connected with me. Thanks again 🙂

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