If you are new to meditation or just thinking of giving it a try, read this article to know how to overcome the 5 most common struggles:
1. “I can’t stop thinking”
Here’s the thing: you shouldn’t expect a blank mind, actually. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings about meditation. Once you learn that meditation includes observing your thoughts but not attaching to them, then the relief is quite astounding. You are not a bad meditator just because you have distracting thoughts.
2. “I don’t have time to meditate”
Meditation does not mean you need to carve out 30 or 60 minutes per day, especially as a beginner. People feel the benefits of meditation even with 5 or 10 minutes per day, or even pausing during your busy day to take 3 deep, slow, mindful breaths. And if you don’t think you can set aside 10 minutes per day, just question whether you need to be watching that TV show or browsing the internet. It’s a matter of priority, right?
3. “I fall asleep when I try to meditate”
Sometimes you might just simply be tired and need to sleep. But often, our brains are conditioned to think ‘my eyes are closed, it’s time to sleep!’. With practice, we learn to stay alert even with our eyes closed. Also, sitting up straight, but relaxed, will help you stay awake. Don’t flop on the sofa to meditate!
4. “I don’t want to sit there and do nothing”
Another misunderstanding about meditation is that you sit and do nothing. Meditation is actually a very active activity – you are actively concentrating on the object of your meditation and noticing when your mind has wandered, without judgment, and then return your attention to your meditation. You learn to be a curious observer during meditation so it’s far from ‘doing nothing’.
5. “My body hurts during meditation”
Although there are a few formal meditation traditions that suggest you should not move a muscle during your meditation, it’s generally fine to adjust for comfort. It may take some experimentation for you to find a good meditation position (sitting in a chair, on a meditation cushion, on a meditation bench, etc). During the meditation, if you need to move, it’s fine to move slowly and mindfully.
I have taught over 1,000 people how to meditate, and these are the top 5 most common challenges that people have. How about you? If you have any questions about meditation, I welcome emails at Wendy@TheCalmMonkey.com. I hope this has been helpful to you.
~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey