I started meditating in 1974 when i was in my teens, but then i had a break of 35 years! That first experience was extraordinary. (See the full story here) but as life intervened, i got busy and i lost the knack. i tried many times over those 35 years to reestablish the connection but, for some reason, the technique i had been taught didn’t work for me anymore.
One of those times i went to a meditation class which taught visualisation techniques. We would follow the facilitator down an imaginary garden path, into a “safe place” in which we were encouraged to “rest”. This was all very well as a calming technique but it didn’t seem to get to the root cause of the unrestful mind.
About 4 years ago, i had an intense inner – what i would call a push – to take up meditation again. It was overwhelming. It dropped books in my lap. It poked my thoughts. It even woke me up in the middle of the night almost yelling “Be Still”. In bed i thought i was being still, but no, apparently i had to be still-er! Of course, it meant “stop thinking” but how? My life was so busy doing… being a mother, wife, shopper, cleaner, cook and business woman that i didn’t have time to think, let alone stop thinking!
Anyway, eventually i stopped and read the books “The Art of Meditation” and “Practicing the Presence” by Joel Goldsmith and these books changed everything. i would thoroughly recommend them to everyone wanting to meditate. They are gentle and profound. Through my own practice, i worked out some reasons why my efforts to meditate had failed.
My top 5 reasons why mediation can be difficult are:
- Too many rules. Every meditation teacher has their own set of rules. Setting aside 2 hours a day, at a specific time; setting up a sacred space; buying the right cloths etc. If these rules don’t fit into your lifestyle, there’s no hope that you’ll stick to them. Instead they turn into excuses.
- Not frequent enough. Meditation trains the mind to do something new. Would you only allocate 20 minutes a week to your exercise program? If you wanted to stay unfit – yes. If you hope to benefit, you need to allocate time every day. Make it part of your life, like brushing your teeth. (more about this in my next post).
- Trying to visualize. Visualization is very good for calming the thinking human mind but it is NOT a meditation to develop Consciousness.
- Trying to make your mind a blank. This seems to contradict the previous point, but it is just as unhelpful to force anything, whether it’s visualizing something or trying to stop thinking. Meditation is a letting go of your agenda, let go of “trying”, totally.
- The intent isn’t Spiritual. This is the single most important reason why meditation fails. Most meditation is trying to turn a bad outer situation into a good one. Ask yourself, are you wanting something from your meditation? Are you trying to change your life to be more peaceful, well or abundant? All good reasons, but they are not Spiritual! They are still your agenda. i know, what else is there? The ego is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
In my next post I will give you My top strategies for successful meditation.