“I tried it and it didn’t work.”
“There’s no way I could do that!”
“I’m a hopeless failure at doing it.”
“My mind is too busy to do it.”
These are just some of the things I’ve heard lately when discussing meditation with people that I’ve met during my travels. Recently I even read a blog by a yoga teacher of 15 years who wrote:
“In the 15 years thus far of my yoga journey, the act of meditation has always been difficult for me.”
So after studying meditation for 20 years now and hearing how many people believe that meditation is hard, difficult or impossible to do, I felt it was time for me to shed some light on this subject.
Firstly there are many ways to meditate. Some of them will require force or effort, and some will be easy and effortless. Let’s face it, if it’s difficult and an uncomfortable experience, the likelihood of you sustaining this meditation practice will be close to zero! I know some people who believe that if meditation is easy and not difficult, then you aren’t really meditating. I recall one yoga teacher telling me once that the meditation technique I use is like the MacDonald’s of meditation, because it's too convenient and easy.
I’ve sat in meditation for 20 minutes twice a day for nearly 20 years now. It’s a very charming proposition, because it’s such an enjoyable experience. This is what keeps me coming back to the practice. It’s a very tangible, blissful experience. If there was friction and force, it would be uncomfortable and not compelling at all. Hence, why many people ‘try’ to meditate and give up early on in the piece.
Recently I taught a lovely guy who had ‘tried’ to meditate for years. He thought it was time to get some structure with his meditation practice so he came and did my weekend course. You should have seen his face when he came out of his first meditation…he was in awe of how deep and easy it was after all those years of ‘trying’.
The next week he sent me this:
“A MASSIVE THANK YOU! for the other weekend. What a transformational experience! I can’t even begin to describe the positive effects the meditation you taught has had on me so far. I’m calmer, more peaceful and just all round feeling so much better. I feel truly blessed to have been a part of this, you’re a good soul dude and I can’t thank you enough.”
So why is it that some meditations are easy and some not so easy?
- The nature of the mind is that it is always seeking greater charm. This is why our addiction to our phones has occurred because we are feeding our minds with constant information which is like a sugar addiction. So to force the mind to ‘not think’ is like asking a drug addict to go cold turkey.
This is where the use of mantras or stillness sounds come in. When you receive your meditation sound from a qualified teacher that you repeat inside your head, the process becomes effortless and easy because the mind is fascinated and charmed by the repetition of the sound. This is just like a baby being soothed by having it’s back patted and stroked. Eventually it will be lulled into a deep restful state. So rather than forcing the mind to be still, we have soothed it to become still. This is effortless and easy.
- Lack of understanding about the body and its role in your meditation.
Most people think meditation is all about stilling the mind or connecting to a higher self. When teaching meditation I start with the most basic element- your BODY.
Let me ask you a question…what’s the point of stilling the mind anyway? What is the goal in that? Seriously.
Why still the mind if it doesn’t help you feel good?
And your ‘feelings’ are all in the body. So it’s as much about your body as it is about anything else.
Many teachings of meditation fail to embrace this aspect of meditation. The thing with our body is it’s storing stress in it, so if you do manage to still your mind in meditation, then your body will drop into a very deep state of metabolic rest. Once in this deep state of rest, your body will begin to release stress and restore balance. This process will manifest in so many different ways. From feelings of agitation, fear, anger, lightness, twitches, spasms, falling asleep, coughing or simply having lots of thoughts. Without understanding why this is all happening will be very confusing and why many people stop meditating.
Last week I was teaching employees of a company how to meditate and most of the people in the room were sharing how they were feeling relaxed and in deep states during the meditation. One lady said she didn’t think she could do it and wasn’t sure if it was for her. I asked her to explain to me what she experienced during her meditation. She said at different times she would get an ear ache, waves of fear in her chest, short of breath, pressure in her forehead and at times her head kept nodding down like she was falling asleep.
I asked her if all this stopped when she finished her meditation. She said yes.
“Awesome!” I said. “You are an expert meditator!”
These are all indications that you are having a marvellous meditation with lots of re-organising and un-stressing occurring in the body.
Without this knowledge one is led to believe that the supposed goal of stillness was not attained and so the meditation was a big fail. Not so. Many things will occur in meditation, and possibly, just possibly, you might even experience some stillness. But this will be rare due to the high levels of stress in the body that will be released when we meditate.
So next time you are ‘trying’ to meditate and finding it frustrating and difficult, perhaps research other techniques or seek professional guidance.
If you would like to experience a profoundly deep meditation let me tell you more about our 21 Day Program – Faster Deeper Bliss.
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