February 13, 2023
Resistance to Meditation
Resisting meditation is not unusual. Many people find that when it comes to meditation finding a time for stillness and to meditate is the first challenge. Especially when the mind is telling you, that you need to be busy or that you have other things that you should be doing. Very often a long list of things that need to be done will enter your mind. This is often the first form of resistance and it can happen before the practise begins.
To help combat this first obstacle, first tell yourself that taking 5 minutes for meditation is time well spent and a worthwhile activity. Remind yourself of the benefits that will be experienced from the session. Then remind yourself of some of the long-term benefits.
Find a time when you know that taking 5 minutes for meditation fits realistically into your day. Many people find that waking a little earlier each day for meditation helps to establish a regular practise. Others find that meditating at the end of the day prior to sleep suits them better. Consider your day and find a time that is realistic. If you are meditating at the end of the day it is worthwhile making sure that you have completed any chores before you settle down to meditate. Then you are not thinking about needing to do something else.
Having found a suitable time to meditate other areas of resistance will begin to present themselves. These of course vary for everyone but here are a few that you might relate to – resistance to physical and emotional stillness, physical discomfort, internal chatter, fear of old memories resurfacing, doubt, guilt, questioning your ability to meditate and wondering if you are doing okay and so the list continues.
To help combat stillness remind yourself that it is okay to move during meditation, mindful movement, tai chi, yoga or taking a mindful walk can still result in meditation. It is also okay to practise meditation whilst lying down.
If you want to sit for your meditation practice it is acceptable to sit on a cushion or a chair so that you are comfortable whilst you meditate.
Remind yourself that it is okay to become distracted and when you are distracted return slowly to your breath and reset yourself to continue with the practice. Everyone becomes distracted during meditation, the key is to be able to let go of the distraction and bring the focus back to the practise.
To help minimise any physical distractions experienced during stillness, take a little time to prepare the body with some gentle stretches and mobility exercises.
Engaging in regular mobility and core strength exercises will help to make sitting with a straight spine more comfortable and therefore more achievable.
Any internal chatter will begin to dissipate as you focus on the practise.
In most instances the mind enjoys being busy, it likes to do something whether it is thinking, planning or remembering - this activity of the mind is not unusual. By giving the mind a small task to do for example watching the breath or counting slowly to yourself with complete focus to five often satisfies the mind and reduces the internal chatter. Visualisation also provides the mind with a tangible activity that will enhance meditation.
Remind yourself that everyone experiences resistance and that the process of meditation is different for everyone.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Meditation involves sitting quietly, or lying, remember also that a meditative state can be obtained whilst performing an activity - it is the intent that helps to establish the practise.
Start with short achievable sessions at a time that fits into your routine.
Meditation is easy to do, it requires no or very little equipment. Once you begin to practise regularly the benefits continue to present themselves.
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