Meditation sounds so simple. You sit there, close your eyes. And ten minutes or so later. I wake up.
Yet why is it so hard to do? And why do I always fail at meditating?
Well, the first thing to state is there is no such thing as failing with meditation. Some meditations will feel more productive than others. Meditation is a skill that is always evolving and if practiced, improvement will occur.
However, I believe there needs to be some guidance provided as to how to make the practice meditation more enjoyable and successful for the meditator. Below are some examples of what I feel are important attitudes to bring with you to every meditation you undergo.
1) Don't expect anything
When undergoing a mediation, treat the experience as an experiment. Be interested in what you are experiencing, yet don't get distracted with having expectations about the outcome of the meditation practice.
2) Don't rush yourself
Sit comfortably, and as you are performing the meditation, feel as if you have all the time in the world even if the meditation is expected to last for a short period of time.
3) Accept all that arises in the mind
Accept what you see in your mind. If good mental images arise, that is fine. If bad mental images arise, well that is fine also. Don't engage in a battle to think positively. Don't batter yourself for having feelings of sadness or unworthiness. Learn to see the experience via a "disinterested lens" and respect everything that arises.
4) Be kind to yourself
The process of changing your mindset and feeling better begins with a complete acceptance of who you are today. You are human. You are not perfect however you are all you've got to work with.
5) Investigate and apply curiosity
Question everything. That does not mean you need to be cynical, insulting or disrespectful. It means that you should only rely on your own experiences. Put all thoughts and statements to the test of your own experiences, and let the outcomes be your guide to truth.
Applying this attitude is key towards both having a successful meditation practice as well as feeling more comfortable with how you perceive yourself.
6) See problems as opportunities
Don't escape from the problems that arise. Don't suppress them either. Has a problem arisen? Fantastic! Here is a chance to test it against our own experiences and investigate further. Let's get to work!
7) Don't overthink
You are looking for solutions however overthinking won't provide you with the solution. In meditation, the mind is cleansed naturally by mindfulness, by applying attention to what is happening at this moment. By going through the process of meditation and looking at your thoughts and problems in a non-judgemental manner, they will often melt away.
Cognitive mental stimulation can often inhibit the ability to obtain a solution. Don't think. Just watch and see what happens.
Initally, many of your experiences may be uncomfortable or unpleasant. That is a perfectly natural phenomenon. You may experience, insecurity, jealousy, boredom, worry or perhaps fear during your mediation. These are normal human reactions that can occur in anybody.
However, with practice and time, you should start to get less upset about the failings of others and most importantly, yourself. This is a fantastic feeling, not just for your mind, but also with how you engage with the people around you.
What do you think? Are there any other behaviours that work for you in achieving a successful meditation?
I would love to know your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment below :-)