Meditation Articles Series


Why People Give Up On Meditating

22 Feb 2010

I met a person who had tried yoga and walked out half way through the class.  She also tried meditation and found she ďdidnít need it.Ē  I visited her home and while she constantly complained about her situation the local radio station blared out ads and music.  For this person there is not a moment in the day that is not being filled up in some way.  Not that Iím saying that yoga and meditation are for everyone, or that you donít need to plan or organize your day.  What I witnessed was a person who was very stressed, anxious and fearful, but not willing to persevere to do anything about her unhappy state. 

This person may have found that anything that required a quietening or stilling of her body and mind to be a very frightening thing to do.  She may have had good intentions to start but then discovered she became even more agitated as the yoga or meditation sessions continued.  When this happens we so often dismiss meditative practices as useless, unnecessary, or a waste of time. 

I remember my first ten-day retreat.  I had left my young daughter in the care of a trusted friend of whom she was very fond.  During days one and two of the meditation course all I could think about every time I sat to meditate was how my daughter needed me and I had to go home.  I to marvelled at how I even started to catastrophise that the house was burning down!  This came after I had a thunderbolt understanding of just how agitated my mind was.  I was so used to this state of agitation that just sitting still meditating was excruciatingly unpleasant.  Thatís how I judged it, and itís often at that point that people give up.  Well, I did hang in, and certainly after the third day my body and mind quietened.  I knew beyond all doubt that meditation was going to be the foundation of my daily life.

Helpful Hints When You Feel Agitated in Meditation Practice.

Here are some useful tips that may help you if you find yourself not the least bit calm and peaceful in your meditation practice.

  1. Make sure your posture is comfortable, and loosen any tight clothing.
  2. Accept whatever is arising.
  3. Know that this too will pass.
  4. Have deep compassion for yourself.  Donít berate yourself, or think that you are not doing meditation properly.
  5. Keep on gently coming back to your one pointed focus.
  6. If you start to feel overwhelmed, locate the strongest sensations in your body and breathe in and out of them.
  7. After your meditation let go of analysing and judging what happened, or not.
  8. Come back to your next meditation letting go of all preconceived ideas of how it should or shouldnít be.

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