Arriving Home :: Advice For When You Think You Are Bad At Meditation
Advice For Those Moments You Think You Are Bad At Meditation
Whenever I hear someone say "I am just not good at meditation," I immediately soften into a compassionate state of empathy. Feeling like an older grandparent ripe with the wisdom, my heart opens, I look them in the eye and say, "I know it can feel like that at first, but the truth is you already are mindful. You have experienced mindfulness before and all meditation is, is the practive of us returning and then remaining connected to the natural mindfulness you already have."
We All Have Mindfulness Within Us
One of my mindfulness mentors Diana Winston from UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center has a great saying she shares often in her classes:
"You all have experienced mindfulness already in your lifetime. Think back to anytime you were just fully present."
You can think back to a beautiful nature scene you have viewed in the past: a sunset, a sunrise, a mountain vista or the horizon of the ocean. Think of a time you were playing with a pet or spending time with children - your attention is naturally engaged. There is a lack of struggling to have your mind in the present moment.
remember this when you feel like you are not having a "good" meditation practice. Simply think: "I am already mindful. I have already experienced mindfulness before."
A common reason a person thinks they can't meditate is because they feel overwhelmed by all the thoughts they are having. Sound familiar?
For moments like these, it's important to know that navigating thoughts during meditation is not only part of the process but also a necessary step to encounter. If at first you don't encounter your monkey mind, then I would suggest you may not be really meditating. You might be sitting there relaxing with your eyes closed.
Thoughts are a part of the practice of meditation. the moment you have a thought and then return your attention to the present moment is the practice of meditation itself.
If you're interested in learning more about the best practices and techniques to work with your thoughts in meditation, see my top practices for befriending your own mind here.
The "Not-So Mindful" Moments
An awesome moment of wise-old grandparent advice is that the moments when you aren't mindful or when you think that you can't meditate are the important moments leading you back to your practice.
The same way thoughts are the catalyst for bringing you back to the present moment during meditation, the moments you feel discouraged, disheartened or frustrated are what lead you back to why you wanted to meditate in the first place.
And believe it or not, this moment is the magical moment! Much of our meditation practice is about being okay with beginning again, no matter how many times we need to. For more on this, visit another previous 'Arriving Home' post.
Remember: the only bad meditation is the meditation you have not yet done because there is no such thing as a "bad meditation." Each time you encounter any difficulty is nothing more than a moment for growth and a breakthrough in disguise.
With Love, Amanda