How to get past the 3 big reasons that stop you from meditating

Wayne Allen provides practical tips to overcome three self-created impediments to meditating

Meditation is one of those things that everyone wants to do, in theory. But when it comes to actually implementing a meditation practice, many people create problems.

I want to talk about impediments to meditating. It seems to me that there are three ways to stop yourself.

  • First, you stop yourself by not starting
  • Second, you abandon your practice because of physical complaints
  • Third, your mind comes up with mental constraints to get you to stop.

Not starting

This is by far the most prevalent impediment! I recommend meditation to almost all of my clients. You would be amazed by the number of excuses I’ve heard for not starting. Here’s my favourite example:

One client was the CFO of a major corporation. He was really stressed out, and had medical issues—he was overweight, he had high blood pressure, and most of his days were a misery. I suggested meditation.

He replied, “How am I ever going to find 20 more minutes in my already overfilled day?”

How can he not? The way he’s living his life isn’t working—this is obvious just looking at him. I have this theory: We’ve all got a little kid inside our heads that really likes being miserable. It’s the quite childish voice of all of our excuses. The little kid is also really good at defending past choices. That’s this guy’s problem—he knows that his life is totally out of control, yet presents tons of arguments for why nothing can change. And of course, he’s right. Nothing can change—unless he changes it.

Many ‘not starting’ excuses are weird. I have a friend who teaches meditation, but won’t meditate when she’s stressed. I find this really bizarre—she thinks that she can only meditate when everything is going great.

She upsets herself, stops meditating, ends up in a big mess, starts meditating, and feels better. You’d think she’d learn, but she has a little voice in her head that says, “Things are going much too badly to be sitting around doing nothing.”

So,

  • there’s the time factor—thinking yourself too busy to set aside 20 minutes a day, and
  • the stress factor—thinking you’re much too upset to meditate. And there’s
  • the stubbornness factor—the little kid is jumping up and down and saying, “I shouldn’t have to do this! It’s not fair! This is a waste of time!”

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This was first published in the May 2013 issue of  Complete Wellbeing.

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1 COMMENT

  1. No, not to learn meditation, unless they are meditations that are complicated and work with specific breathing techniques and other techniques that are designed to rise one’s spiritual energy, or kundalini. With such practices you really need to have a teacher look after you to make sure you remain balanced. With most of the meditation techniques you will find on this site, they are basic enough that you do not need a teacher. They are pretty safe.

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