Us: We’re involved in researching meditation. We also run guided sessions in a really lovely space!”
Friend: “Oh, meditation- I tried that. I couldn’t do it.”
We hear this from just about everyone new to meditation. And fair enough too. Often people new to this practice have certain ideas in mind of what ‘successful’ meditation looks like: sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, seemingly serene and free of thoughts, maybe even with beams of light shooting out of their heads while they float effortlessly one meter above the ground. Well friends, this imagery is a far cry from the reality of meditation. Especially when you are a beginner!
Although on the outside it may appear like the person meditating is calm and still (and even this takes time to develop) their mind is often a messy tangled web of thoughts and emotions.
THIS IS NORMAL.
We ask that beginners try and think of meditation as an incremental process – one of investigating your mind and changing the way you relate to your thoughts.
The struggle we face with meditation typically arises because our goals are misplaced. It’s easy to start thinking that the instructions for meditation are the goal of meditation. This is not the case. While we might aim to maintain focus on the breath, the goal is really to learn about our minds. We do this by setting up the conditions for thoughts to arise, and then observe them non-judgmentally.
So for example, if you start thinking about how annoying meditation is while you are meditating (yes, we are mind readers too) you might pause and think “hello frustration, it’s you again.” Leaning into your my annoyance and greeting it with an open curiosity, almost like you would greet an unannounced visitor at your front door.
Once we understand that thoughts are supposed to arise, and are actually necessary for meditation to be meaningful, we can begin to relax. With practice, we begin to realise that thoughts and emotions naturally arise and will naturally pass away. They don’t always need to be acted upon, and that they aren’t as “real” as they seem.
We can start to liken our thoughts to weather changes seen in the sky above us. Sometimes the sky will be sunny, sometimes it’ll be cloudy and raining. We don’t analyse how to change a rainy sky into a sunny sky. We have an explicit understanding: what the sky does on any given day is completely beyond our control. All we can do is go about our business until the sky changes. Knowing all the while that the sky will change. There is no doubt about that.
Why not take this very moment to do a “temperature check” on what your experiencing right now. How are you feeling in this moment? What thoughts are present? How does your body feel? Are you present and fully aware in this moment of your life or are you preoccupied with past or future events? Remember, there’s no need to judge or try and change your experience in any way. Just being aware is more than enough.
In many ways learning to meditate at The Nurtured Mind is a lot like learning to ride a bike. You come to us, and we start off holding you up and cheering you on. Then we gently remove the training wheels and the journey becomes your own.
For more insight regarding meditation and how to make it an easy and enjoyable part of your everyday existence, click here to contact us.
Or read more about what to expect in one of our customised sessions here.