Guest contribution from Wendy Quan
If you are new to meditation or thinking of giving it a try, this article can help you to overcome the five most common struggles.
“I can’t stop thinking”
Here’s the thing: you shouldn’t expect your mind to be completely blank. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings about meditation which actually involves observing your thoughts but not attaching to them. You are not a bad meditator simply because you have distracting thoughts, this relief can be quite astounding.
“I don’t have time to meditate”
Meditation does not mean you need to carve out 30 or 60 minutes per day, especially as a beginner. People can feel the benefits of meditation with 5 or 10 minutes per day, or even through pausing during a busy day to take 3 deep, slow, mindful breaths. If you still don’t think you can set aside 10 minutes per day, just ask yourself whether you need to be watching that TV show or browsing the internet. It becomes a matter of priority
“I fall asleep when I try to meditate”
Sometimes you might simply be tired and in need of sleep. But often, our brains are conditioned to think ‘my eyes are closed, it’s time to sleep’. With practice, we can learn to stay alert even with our eyes closed. Sitting up straight, but relaxed, will help you to stay awake. Try not to flop on the sofa to meditate.
“I don’t want to sit there and do nothing”
Another misunderstanding about meditation is that you sit and do nothing. Meditation is actually a very active activity – you are concentrating on the object of your meditation and noticing when your mind has wandered. Then, without judgment, returning your attention to your meditation. You learn to be a curious observer during meditation which is far from ‘doing nothing’.
“My body hurts during meditation”
Although there are a few formal meditation traditions that suggest you should not move a muscle during your meditation, it’s generally fine to adjust for comfort. It may take some experimentation for you to find a comfortable meditation position (sitting in a chair, on a meditation cushion, on a meditation bench, etc). During the meditation, if you need to move, it’s fine to move slowly and mindfully.
“I have taught over 1,000 people how to meditate, and these are the top 5 most common challenges that people have. How about you? If you have any questions about meditation, please email Wendy@TheCalmMonkey.com. I hope this has been helpful to you.”
Wendy Quan, founder of The Calm Monkey, is the industry leader helping organizations implement mindfulness meditation programs and combining change management techniques to create personal and organizational change resiliency. She trains passionate meditators to become workplace facilitators through workshops and online training.
Wendy is a certified organizational change manager who has been recognized as a pioneer by the University of California, Berkeley and the global Association of Change Management Professionals. Her life’s purpose is to help people create a better experience of life.