Zen meditation is a practice of paying attention. The instructions are simple, but often difficult to execute. Below are three common obstacles to starting a meditation practice.
Before diving in, it’s important to note that the juice is worth the squeeze with meditation. When we are present at the moment, life becomes less confusing and more compelling. Let’s dig into the three common obstacles to starting a meditation practice.
Meditation Obstacle #1- Time.
Most of us feel that we don’t have time to meditate. Our schedules are busy with work, kids, and responsibilities. But meditation doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Sitting for short periods consistently is far more beneficial than sitting for a long time sporadically. You’ll get more out of a 10 min, daily practice than an hour-long, once-a-month practice.
The duration of time is key here. On average, people shower for about 8 minutes a day. You can take a shower without having to put it on your calendar. Meditation doesn’t have to be something you schedule into your day. Try committing to a 10 min practice daily.
The time of day is also important to think about. This is going to be a trial-and-error practice for you. I sit first thing in the morning. There is less on my mind, and waking up 10 min earlier isn’t that hard. Find that sweet spot in your day, and then make that commitment.
Meditation Obstacle #2- Distractions.
The first experience when sitting in meditation is noticing just how busy the mind is. You begin to notice your thoughts and how many of them you have. It’s easy to feel distracted by your thoughts. This is a common obstacle. Your mind won’t always be busy. When it is, notice the busy mind. You can anchor back to your breath or keep watching the racing thoughts. Eventually, you won’t feel distracted by your thoughts or feel the desire to change your thoughts.
Meditation Obstacle #3- Frustration.
You may start to sit for a couple of days or a week and wonder when you start to feel different. When do I start noticing the changes? These common questions often lead to frustration because we feel we’re doing it wrong. This frustration is natural and not uniquely different for any individual. This is part of the process. Acknowledge the frustration without getting frustrated about the frustration. Eventually, you won’t be so fixated on improving and wanting to feel a certain way.
How to overcome the obstacles and start your meditation practice.
A standard meditation goes like this- sit tall, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Here is a simple meditation practice:
- Set your phone timer for 10 min.
- Sit up as tall. Roll your shoulders back and draw the chin down and in (double chin, baby!).
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Count to seven breaths (inhale + exhale = 1 breath). When you get to seven breaths, start again at one.
- Repeat step 3 until the timer goes off.
Try this every day for 5 days and notice which of the three obstacles arise. These roadblocks happen to all of us. You’re not alone!
The best return on investment (ROI) from meditation practice can show up off the mat when you aren’t practicing. When the mind is flexible, open, and clear, it can prepare for anything. If you want to get started, I invite you to join us here.