Why Meditation Is Difficult For Certain Personalities
At the risk of being unpopularly labelled as stereotyping, I will still say this, “Meditation is difficult for certain personalities“. I prefer to say personalities instead of people. Maybe that sounds more politically correct but the fact is, some of us find it so hard to meditate.
If you have learned meditation online or have picked up my copy of Mindfulness Meditation For Beginner, most new learner of meditation regardless of methods will expect to feel relaxed and peaceful after meditating.
But the fact is, that’s not really the case for every single one of us.
Even if you are meditating under an experienced guru and received the best instructions, you may still find yourself getting nowhere after a few weeks, although that’s very rare. But most people who learned meditation online or through books without proper guidance have high chances of getting stuck and got discouraged from continuing the practice.
From my observation in forums and also past experience (you guessed it, I belonged to that personality that got stuck), beginners who got stuck in meditation progress share these personalities : over-analytical, high-expectation, and impatience.
Don’t Analyse When Meditating
Instead of being aware of your breath or any sensations that you focus on, do you find yourself thinking “Am I doing this right?“, “But the books/guide said this or that should happen” or “Maybe I could just modify the technique a little bit“.
What happens here is that you are spending that whole 15 or 30 minutes lost in your thoughts. You are thinking and analysing instead of meditating.
The common questions asked by beginners is “What do you think when you meditate?” or “How do I stop my thoughts when I meditate?”
I think these questions are caused by the wrong understanding of mindfulness meditation and have beginners pondering about it instead of being in their mindful state during the practice.
Let me just say that mindfulness meditation is not the absence of thoughts (because you will always have thought as long as you are alive). Yet you do not really “think” the normal way you do when you are meditating.
What you are actually doing in a mindfulness session is to be aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations without attempting to label them and getting attached to them.
Example, when you sense pain during your meditation, you mentally note it as “feeling“. You don’t get carried by your thoughts and think “I feel so uncomfortable“, or “I hate it“.
Expectation Hinders Meditation
“So, I wanted to get into meditation to reduce stress, get better sleep, to have more focus or to get all the benefits here, and now you’re telling me that having these expectations means I can’t get it? ”
What I’m talking about is you don’t start your meditation session by thinking “I want to clear my stress in 10 minutes” or “I want to be super blisfully relaxed in this session“.
If you have such mindset going into meditation, you will be left disappointed. That I could be sure.
When you carry expectation-laden mindset to meditation, you find yourself tensed with expectations. You would be subconsciously hoping and wishing that you achieve what you wanted. Your mind is unable to do what it’s supposed to do, i.e. mindfulness.
In fact, having these expectations hidden in your subconscious is a greater block than getting caught up in analytical thoughts. That’s because the latter is obvious and the former is lurking behind your mind. It’s hard to be detected by beginners.
And don’t you find that the best things happened when you least expected them?
Impatience Brings You Nowhere
“I’m feeling tired after 30 minutes of sitting meditation, should I do an extra 15 to get relax?”
No. An extra 15 won’t reverse your mental fatigue. Go get some rest.
“I feel good after doing 15 minutes today, should I try 60 minutes tomorrow?”
No. You probably would be so lost in stray thoughts and mental fatigue by the time you hit 20.
“I’ve meditated 15 minutes daily for the past couple of weeks, yet I don’t feel relaxed or calm. Am I doing it wrong?”
Well, if you train under an experienced guru, your guru would know best. But if you are practicing from books or online resources, chances are you don’t give it enough time.
Meditation is not like an academic course when you do step 1 to 10 for 30 days and you would get your cert. The better way to think of meditation is taking care of your mental hygiene.
How long does it take to clean and polish a diamond that has been accumulating dirt and dusts ever since?
As long as it takes.
The fact is, any progress in meditation is subtle and often unnoticed by yourself. But when you see the results in your work, study or the general emotional wellness in your life, you know you are doing well.
Be patience, meditate and let mindfulness works its magic.
If You Still Find Meditation Difficult…
Start with walking meditation instead of sitting. It is my preferred way for a beginner. You can check out my post here.
An over analytical mind coupled with high expectation and impatience, tells me that you have a very high level of brain energy and activity. And has been so for years or decades, I believe.
Realistically, it’s easier to practice walking meditation rather than trying sitting meditation from the start. That’s what I’ve done in the past.
If you are really keen into getting started with walking meditation, you can get a FREE copy of Walking Meditation Made Simple when you subscribe to my mailing list.
Have you tried to meditate? Do you experience the lack of progress in your meditation? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section.