Meditation Practice Obstacles
I have been practicing meditation now for over 23 years — damn I must be getting old :-). In these 2 decades plus I have explored much of the spiritual landscape and discovered many of the profound treasures hidden there. Also, during this time I have made my share of mistakes and seen others make theirs. In this article I want to help you to avoid repeating some of these mistakes, especially those that are related to establishing a deep and strong Daily Personal Meditation Practice. Here are the top 5 mistakes people make when trying to setup their home meditation practice…
1. Procrastinate Starting Your Daily Meditation Practice:
As Lord Buddha said, “There are only 2 mistakes you can make in life. First mistake is not to take the first step and the second is that having taken the first step to not go all the way.” I am amazed how few take the first step. Many people who talk and read about religion, spirituality, yoga, meditation, etc. never actually start a personal meditation program. They even come to me and discuss these matters in great detail, but, never get down to doing it. Meditation in this regard is just like exercise, you can read every book on fitness, but, until you break a sweat you will have zero benefits. You have to get started, you have to do it, there is no other way. No one can do your meditation for you. The biggest mistake is to procrastinate starting your practice. There are endless excuses to delay, there is just one solution: START NOW.
2. Don’t Prepare Your Meditation Environment:
Once you have decided to start your daily meditation practice the first thing you should do is create the necessary environment to make doing your daily practice easier. What does this mean? It means, at the minimum, the following…
- Create a space in your home where you will practice your meditation. The space should be quiet and exclusively used for only meditation and spiritual matters if possible.
- Get a meditation cushion and/or mat to help you sit. If you need to start with using a chair that is fine too.
- Place some items that inspire you in this location (picture, idol, saying, symbol, etc.)
- Get a stop watch or setup another convenient time device.
- Put aside some clothes or get some which will help you sit comfortably.
- Make a silent, firm commitment to do your meditation practice regularly.
It is very important to do this. This is because it is very possible that at the time you decide to start you daily meditation program you are in a highly inspired state, which might not be sustainable over time. Having the meditation environment set-up will make it easier to maintain your consistency even during these “uninspired” periods. Having everything in place, believe me, dramatically increases the chance that you just plop down on your cushion and do your daily meditation.
3. Don’t Set a Definite Time for Your Daily Meditation:
This is similar to mistake #2 in that setting a definite time for your daily meditation is a significant psychological factor in getting you to be consistent with your practice. Just trying to find random times in the day to do your meditation will generally work once in a while and usually only for a short period of time. You must set a time and if possible set this time to early in the morning, before all the distractions of life begin.
4. Think Meditation is Too Hard & Give-up:
Forget about all you have read with regard to how meditation is supposed to work and instead just do your best. Given that just sitting still and focusing on your breath can be hard, it is fully understandable that one is going to have trouble watching the swift and subtle mind. We all fail and fail repeatedly and there is no shame in that. The only mistake is to not get back up the next day and try again. So don’t give up, just keep going and your mental muscles will develop. They have no choice. If you exercise them they develop. So don’t judge yourself harshly and keep the golden rule of Meditation all the time in the back of your mind, it is — Keep Going!
5. Look for Immediate Results:
In our age of instant gratification, trying to get the fastest results possible with minimum effort seems to be the mantra. Diet pills, cosmetic surgery, mega millions lottery, medications for everything under the sun, recreational drugs, constant electronic stimulation, etc, etc. have made trying to get “the kick” the prime objective. Well sorry, meditation is like getting wet while walking in a misty fog. You don’t even realize you are getting wet, but, if you stay out there long enough you will be completely soaked. Meditation is the blossoming of goodness. It will happen on its own, in its own sweet time. Don’t worry about the results just put your best foot forward and keep marching ahead. Soon you will find yourself standing on Heaven’s Doorsteps.
So today, setup your environment, decide on a time, don’t worry about success or failure and JUST BEGIN YOUR DAILY MEDITATION PRACTICE. There is nothing in life more important that this.
I welcome your comments on what you feel are common mistakes in establishing a daily meditation practice. This information can be very helpful in helping others succeed.