We all have excuses on why meditation is not for us right now. It’s on the to-do list. It’s even part of our new year’s resolution. But we’re constantly procrastinating. We’ve heard about it. We may have even been avid meditators in the past. But things get in the way, and we use many excuses to convince ourselves why it’s just not for right now.
Self-Criticism: “I’m not a good meditator. I can’t even sit still so I’m doing it all wrong”. When we begin meditating, it’s common to judge ourselves and discount our abilities. Many people say they can’t meditate, when they’re new. That’s equivalent to saying they can’t hit a golf ball like Tiger Woods when they’ve picked up the golf club for less than an hour. Meditation is deceptively simple. You’re supposed to train your mind to be focused. Sounds simple, right? Remember, if it was simple, then Buddha wouldn’t be special. Meditation practise is a great way to dispel any criticism you have for yourself. We all have that space and openness for calm equanimity
Sleepiness: Many beginners say they fall asleep when they meditate and therefore might as well never meditate. Sleepiness is normal as the brain tries to shut off what feels new and tiring. Ever tried to pick up a new language or try eating with the wrong hand, and feel like your brain has been overworked? This is because the brain is firing new synapses. Keep at the practise by sitting up with a straight spine, in an alert yet relaxed posture.
Pain: It’s normal in this day and age not to be able to squat, or to sit in lotus position. Neither are necessary to meditate. If your back hurts, or if you don’t have the flexibility to sit cross-legged, then lie down. Comfort is key in meditating. Advanced meditators might try “strong sitting” where you quiet the mind to equanimity and want to feel the passing of sensations. Meditation can be a great way to physically experience that nothing is permanent and that “this too shall pass”. But beginners should address any discomfort and limit the disturbance.