Why is Meditation difficult for you?

I know I’ve said these words: “I love the effects of daily meditation, but it is very difficult because while I’m doing it my mind wants to do everything except for observe my breath.” Why would you choose to meditate? The many benefits include stress relief, more restful sleep, lower blood pressure, developing self-discipline, and a peaceful, focused mind. I chose to meditate because I wanted a clearer mind, more lucid dreams, and to develop self-discipline. I started with practices of concentrating the mind, including counting deep breathes, focusing on a candle flame, and recorded guided meditations. When I started mindfulness meditation I found it much more difficult. My mind had nothing to control. It only had to focus on the natural form of the breath. Mindfulness meditation is observing your breath, mind’s thoughts, body’s sensations, and emotions without becoming attached to them. This type of meditation is very practical because you become more aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, and can respond consciously instead of reacting to situations. On my 10-Day Vipassana retreat, on day 5 or 6 I was becoming very frustrated with myself. I thought that this is so simple; you just sit and observe your breath. Why can’t I do that silently for even just 1 minute? I talked with the meditation teacher, and learned a lesson that I continue to learn every day. I need to observe the voice that judges myself, and learn to integrate it. I was judging myself for my mind being too busy and becoming frustrated at myself. This is something that I bring into my every day life as well, I have high expectations of myself, and if I don’t meet those expectations a voice in my head will say I’m not good enough or that I’m not trying hard enough. Through meditation I have discovered issues that I need to resolve within myself. All of us have a similar lesson that can be learned through our meditation practice. Why do you find meditation difficult? Do you have a voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough? Are you looking into the past and blaming yourself, or looking to the future with worry? Learn how your personality might take part in self-sabotaging your meditation experience. The last 3 months I’ve been contemplating my self-judgment more and have learned a lot about my self. I’ve opened up and become aware of feelings that I’ve tried to stop. I’ve talked with my self-critical voice to learn what it has to teach me, and to cooperate together. Being able to work through this has helped my meditation practice, allowing me to accept that there are thoughts, without blaming myself. So while my mind still wants to do everything except for observe my breath, I no longer find it difficult because I am not as attached to the outcome.
Share

Confident being Vulnerable

In order to accept positive change into our lives we must become confident being vulnerable. When you are comfortable with the vulnerability, you are able to do what it takes to achieve your goals, even if the short term results might be negative. If you dislike your present reality but are unable to make yourself vulnerable your fears will stop you from achieving success. Some fears are more rational than others, like a fear that you won’t be able to feed and house your family if you quit your job, but irrational fears of public speaking, and social rejection have no physical impact and hold you back. You must realize which fears are irrational, and overcome those fears gradually. At the Conscious Growth Workshop I went to last July we had courage exercises where we were asked to perform awkward social interactions with people we didn’t know. The list of interactions included asking for phone numbers, asking for a free drink, asking for a job as a stripper, and giving hugs and dancing with strangers. The idea was to make us more comfortable with a situation that previously would’ve had us hesitant and timid. To learn that the fear of social rejection is only created in our minds and that rejection can do nothing to harm us. That weekend workshop was an intensive for blasting away fears, but you can gradually do this by creating weekly goals that increase in difficulty each week. In terms of social rejection, the first week you could meet someone new every day. Then you could join a stranger for lunch, invite someone you found attractive to a date, assert your special diet(Vegan, no sweets, gluten free) in a situation with social pressure, speak in public at a toastmaster’s meeting and continue performing the exercises until you feel you’ve overcome that fear and move on to the next one. Other ways to overcome fears are to talk to people who have already done so, and exchange ideas on how you can do it as well. If you have a fear of rejection, talk to someone who’s very sociable. If you are afraid of quitting your job, talk to a successful entrepreneur who left his employer to start his own business. You can also create a list of all of the long and short term positive outcomes of the feared action. Be open to the change, visualize how you want to be and take steps towards it. After practicing and becoming comfortable being vulnerable, your desires will manifest quicker and easier because you will be willing and able to do what it takes to achieve your dreams, despite the initial discomfort.
Share

Traveling, Visions, and Planning

This month I’ve done a lot of traveling in airplanes. I’ve gone from Santa Cruz to Colorado, to Orange County (for a libertarian seminar), back to Colorado, and this Saturday I’ll be going back to Santa Cruz. In July I’ll be flying to Las Vegas for a Conscious Growth Workshop. I’ve found these travel days to be perfect for evaluating my life, planning and goal setting. Traveling is a natural transition period. I see these times as an opportunity to prepare to do my best in the following weeks. While traveling on an airplane I’ve enjoyed reading and listening to Philosopher’s notes, which are 20 minute mp3 summaries of one hundred of the most popular self-improvement books. After reading or listening, I’ll often have a flash of inspiration of how I can apply the wisdom in the books to my own life, and I will get out my journal and write. Today I had my weekly goals in front of me, with my to-do’s for the day, but I was still feeling unmotivated. I decided to envision myself at the airport, ready to leave for Santa Cruz. I asked myself: “How do I feel after achieving everything I wanted this last week?” I came up with this list: I am physically fit, having done cardio, yoga, abs, and upper body weight training. I feel closer to Jim, having connected with him while in Colorado. I have clarity on what I desire, having written daily in my Journal. I have published another blog, and have started writing three other rough drafts. I have made connections with yoga teachers and massage therapists in Breckenridge, having interviewed them about their career. I feel inspired to create, having journaled ideas for videos and other content for my website. I feel refreshed, having gone hiking in nature and enjoying the fresh mountain air in Colorado. I feel excited to start massage school, having researched and read blogs about the massage profession. Now I have more clarity on what I desire, and I feel more motivated to accomplish my goals by the time I’m on an airplane again. This new perspective of envisioning myself at the airport, or this place of transition, has given me another way of creating goals and visions for myself. Not only do I create goals when I’m at the airport, but when I become bored or lazy I can reinforce them by envisioning how I would like to feel when I’m at my next “transition point”. On your next flight, see if you can envision how you will feel at your next transition point (when everything goes as you desire).
Share

Emotional Reactivity

Take responsibility for your feelings, no one can make you angry or sad.
By blaming other people or situations for your unhappiness, you are stopping yourself from being able to constructively and consciously deal with an issue from within yourself. Similar situations will keep arising until you end the cycle by becoming aware of the true source of your discomfort.
What is your subconscious trying to tell you? What inside of you is causing you to react? What fear does this represent in you?

An example I had a couple weeks ago was when I was director for my lucid dreaming television show for my class at San Jose State. The show didn’t come out exactly as I had planned, and I was frustrated. Afterwards I vented to my boyfriend about how the students in my class are lazy, the teacher sucks, and I’m sick of San Jose State. Then my boyfriend asked me why I’m really upset, and asked how I think I performed as a director for the show. I discovered that I was disappointed in my self and I blamed SJSU and the students when really I felt bad because I didn’t think I did the best I could do. When I looked within at the Undefended Love workshop I found that I have a fear of not being good enough, and that I strive to be perfect in what I do, especially when it comes to my video productions. When my television show didn’t come out as perfect as I hoped it would be, I subconsciously saw that as confirming my fear that I’m not good enough. My personality/ego reacted to that by thinking that the other students or teachers were at fault. This reaction was actually a fear I have about myself that my personality is trying to compensate for by judging others. It may even be true that my classmates weren’t as competent as they could have been, but my strong emotional reaction to the situation wasn’t caused by them.

To help discover your reaction patterns you can practice the following technique in a journal for every time you have a strong emotional reaction.
What happened // What I thought // What I felt // What I did.
Writing in the present tense, try to re-experience the emotional reaction again. Recognize what happened that brought up the strong feelings and look at what you were thinking/judging about yourself and others. Then try to feel how you felt at that moment. What emotions were present, did you feel any tightness or contraction in your body? Then look at what you did after the experience to cope with it. Did you escape by watching a movie, eating ice cream, or maybe the more healthy approach of going to the gym to burn off your emotional energies? After you do this practice for a few weeks you’ll be able to find your emotional reactivity patterns and will have greater insight into yourself.

Once you discover the fundamental fear that keeps arising, try to acknowledge the fear, and feel it completely. Your mind will want to distract you, or to blame other people, but just recognize that you have this fear, create space for it, and try to accept it. After you accept the fear you might feel like you’re in a place of total emptiness inside. Just a few moments after that you will sense a deep sense of relief, and you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted from you.
Share

Get in touch with me