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What To Do If Meditation Isn’t Working For You

With the explosion of current research on the amazing powerful benefits of meditation, many people are giving it a try. Many people get excited to change their lives through meditation. A good many of those will give it up after a week or a month, saying that “This program’s just not working for me” or “It’s not what I expected” or “I thought it was supposed to make me feel peaceful and I’m more anxious” or “It’s just too frustrating, I can’t quiet my mind.”

If you’ve any experiences similar to these, read on. What you’re about to hear might not be what you expect and it could change your life.

As an author of several meditation and mind-body training programs, I’m always looking for the best ways to communicate these practices in a way that people “get it” and “change their lives” for the better. What I’ve come to learn is that people often don’t get the experience they are looking for because they are either over anxious, or they are trying too hard, or they don’t really understand what they’re doing or what is happening to them during meditation.

Many people come to meditation because they want to relax and de-stress. They are caught up in certain habits of thinking and feeling that are wearing them out and they want to learn how to change that. The challenge is that meditation teaches you a different way to relate to your thoughts and feelings and it often takes some time before it becomes easy and automatic. Meditation is a learned skill that you will get better and better at through consistent practice.

In meditation you learn to observe how you think and feel without being caught up in it and carried away by it. You learn to focus your attention on one thing or one pattern, such as your breathing, a place in your body, or a particular thought, feeling, or intention for a period of time. Whenever you notice that your mind has wandered from your focus, you simply recognize that your mind has wandered, you let that wandering thought go, and you return to your point of focus.

As you meditate, you are going to start noticing when you are anxious or stressed. You may notice your lack of inner peace or the nonstop chatter in your mind. Meditation didn’t cause these experiences, it enables you to see them. When you begin to notice your anxiety, your stress, and the non-stop chatter in your mind, what is most important is your attitude toward these experiences and toward yourself.

Accept them and accept yourself-completely. Instead of judging yourself critically for wandering from your focus, or for being anxious or tense, or for having a busy mind, welcome your realization, accept it, then let those experiences go and return to your meditative focus. You do this gently and easily as many times as it happens.

This attitude of complete self acceptance, of acceptance of whatever happens, begins to free you from the mental habit of pushing yourself, criticizing yourself and others, and generally resisting what life brings to you. “Acceptance of what is” is a doorway into deeper self knowledge and expansion of your greater possibilities.

So, if you’ve started meditating and have found it frustrating, begin by accepting the process exactly as it is. Observe your mind during meditation without judgment. Allow yourself to be exactly as you are. As you release self-critical pressure, amazing things will begin to happen. Your meditation will deepen naturally, your mind will begin to quiet, you will more accurately sense inner guidance, and you’ll be on the way to living the ideal possibilities that you are meant to live.

Are You Ready To Discover The Benefits Of Meditation For Yourself? In the next few minutes, I’ll show you a simple meditation technique you can use to instantly release ANY unwanted thought feeling or belief.  If your health and well being are important to you, click here to get started now.

© 2009 by Kevin Schoeninger

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9 Responses to “What To Do If Meditation Isn’t Working For You”

  1. Brandon says:

    People put too much pressure on themselves every day, that when they approach something like meditation, or hypnosis, they believe that they are not “doing it right”, because they can’t seem to fall into a trance, or feel enlightened, or “connect” with their inner mind.

    Meditation isn’t about getting things perfect. It’s a relaxing state of mind that understands the importance of mistakes as valuable learning experiences. The article mentioned focusing on the breath, as being a central point in meditation (or one of the points), and allowing thoughts to drift and float, so you can finally find that point where you focus on only one thing (your breath, your body, sounds, smells, sight, feelings, etc.).

    All this takes time, and should be taken at a slow, steady pace. Rushing through something like meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, etc., will accomplish nothing but unending frustration. One needs to realize that in this state of mind, it’s not about getting things perfect, it’s not about perfecting mistakes, it’s about learning, growing, and becoming at peace with yourself and the world around you.

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  2. Chris Cade says:

    Whenever I have difficulty meditating, I usually start looking at my inner critic.

    In my case, there’s usually some limiting judgment I have towards myself – perhaps I’m “not good enough” at it, or maybe my inner critic believes that “Meditation isn’t productive – it won’t help me do NOW what needs to get done” or any other number of judgments.

    So when I pause for a moment and really look at the source of my resistance, and I discover it’s my inner critic, then I can actually ask myself, “Is this reason true? Is it truly in my highest good to NOT meditate right now?”

    Sometimes the answer is ‘yes’ and I stop meditating and do what needs to get done.

    Most of the time though, I discover that my inner critic is just making excuses and trying to find reasons not to meditate… because meditating can sometimes be uncomfortable, challenging, and it requires doing something new which I’m not necessarily accustomed to.

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  3. Nyakio says:

    True true….it requires practise, loving yourself while at it

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  4. Leila says:

    For myself, I find that I could do with more patience. As I sit I feel my impatience strongly and rather than see it as a distraction I am inclined to go with it and stop meditating. So, the habit of impatience can easily get the better of me and this is probably true of any habit of mind.

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  5. Charles Lwanga. says:

    it is true sometimes your vmind wonders..then you start judge yourself negatively…but what i do at that time is either to stop have some cold shower then .after which i continue meditation.

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  6. Katrina says:

    Several years ago at a music festival this lovely girl came up to me and gave me a card which read,”Unconditional self-acceptance is at the core of a peaceful mind”.

    I’ve been practicing this and offering it out as a teacher since then. I can not claim to have mastered it, and I appreciate each reminder of this wisdom. Your article touched on this teaching beautifully. Thank you for this perspective on a theme that can reshape the lives and meditation practices of us all.

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  7. terry says:

    I have been meditating for over a decade now, but when I first started it was very difficult. To sit still with my eyes closed for even 5 minutes was tough and in those early days I would be constantly looking at the clock and almost willing the 5 minutes to be up.

    As with anything in life consistency is the key. If you go at it like a bull in a china shop expecting to meditate for an hour straight away, then you are setting yourself up for a fall. the way I did it was 5 minutes a day. To be honest I even struggled to do that at times, but gradually it became a part of my life. When thoughts come up if you can just watch them. Don’t get involved in the story that they are telling, just become an observer of your thoughts. You’ll find that very quickly they disolve if you don’t give them any energy.

    Funnily enough I just did an article last week about the very same thing on my website http://www.mindstar.org. I’d be glad of any comments on the stuff i’ve written. As i’m very new to all this I want to know if i’m doing ok and if it’s stuff that people want to read. Thanks

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  8. Kyle says:

    It definitely does require practice, I think most people have the problem that they don’t instantly see results so they give up completely

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  9. Rosa Muziotti says:

    Tips: I Meditate easier when I do it first thing in the morning than at the end of the day. It is important to set one’s watch or clock at the same time in the morning in order to be in the habit of doing meditation.

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