Overcoming Meditation Obstacles
Preparing for meditation is equally as important as meditation itself, and while there are many different ways to prepare for meditation, your toughest challenge may be to overcome the top 5 meditation obstacles that I am going to detail here.
I personally struggled with these obstacles when I began to incorporate mediation into my own life, so I know how challenging things can be at first.
For this reason I felt it was necessary to touch base on these common meditation obstacles and to show how you can also overcome them.
Many of you will struggle with all of these obstacles, however many of you will only struggle with some, but either way, most people who start mediation for the first time do hit many of these roadblocks.
As we covered in our beginners meditation guide, meditation is the practice of relaxing and stilling the mind of the constant chatter of our thoughts to experience the present moment in a state of inner peace and tranquility.
Sounds pretty straight forward however achieving a successful mediation session and especially incorporating meditation into your daily lifestyle isn’t always quite so easy because many roadblocks do exist, especially the five I am going to cover here.
The Top 5 Meditation Obstacles
One of the more common meditation roadblocks is time. I often hear people say they don’t have enough time. Time is used as an excuse in my opinion, and this excuse isn’t just used for meditation either.
One way to free up time is to look at your overall daily lifestyle and then find those things you could honestly do without, or at the minimum do without so much.
Do you watch TV? A large majority of the population, especially in the United States, in my opinion watch way too much television. If you are a TV watcher, and definitely a daily one, you may want to take a look at and evaluate your TV habits.
For example, do you really need to watch the entire nightly news? Considering a large majority of news is sad news, cutting out the news altogether may not exactly be a bad idea since you’re conscious and subconscious mind won’t be filled up with stressful junk like a landfill. At the least you can cut your news watching time down to a minimum and use that extra time for meditation.
Equally distracting and arguably not healthy for your overall state of being are common TV shows such as sitcoms or so called reality programs. Do you watch these shows? How do they make you feel? Also, do you enjoy the constant bombardment of commercials? Hmm, can your time and mind be better spent doing something else?
Taking a walk around your neighborhood or spending time with your children instead of sitting in front of the mind programming box may not be a bad idea, or heck, you can use this extra time to meditate and connect to your inner self!
In most situations time is a big fat excuse, and television is just one example where many of us dedicate, or should I say waste our time. I know we are all busy as bees, however if we evaluate how we spend our time, we will find many opportunities to incorporate meditation into our daily lifestyle.
Another big obstacle people face with incorporating meditation into their daily lifestyle is a lack of self-discipline. Like many things in life, adding meditation into your daily routine also takes a fair amount of discipline.
When we get excited about something new we are so ready to succeed, however we often fall victim to laziness and these new things slowly if not abruptly fade from our routines. Next stop, back to old habits.
This is often seen each year with New Year’s resolutions, most notably when people begin to incorporate exercise into their routines.
January is in fact the biggest month for fitness websites. What happens after January? Website traffic starts to steadily decline. Why? People become lazy and slip back into their old routines, despite the fact that exercise is obviously beneficial to their health. Often the same happens with meditation, or anything newly added to our routines for that matter.
How do we overcome this? One of the best ways in my opinion to stay motivated is to find a mediation partner, similar to a gym buddy. Sharing an experience with another soul, especially with someone you enjoy being around, is one of the best ways to stay motivated.
This doesn’t mean you guys have to meet up at a specific time and place every day to meditate, however if you can, go for it, group meditation is in fact an amazing bonding experience. If this isn’t possible, like it is for the majority, simply check in on each other’s progress to share experiences and keep each other motivated.
Distractions often go hand in hand with time. Many distractions are self chosen such as television, video games, the cell phone, etc., however many distractions are legitimate such as tending to our children or the significant other! Regarding the former, shut them off.
But how do I prevent friends and family from conflicting with my meditation? Overcoming this mediation obstacle is normally as simple as finding a time and place where you can get away from everyone for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Easier said than done, right?
What works best for many is to setup a time for mediation at night when the kids are in bed or get up earlier then you normally do in the morning and mediate then. Now if your kids are older, communication is often the best policy, so simply ask them to not disturb you for the next 20 to 30 minutes and then retreat to your favorite meditation spot. Now if that doesn’t work for you, good luck!
Actually, sometimes a distraction will creep up say even when you’ve already secluded yourself in the bedroom with a closed door and have begun mediation, however, if the distraction doesn’t require your immediate attention, you can simply acknowledge it as if it was just another thought creeping back in and then gently bring your attention back to your breathing. See our beginners meditation guide for the specifics.
These are just a few tips you can use to overcome the daily distractions from your digital gadgets, family, and friends to make time for meditation, however because your situation is unique, find a method that works best for you.
Falling asleep during mediation is a very common obstacle many of you will have to overcome. Mediation is very relaxing and the chance of drifting off is very likely, especially if you mediate at night.
One of the best ways to overcome this obstacle is to meditate in the morning or even during the day. While I enjoy mediating during the night before bed, I did at first fall asleep from time to time. I’ve heard from others that this happened to them as well.
If you have a hard time incorporating mediation into the morning or daylight hours, you may want to try meditating in a chair instead of sitting in your bed at night. Our bodies and minds have been programmed to associate bed with sleep, so by setting up a chair by your bedside instead, your chances of lying down and dozing off are less likely.
If you still fall asleep at night during meditation, even when sitting in a chair, and the morning and daylight hours don’t quite work for you, another thing you can try is to mediate in small increments during the day.
While small increments arguably may not be as effective as a full uninterrupted 20-30 minute mediation session, you can still reap great benefits. Even if you can’t sit in a meditative posture or close your eyes, you can just about anywhere focus on your breathing to bring yourself to a state of presence, or as I like to call it, in the NOW.
Focus on your breath and become aware of your present state of being. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, and breathe out. You can do this anytime, in your office cubicle, the restroom, or even sitting on a bench during your break. In fact, try this daily anytime you can and you will start to feel amazing because the art of presence is another key to a sound life.
Doubt is another one of the many obstacles you may face when starting meditation for the first time. This is especially true with beginners who don’t see results right away.
In our fast paced society many of us unfortunately expect instant gratification. What I can tell you from personal experience, meditation works wonders and it is well worth the initial effort.
I had my own doubts when I didn’t feel any difference during the first few days after starting meditation, however about a week in I began to feel less stressed and anxious during the day. One week later I felt a drastic difference in my state of being.
To overcome doubt, remember, many others have gone though this initial stage too, and so will you. With time and patience, you will succeed.
The Top 5 Meditation Obstacles Concluded
I hope you enjoyed this guide on overcoming meditation obstacles. I’m very confident that if you discipline yourself by setting aside time for daily meditation, and you remove all doubts and distractions, you will benefit greatly and experience more joy in your life from meditation.
If meditation is completely new to you, please remember to check out our beginner’s meditation tips and techniques page for it is there where we set the framework for starting meditation for the first time.
Thank you again and best of luck on your own meditation adventurers.