Overcoming Resistance to Meditation
Meditation is the core practice of a spiritual path. (By “meditation” I mean sitting quietly and simply being with Mind, not reaching for an altered state). Why and how you meditate evolves over time, but its centrality to gaining inner peace cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult practice because your mind’s resistance to it is strong. You are mind and meditation should be natural. And it will become so as you become more aware that you are mind. But in your unnatural state of identification with a self (body/personality) you (a mind) find unnatural what is natural. The driver of your identification with a self, the personal thought system (ego), is threatened by anything that turns you inward to the mind. This is the source of your resistance (and why so many give up on meditation).
When my clients complain about their resistance to meditation I suggest that they pay attention to the feelings and thoughts that come up when they try to meditate. Feelings and thoughts reveal unconscious and conscious beliefs. The beliefs that emerge when you are resistant are the obstacles that need to be revealed, examined, and undone. This is not only so that you can meditate but also so that you can ultimately find lasting peace.
It is also helpful to know why you meditate. Reminding yourself of this can help motivate you:
I am mind and meditation gets me in touch with mind. It helps me get in touch with what I am.
Through meditation I learn what is in my mind. My beliefs are the source of my attitudes, behaviors, and choices. Knowing my beliefs helps me to understand what motivates my attitudes, behaviors and choices.
In meditation I can process out thoughts and feelings so my mind will quiet. This will help me not just throughout the day but also to unwind and to sleep.
The Truth is in my mind and the awareness of Truth is the only way to lasting peace.
As I grow aware of Truth, the Quiet Center of my mind, through formal meditation, I will take this Quiet with me as I go about my day.
As my mind quiets and slows through meditation I gain time to respond to my thoughts before I react from them.
The quieter, slower mind I gain through meditation helps me intuit the flow of the universe. I find and live in the flow rather than force my way through life. This is a much more harmonious way to be in the world.
You have to be willing to face incredible discomfort when you first learn to meditate. In time resistance ebbs – but then it will flow back again. You just have to ride out each wave of resistance and recognize that it helps you to get in touch with the false beliefs in your mind. But the quiet, slower mind and the peace that come from the awareness of Truth are well worth the effort to meditate. And after a long while meditation will require less effort as you desire its results.
There is no one right way to meditate. Some need quiet; some like to be guided. Others like music or chanting. It may work better to have your eyes open rather than closed. You need to be flexible as what works for you for a while may need to be dropped for a new approach. Don’t seek immediate results. Results may or may not show up when you meditate, but they will show up as you go about your life. At first these results may be a dramatic contrast to what you are used to. But as you integrate meditation into your life the results will be more subtle. They will become your new normal. Then you may only recognize what meditation brings to you when you do not meditate. But your peace of mind is worth both persistence and consistency.
If you have obstacles to peace or to the practice that would help you maintain peace, why not speak with someone who has experience working through them? You can email me to set up an appointment at Liz@acimmentor.com. Learn more at www.acimmentor.com.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others email it to me at Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the newsletter/blog.