In this article, I will be analyzing what it is exactly that makes it so difficult to establish meditation as a daily routine, how to overcome these obstacles and how to stick to your practice.
Establishing a new routine is not an easy thing for everybody, but thinking of the advantages makes it more than worth it.
When it comes to meditation, the advantage is that it will affect or change many or all the areas of your life in a positive way. Meditation can lead to a different view of life in general.
The disadvantage is that it can take a long time to insert it into your life; the good thing though is that it depends completely on you.
By “insert it into your life”, I mean practicing on a daily basis. Until you reach that point, you will not obtain fully the benefits of meditation, and it’s only then, that you will understand the difference between practicing a couple of times per week and practicing every day.
The obstacles that may occur
Let’s analyze the reasons that make it hard to establish meditation, divided in the obstacles that occur:
a) when you have decided that you want to meditate but have not yet started, and
b) during your first couple of months of meditating.
a) Obstacles when you have not yet started meditating
(maybe you have tried to meditate a couple or even many times, but never regularly)
1• It doesn’t fit with my schedule and everyday rhythm
It took me many years to establish my meditation as an everyday practice. Although it was something exciting to me and something that I really wanted to deepen into, there always seemed to be obstacles in front of me. My most common thought was: “I will start meditating, but right now my life is too stressful and busy and I feel that it would not fit in. I will start when my everyday will stop being so stressful.”
We live in a world where the fast rhythms and the stress have taken over, and that’s why we often feel that meditation is not fitting into our schedule.
Well, I have good news for you! You can decide how you want to live!
Most of the people don’t even consider that they have the option. They just go with the flow… like I was doing for many years indeed.
Maybe it’s time to start to reflect upon your life and how you want it to be. It’s only YOU that have control over your life. YOU decide what’s included in your everyday life and how much time and energy you will spend for each thing.
You cannot wait for your life to change, to start meditating. It’s meditation that will change all that. Make meditation a priority!
Solution. A good start is to write down all the things you do during the whole day and how much time you spend on them. For example: 9 hours at work, 20 minutes on facebook, 15 minutes talking on the phone, 1 hour cooking etc
Then it’s much easier to realize what it is that you don’t need in your life and make your everyday more simple.
2• I don’t have time
One of the most common excuses. When you have a busy schedule it’s really hard to find time for new things.
This obstacle is quite similar to the first one. The difference here is that you are actually busy with things that you like doing and that doesn’t stress you.
The solution for this obstacle is to create time, for example, by getting up 15 minutes earlier in the morning and meditating then. Pretty simple, isn’t it? Just make sure you get enough sleep.
* this obstacle may occur in phase (b) also
3• Finding excuses and delaying your practice
You want to meditate, you keep it in your mind all day, but it always seems to occur something else to do. You say that you will do it more often but time just seems to pass by and you are in the same phase….
This may happen because 1) you are not organized enough and not determined to make it a daily habit and 2) because you are simply not used to this kind of activity, where it’s required to be still, in both mind and body.
This is something that many people find extremely difficult to do. We are either used to doing physical activities like exercising or cleaning the house etc, or relaxing our body watching television or reading a book, but in all cases, our mind is free to travel wherever it wants, without limitations and without our task being to observe it.
The fact that we’re trying to accomplish something that is so different from what we are used to, may cause the delaying.
Solution. Keep reminding yourself your intention. Why do you want to start meditating and why is it so important for you? When something else occurs take a moment to think what is more beneficial; this other thing or meditation?
Three words you have to keep in your mind: patience, determination, and persistence; always keep in mind that it will get easier with time until you will reach the point where you will FEEL THE NEED to meditate 😉
necessary steps to establish your practice
After deciding that you will start a meditation routine, before actually starting, you have to find your place, time ,and posture.
To establish a meditation practice, it’s very important to follow these first simple steps. These steps will be the foundation of your new routine.
• Find your meditation space. Find a spot in your home where you will meditate.
It can be a spot beside a window where you have natural light flowing in (if you decide to meditate during the day), a cozy spot in your living room etc.
The ideal would be to create a space or room that you can just use when you’re meditating. That is something very hard and unreal for most of the people, so just choose a spot where you feel comfortable and inspired and that you would not be disturbed by others.
• Find a time during the day that you will meditate. I recommend that you experiment a little bit with yourself to find which time fits you best. It can be a very good start for your day in the morning, or a very nice way to end your day before sleeping, or a relaxing pause during or after your work.
Many advantages and disadvantages come along with the different parts of the day.
In the morning, it’s easier for many to meditate, because our minds are not busy with thoughts yet. It’s also a very nice way to start your day with a relaxed and peaceful mindset.
During the day, it can be harder because of the many things we may have in our minds, but it has the advantage that you take a pause in the middle of the day. This can help you realize how many unneeded thoughts there are in your mind, but it can also make your practice much harder.
Meditating in the evening will help you relax before going to bed and have a peaceful sleep. The problem when meditating in the evening is that you can get sleepy very easy and find it very difficult to keep your mind alert.
Choosing a specific time and place doesn’t mean that you have to stick to it forever. When I started meditating I did it during the day. After a couple of months, I changed it to the morning.
While time passes by and you develop with your practice, you will discover other ways of doing it, like changing the time to another because you just discovered that it’s more productive for you, or changing the place or starting to meditate with a group etc.
The important thing is to find something that suits and serves you right now.
Experiment and choose what’s best for you.
• Find your posture. There are many ways to sit while meditating. The important thing is to be relaxed and keep your spine straight. Read this post that analyzes deep into the posture, and find what fits you best.
b) Obstacles after you have started meditating regularly
You are at the point that you have decided the time, place and posture and you have started with your meditation sessions on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, there are obstacles that may occur at this point too.
I’m going to analyze these obstacles, how to overcome them, and stick to your practice.
1• Restlessness and boredom
Either it’s your first sessions or it has been a couple of weeks/months since you started meditating daily, you may start to feel restless and bored.
♦When it occurs in your first sessions the reason can be that you’re just not used to be sitting on a spot without moving and without keeping your mind occupied. It’s exactly what I mentioned in the third obstacle above: “Finding excuses and delaying your practice”.
Solution. The easiest way to deal with the restlessness and boredom is to put a time limitation. You say to yourself for example, that I just have to meditate for 5 minutes.
That takes off all the pressure you feel when you think that you have to sit still on the same spot for 20 or 30 minutes. Immediately you will feel at ease.
When doing this you will notice that it’s easier to remain concentrated in what you actually want to do and not start daydreaming or planning the dinner.
Setting an attainable goal, like 10 minutes, will give you positive feelings after achieving it, and imagine if you stay even longer!
Setting a more difficult goal and not achieving it, will bring negative emotions to you, and that will surely not help you overcome the boredom.
There are many “Meditation Timer Apps” available in Google Play that you can install in your mobile or tablet. I believe that meditation timers are an important and very helpful tool. My sessions are much more organized and productive when I use a timer.
You can start to increase the time when you feel ready. Give the time needed to yourself and establish a healthy, strong meditation routine, without forcing yourself.
♦When it occurs after a while that you have been meditating, the reason can be lack of motivation.To establish something in your life you need to have motivation towards it.
As much motivated as you may be in the beginning, at some point in your practice as a beginner, you may loose it.This happens because you have to make a lot of effort to meditate without any “big” results in the beginning.
When you have been meditating for a while, you start to enjoy the benefits and your sessions become more and more pleasant and effortless. At that point, your motivation is your whole experience but in the beginning, you need to keep your motivation fired up.
Solution. There are many ways to keep your motivation fired up.
The most important thing is not to forget your intention. A very effective way to keep yourself reminded is to repeat your intention (what you want to achieve), to yourself, several times first thing in the morning, last thing before you go to bed and of course every time before your meditation session.
Continue reading about how to fire up your motivation.
2• Don’t look upon your session as a chore.
This connects to the motivation and the duration of your session. If you think as you should about the time and keep yourself motivated, you will likely not see it like a chore. (explanation on the above obstacle ↑)
If you continue to look upon your session as a chore, the source of the problem may be that you have connected your meditation with negative feelings.
This may happen because you feel uncomfortable while sitting on the floor (physical discomfort) or maybe because you experience feelings like disappointment, failure or restlessness while meditating.
The tricky thing here is that you may not even realize that you have negative feelings, so here is the explanation to it.
Your meditation sessions will not be the same every day. Some days you will feel like you have really been doing a great job, and others you may feel like you are right in the beginning point again.
You will notice that your mind is more active some days making it very difficult for you to meditate. These days we tend to feel disappointed or even angry and upset with ourselves that our mind keeps wandering all the time.
Well, negative feelings can only have a bad influence on us and our meditation.
Solution. The solution for the physical pain is simple.
Find a posture where you are comfortable in.
If you start to feel discomfort or physical pain, you can change your posture in the middle of your session. While being a beginner you can start meditating on the floor and when you feel discomfort and pain, change your posture; move to a chair for example. Your body will start to adapt and get used to the posture. With time, you will be able to sit for longer periods.
You can also start an asana sequence to loosen your hamstrings and joints. You should do that with the guidance of a yoga teacher.
There are also very cheap yoga classes available online. Check out my review about Yoga Download.
The solution for the negative feelings is to change your perspective.
We should always intend for positive feelings when meditating.
We should not be judgmental with ourselves or have expectations.
Put aside what you have heard or read about other people’s experience. Everyone experience meditation and self-discovering in a different way.
You should just feel happy and proud of yourself that you are willing to sit down for a moment every day to meditate. The rest will come.
Keep in mind all these things and have a relaxed manner when you meditate.
When a distraction appears for example, and you get lost in it, don’t get angry or disappointed with yourself; emphasize instead on the moment that you discover that you have been distracted and be happy and proud about it.
You should consider these days as a chance to improve and work with yourself. A chance to observe your mind and get to know yourself better. If it wasn’t for these days we would not have the chance to learn to meditate anyway, would we?
And also think the benefits you will obtain of training your mind not to be over-active and over-sensitive. Isn’t that the goal of our meditation? How to become more objective and not be ruled by our emotions?.
Two more obstacles that I mentioned before can also occur at this stage. It’s the I don’t have time and Finding excuses and delaying your practice.
If these two obstacles occur at this stage it means that you haven’t done a good job establishing the time of your practice.
In this case, you also have to be more determined and persistent.
Read the relevant paragraphs again if you need to.
Hope this article has provided you some useful insight.
Wish you all the best with your meditation practice. If any obstacles occur don’t hesitate to leave your comment below 😉