2022: Why is it difficult to keep distracting thoughts from entering consciousness while meditating.

Kundalini meditation

Pic from Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

Expectations about what should occur are incorrect.

The odds are overwhelmingly stacked against the sincere practitioner from the beginning due to the multitude of ideas that people have about what meditation is, how it actually works, howit should make them feel, and how to accomplish it. 

While this can happen and undoubtedly occurs for some, it is by no means the objective or the standard, especially not for individuals just beginning out with meditation. Meditation is sometimes connected with Indian or Asian cultures, in a certain cross-legged position whereby some magical state of being comes over the meditator and you are wrapped in a beautiful tranquility!

Not knowing what to do during meditation
This is a major issue that stems from the first cause individuals struggle. In the numerous meditation sessions I've taken, the teacher, no matter how well meaning person, does not always inspire the learner.

Clear knowledge provided at the correct moment and level provides power. Encouragement and confirmation of what was experienced are also quite beneficial. This implies that each individual requires new knowledge to assist them specifically where they are in their developmental process. This is advised through the teacher-student connection, where the teacher, who has attained spiritual sight, may effectively mentor the beginner.

How to Overcome your Struggles with Meditation: 10 Steps For Lasting Change

Meditation can seem deceptively simple, therefore frustration kicks in for many of us when we discover we can’t quite master it straight away. Remember it’s called a practice for a reason, it does take time and discipline before it starts to feel natural. If nothing else, take comfort in knowing that everyone struggles to meditate at some point during the process. 

In my own journey with meditation, I had occasions where I wanted to tear my hair out. Intense feelings of irritation and anger would overwhelm me as my busy thoughts refused to go away. I would tune into annoying outside sounds that I couldn’t avoid and want to give up!  

I want to save you from the same process of self-doubt and chronic feelings of failure so you don’t turn meditation into a complicated inner battle or a chore to tick off the list. I’ve created a 10-step guide to help you address some of the common reasons meditation can feel like an uphill struggle. This list will help you break through the barriers to achieving a simple and gratifying meditation practice.

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  1. Are you Inspired to Meditate? 

We are more compelled to do things that inspire us, rather than things we’re obliged to do.

It’s good to remember why you were drawn to the idea of meditation. I found that reading many different books on the topic helped me to keep on track. Knowing that others had experienced such transformative results motivated me to continue. Ultimately when you are enjoying your practice you will wake up excited to meditate. Until that day, feed your inspiration as best you can. 

  1. What is your Motivation? 

It helps to put some thought into what your expectations from the practice are. Are you hoping to become calmer? More confident? More productive? It’s also beneficial to think of how your meditation may affect others in your life.

  1. Do you have a Routine? 

The reality is we all lead very busy lives and it’s sensible to carve out a specific time to meditate. When you first awake is usually the best time to practice. You haven’t begun a day of distractions. Your thoughts are still in a more relaxed state. The aim is to treat meditation a bit like taking your vitamins, until it becomes a seamless part of your everyday routine.

  1. Don’t go it alone! 

There is connection in shared experiences. It can be easier to meditate in a group and experience the different benefits and insights of a shared practice. Instructors are used to students falling asleep in the class, there is no pressure. Others can talk about the challenges they are having and it can help you to feel a sense of joint dedication. If you don’t have access to a meditation group or community, consider at least discussing your process with friends who are also starting to meditate. Meditation does not have to be some mysterious, unattainable thing and the more you open up about your process with others the easier it can become. 

  1. Have you Chosen a Specific Technique? 

If you are still exploring different methods of meditation, it can make things harder. It’s a good idea to experiment with various forms and styles but try to choose one that resonates with you and stick to it for a period of time. I think it’s also important to start small and build a practice gradually. You can start by meditating for just one minute a day, then grow your practice as you’re ready.

  1. Are you Obsessing on Eliminating Thoughts? 

This is the big one for most people. Instead of a focus on eliminating thoughts, focus instead on allowing in a calmer, quieter sense of self, the one that is there at all times just waiting to rise up. 

If you are waiting for some perfect state of mind to occur before you can meditate, that is like saying you can’t possibly meditate unless you have an empty room filled only with expensive candles and crystals. Perfection is not the aim. A common misconception is that we must stop or get rid of thoughts to be able to meditate. I have found it is much easier to consider that the desired state of being already exists in each of us, we simply have to allow it to surface. 

  1. Are You Skeptical of Meditation? 

If you're skeptical, it sets you up for negative thoughts and for beating yourself up. If a piece of you doubts that meditation works or doubts that you can do it, then it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy because this is a practice, and it's one that takes time to get better at.

  1. Are you making it harder than it needs to be? 

Sometimes we create problems out of nothing, just to make sense of why we are finding something challenging. Do you find yourself criticizing your efforts? Does it feel like your mind is brimming with thoughts that you cannot possibly control? Are you filled with a strong desire to stand up and scream instead of meditating? At the beginning it’s very common to become frustrated at how intensely agitated our minds suddenly become when sitting still. When you realize that this is part of the process, and in fact if you can allow all of that negative self-talk to just be there in the background, you will find it starts to dissipate. Let go of the idea of there being a problem and approach this experience as part of the learning process. 

  1. Are you avoiding the discipline?

Meditation seems deceptively simple to the untrained eye. But no matter how easy it may seem, it does take self control to nail it. If you allow yourself to daydream the entire session, you will end up half-heartedly meditating. It helps to gently remind yourself that some effort is required to keep your mind focused on your breath, mantra or whatever technique you are using. Be gentle with yourself, but also be realistic.

It’s not going to happen without some intention and desire to focus 100% on the practice. You will get distracted, and that is okay. The key lies in calmly bringing your attention back again and again without self-criticism. 

  1. Do you have a strong and authentic intention to make positive changes? 

This is the most crucial point to bear in mind, and especially integral to committing to a practice. I began my own journey because I felt utterly compelled to try something new. I had hit rock bottom in my life and I was basically desperate for anything that would help me make changes.

I think if you have a strong desire to gain control of your life, combined with an enthusiasm and open mind to give a new approach a chance, you will observe incredible transformative changes occur in your life. As you solidify your practice you will see the wonderful effects in your experience and so each feeds the other making meditation an essential tool for a positive life.

Thanks for reading this far :)

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