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Why meditation is hard?

I have meditated off and on ever since discovering yoga over 10 years ago. There have been periods, mostly in the structured environments of my trainings, that I have meditated daily for a length of time. However, like many students who tell me that they are off & on with their practice, I’ve spent more days off than on. Good thing it’s not a job, otherwise laziness would’ve gotten me fired a long time ago. Laziness, restlessness; what else stands in our way? Fear? Doubt?

Why is it that establishing a regular meditation practice is so difficult?

For me, the greatest challenge was just doing it with a sparkle of laziness. I’m not going to lie and tell you that the practice of sitting is all rainbows and unicorns. Oh, and my back and knees aches, too. That's why I decided to do my practice laying down. Once I resolved the body part, what about my mind? They say the mind is like a monkey, I think mine is more like a bird that flies from tree to tree. Sometimes it’s like I’m listening to a dull monologue of problems that I’ve heard before and I can’t seem to escape. I assume that’s all relatively normal and so I do my best not to feed into the thoughts my mind loves to fixate on. One thing I’ve learned is if you want to establish a practice you have to look directly at what’s getting in the way and allow those obstacles to be your greatest teachers.

Let’s explore the various obstacles that prevent us from actually getting started on the path and/or finding consistency with our meditation practice.

1) Doubt- Let’s start with doubt, since I think for many of us this lurking feeling of uncertainty stops us before we start. We may wonder whether meditation will be worth our time. We may second-guess, despite knowing that it has been helping people for thousands of years and studies are proving it’s benefits, whether it will ‘work’ for us. It’s helpful to remember that thoughts are just that, thoughts, not truths – even the ones that say they are. When we sense doubt, or fear, or other limiting ideas that prevent us from taking action it’s empowering to simply take note.

2) Fear- another unpleasant emotion caused by misperceptions, it too can hinder our progress. I don’t think we are actually afraid of sitting and breathing of course. What we may be afraid of is actually seeing our ego’s strong grip on defining who we are. The ego has engrained itself as existing, which is perhaps why there is so much resistance to creating a habit of meditation. Meditation allows us to see clearly. The practice helps us truly see what is real. We can also clearly see what is false, included are the maskings we construct, the ego, which is now vulnerable and disposable, exactly what it doesn’t want us to see. Learning to label our thoughts and feelings, like fear, with meditation can send us on our way to living at our highest potential.

3) Being still - the idea of being still drives us nuts. Years of busy mind, years of creating and maintaining dramas, years of stresses and confusion and self-centeredness, and the mind has no idea how to be still. Rather, it craves entertainment. It’s not as if we can suddenly turn it off when we meditate. This experience of the mind being so busy is very normal. The sensation of restlessness is like any other, and often beneath it is anxiety or fear. We can regain our center when we identify the sensation or thought, name it and refocus on the breath. It’s not necessary that we explore it, unless we feel that is what we need. Additionally, the body reflects the mind and it can be physically challenging and uncomfortable to be still.

But I'm too busy, I don’t have the time’ excuse

I don’t know a single soul in the world these days who doesn’t claim to be busy, and it may certainly be true. However, most of us spend plenty of time surfing the web or playing games on our phones or watching tv. It only appears like we don’t have the time because we usually fill every moment with activity and never press the pause button. Making a commitment to meditate 5, maybe 15, minutes a day is only going to help us stay focused throughout the day, which helps us become more efficient and we’ll feel better doing it. The key to overcoming laziness is making a commitment. Meditation is definitely something you can do with a living partner, if that will help. It’s generally best to do it first thing each day, so that it doesn’t fall down the laundry list of items that need to get done.


First off, I recommend if you are new to meditation, then try start with short periods of time, such as 5-10 minutes. I also recommend exploring different postures, having back support is essential for many students. I sometimes alternate between lying down when I woke up and sitting after a yoga class. It may take some time to find the perfect posture, but do what works for you.

Ultimately, having a steady, consistent mindfulness meditation seems so simple, but practice isn’t always easy. We have to make space for it in our lives, plus we have to make peace with our busy brains. Set an intention to stay with the practice each day, each week, and before long you may just be a regular meditator feeling the rewards of a sublime and beneficial practice. Be forgiving of yourself as you go and remember you can always begin again.

I’m on the journey with you. Feel free to reach out with support, and with questions. Hopefully, we can help each other out.

with love, Cris

Mariebliss Yoga

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