Recently, I asked leading experts within the Meditation space for their thoughts, expertise and guidance relating to the frustrations most beginners face and the solutions they suggest to help overcome such struggles.
I asked “What are the most common frustrations beginners to Meditation face and what would YOU recommend to overcome them…”
Before I share with you the thoughts of our illustrious leaders, I must first extend a huge thank you for each and every person who has kindly contributed to my research. I am extremely humbled for the time and efforts that they have awarded me in my quest to educate you on the “Benefits of Meditation”. I ask YOU to pay them the same respect and gratitude by visiting their websites along your journey to a more fulfilling and enlightened existence!
Let me begin by admitting something honest. I know your struggles; I feel your pain when it comes to meditation. At the beginning your struggles seem to outweigh any foreseeable benefits. Although you hear the continuous praise surrounding meditation in which claims that it has SOOOOO many health benefits that can transform your mental and physical well being, the constant battle and difficulties a beginner must face is often daunting and, frankly, extreme. Often this hardship leads one to question the true validity of its health benefits more times than not leading to ultimate rejection of the process altogether…please, PLEASE persist…
There’s no quick fix but a lifestyle change that can overwhelm many…be sure to read my article You Cannot Learn How to Meditate if You Don’t Know What Meditation Is…for further insight.
The project will be an ongoing, growing journey as I receive more answers from other leaders in the Meditation space…FOR NOW and in NO apparent order…ENJOY!!!
Andy Puddicombe is a meditation and mindfulness expert. An accomplished presenter and writer, Andy is the voice of all things Headspace. At Headspace we see meditation as both a practice rooted in ancient history and a topic of modern science. We recognize that the only way to know if we are achieving our goal of improving the health and happiness of the world is to measure it.
“By far, the largest struggle that beginners face is; progression. While practicing meditation, it is completely normal to feel as though you aren’t progressing. But we want to try and let go of the worry tied to your meditation progression, as the only goal to meet here is to become comfortable with your own mind. Once we start telling ourselves that we “should be here” or “should be feeling this way”, we start doubting ourselves. Not seeing noticeable progression then causes us to become worrisome, and lose motivation towards meditating every day, but it shouldn’t.
In fact, real progress could arguably be said to be found in the willingness to sit down, day after day, no matter how you are feeling, and to simply be present with the mind exactly as it is. To have the courage and dedication to do this, no matter whether you perceive the meditation to be good or bad, pleasurable or unpleasurable, beneficial or otherwise. To do this day after day, with sensitivity and kindness – that’s progress.”
Taylor H. (Employee at Headspace) … totally agree with Taylor steer away from “results” and focus more on being in the “moment”.
Adrian – Founder of “The Now Project” – helps individuals discover mindfulness and enriches their lives…A man who humbly goes about his life’s calling to help others discover a better way of life.The Project is a movement for social change…
“One of the most common problems when meditating is sitting there listening to your head telling you that you can’t do it or that you are doing it wrong.
The truth is that you are doing it and you are doing it right. Watch the thoughts telling you that you are wrong. Make that your meditation.”
Adrian – LoveLifeLiveNow – The babbler, the mind chatter, is difficult to master but if you heed Adrian’s advice you take away the PAIN of doing and turn it into PLEASURE of the challenge.
Synchronicity High-Tech Meditation was created by Master Charles Cannon (a world renown modern spiritual teacher.) Synchronicity provides a novel way to achieve balance, wholeness and fulfilment in a fast-paced Western lifestyle.
“People often ask us… What are the best ways to meditate, or what are the best meditation techniques for beginners?
Ultimately, they are all the same. It is all about your focus and intention. The best form of meditation for you is the one with which you resonate.
At Synchronicity Foundation, we teach a modern form of meditation called High-Tech Meditation®. It creates balance between the two sides of the brain. The result is relaxation and the experience of more-expanded states of awareness. Studies show that this form of meditation is easier for people who live a dynamic modern lifestyle.
High-Tech Meditation works well for both beginners and advanced meditators. It is effective regardless of what your practice has been or the amount of time you have devoted to it. It is also a perfect meditation for beginners since you need only put on your headphones and push “Play.”
High-Tech Meditation allows you to efficiently experience advanced levels of meditation without all the time and effort of more traditional techniques. In ancient times, people left civilization and sought refuge in caves in order to meditate. High-Tech Meditation with headphones moves the cave to your own home and makes authentic meditative experience possible for everyone in today’s busy world.”
Synchronicity – High Tech Meditation – For a long time and especially during my early initiation to meditation I used “High Tech” music, binaural beats, guided meditation whatever was available I tried it…in time you eventually find/discover/determine what works for YOU!
Tobi Warzinek is a spiritual teacher and has founded the Dharana Meditation Center in Phuket/Thailand together with his wife Parn Sakda. He is studying and practicing traditional Buddhist Meditation and philosophy since 2002. He stayed in the Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Rabten Choeling as a lay student (Upāsaka) for 7 years. In 2009 he received the authorization to teach. Since 2011 he is practicing within the Thai forest tradition and currently lives and teaches mostly on Phuket Island in southern Thailand
Most Common Frustrations:
“They arise from the expectation to achieve some fictional results within a very short timespan. Many are hoping for quick results and are not willing to put in the years and the hardship it takes to truly master any given skill. However, the biggest obstacle is that most are not spending time with masters who could guide them properly without self interest. In this world it’s hard to find people who are truly skilled and it’s equally hard to follow their advice with sincerity.”
“Associate with people of integrity who have mastered the skill of Meditation. Besides being skilled, let them be kind and have nothing but your wellbeing in mind. This is the fastest path to mastering the art.”
Tobi at Phuket Meditation Center – Absolutely, we live in an age where we are all in a hurry to get somewhere without embracing and enjoying the journey. Unfortunately, as great as the internet is for sharing knowledge, experiences and connecting it has also opened up a whole new “DIY” world….for better or worse….
Tara Brach,TaraBrach.com – Tara earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Fielding Institute, with a dissertation exploring meditation as a therapeutic modality in treating addiction. Working as both a psychotherapist and a meditation teacher, she found herself naturally blending these two powerful traditions—introducing meditation to her therapy clients and sharing western psychological insights with meditation students.
“There’s no one style of meditation that is “best” or fits all people. Give yourself the gift of practicing every day, even if it’s for a short time. You are entering a path that has served the hearts and minds of millions of people from all parts of the world. May you discover the blessings of open-heartedness, insight, healing and freedom!
(Your) mind is always busy, lost in thought. How do (YOU) quiet it?
“This is very common to see in the meditative process, it is natural and there is nothing wrong. Understand too, there is no need to get rid of thoughts; this is not the purpose of meditation. Rather, we are learning to recognize when thinking is happening so we are not lost in a trance – believing thoughts to be reality, becoming identified with thoughts. Because we are so often lost in thought, it is helpful first to simply notice this fact.”
“When we bring a gentle allowing attention to the present moment, we are cultivating the respect and appreciation of lovingkindness. When we bring mindful presence to physical or emotional difficulty, our heart opens in compassion. And moments of love and compassion soften and open us in a way that allows us to deepen mindfulness and enhance clear seeing. Love and wisdom need each other, belong to each other.”
Tara Brach – tarabrach.com – “give yourself the gift of practicing everyday” – This is the key to experiencing even the most profound experiences meditation has to offer..but life unfortunately gets in the middle of good intentions and when it does don’t stress it just make a point of getting back into the routine…back into forming that “HABIT”.
Giovanni Dienstmann Meditation Teacher, Writer, Coach, Speaker Author of Practical Meditation – LiveAndDare.com“Throughout my life, I have invested a lot of energy, study and experimentation on optimizing my mental and emotional states—and overcoming all limitations, especially those imposed by fear, anxiety, attachment and self-doubt, has been an area of focus for me.”
“Two of the most common frustrations is confusion about the practice, and difficulty in creating a daily meditation habit.
To overcome the confusion part, it’s helpful to learn meditation from a good teacher, blog, or online course -one that will clarify things for you, show you the big picture, and really help you understand what meditation is about, and the mechanics of it.
For creating a daily habit, it helps to start really small – maybe with 3 to 5 minute daily sessions. Just have the attitude of never zero, which means that no matter what, you will not skip meditation even for a day. You decide that you will not go to sleep at night unless you have meditated at least 3~5 minutes that day. With this determination and attitude, you can finally build a solid and satisfying meditation practice.”
Giovanni Dienstmann – LiveandDare – Totally agree Giovanni when you start out 3-5 minutes to quieten an active mind seems like an eternity, with time 30-60 minutes becomes a blink…
Lynne Goldberg – Breethe.com
Lynne Goldberg – “We make it better: Experience better health, better sleep, better sex, better focus. Better memory, better mood, better relationships, better peace of mind, better productivity, better creativity, and even better self esteem and self acceptance.”
“Most beginners wonder if they are doing it right. They notice their minds wandering and they think am I normal? Yes, you are!! We all have thoughts, between 40,000 to 60.000 thoughts per day… so as long as you notice when you have wandered off and come back to the object of your attention, you are meditating.”
Lynne Goldberg – yes Lynne ultimately it’s as simple as that…well done!
Bodhipaksa, Wildmind Buddhist Meditation – has been practicing Buddhist since 1982, and teaching meditation since the late 1980’s. “I love teaching meditation. It’s had a tremendously positive effect on my own life, and I’ve seen it have an equally large effect on the lives of my students. Over and over again, students have told me how learning to meditate has changed their lives.”
“The most common difficulty that beginners face when introduced to lovingkindness meditation is when they’re asked to cultivate lovingkindness toward themselves. They find this challenging, and often think there’s nothing lovable within them, or that they’re not capable of having love for themselves. Those are genuinely frightening thoughts to have, and some people end up distressed to the point that they want to avoid lovingkindness practice altogether.”
“I think the problem is with those words “love” and “lovingkindness,” which nowadays I tend to avoid. To me it’s more useful to think in terms of practicing being kind to yourself. We don’t have to look for some mysterious quality of “lovingkindness” — we just need to be kind. I think most of us know how to do that; kindness is a part of our nature. We don’t have to love ourselves, which can be a tall order when we’re aware of our many faults. We can instead simply be kind — even to our faults and bad habits. This simple shift of vocabulary can free us from some very unpleasant pitfalls and open up the way for profound personal change.”
Bohhipaksa – wildmind.org – Toooooo true a fact of life many can’t and don’t come to grips with…”loving thy self”, accepting who you are and what you are…acceptance is the beginning of any meaningful change/transformation that makes a difference. One that’s strong enough to influence change around you as well…
Malcolm Fletcher, – Streamline Meditation – Streamline Meditation is the purest and highest form of meditation available today. It is a simple, naturally occurring process..“Streamline Meditation is not a way to silence the mind. It is the way to discover the silence that is already present.”
“The meditators preconceived ideas or expectation of results not matching the experience is the most common cause of frustration with all the so called techniques of meditation.
This is also because they are all designed to provide a fixed result or goal.”
“However Streamline Meditation is meditation in its naturally occurring form and doesn’t encounter these sorts of problems.”
“Real Meditation is not a technique and so Streamline Meditation really begins where all the techniques finish.”
“The state of meditation is always eternally present and available to us all. Avoid all the frustration of techniques and just experience it directly and instantly.”
Malcom Fletcher – streamlinemeditation.com.au – I can see the reasoning behind these statements…”go with the flow” enjoy the moment, embrace the experience and trust the process…
Melissa Eisler, Mindful Minutes – shares information that she’s learned — and continues to learn — on how to live a mindful life. Her hope is that her experiences resonate with a variety of “busy” people who find common ground in having an interest in mindful living…
“When you first decide to explore meditation, the practice can seem overwhelming. The dozens of meditation styles can make the basic steps sound far more complicated than they actually are.”
If you’re new, step back from all of the details and embrace these ten rules. They’ll guide the basic foundation for your meditations and answer the common questions many people have when just starting out.”
1/ Be Comfortable;
2/ Be Alert;
3/ Start Small;
4/ Find a Quiet Space;
5/ Don’t Try to Clear Your Mind;
6/ Turn Off Your Ringer;
7/ Be Consistent;
8/ Be Patient;
9/ Use a Timer; and
10/ Don’t Judge
Melissa Eisler – Rules for New Mediators –Great steps to follow for a beginner wanting to learn how to meditate properly…
Mindful is a mission-driven non-profit. We’re dedicated to inspiring, guiding, and connecting anyone who wants to explore mindfulness—to enjoy better health, more caring relationships, and a compassionate society. Mindful is the voice of the emerging mindfulness community. We’re the place to go for insight, information, and inspiration to help us all live more mindfully.
People think they’re messing up when they’re meditating because of how busy the mind is. But getting lost in thought, noticing it, and returning to your chosen meditation object— breath, sound, body sensation, or something else—is how it’s done.
That’s about it. If you’re doing that, you’re doing it right!
Mindful Staff … thanks all at MIndful – we humans tend to complicate the simple, I guess it’s our way of trying to parade our intelligence, simple can be achieved by all, complicated is for the selected few…to figure out???
Again, my sincere thanks and gratitude to those above who have taken the time and effort to share their knowledge, experiences and wisdom to help YOU fight through any obstacles and challenges you face as beginners learning how to meditate properly.
This project is only as successful as those that contribute so please select those who resonate with you and seek them out…personally I have no affiliation with any of the above mention experts or those that come after but to bring you the wealth of expertise and willingness of those in the industry to assist you…
This project will continue into the future as I seek out more willing providers…so stay tuned and visit regularly…
Until next time….stay casual…