Is Meditation Hard?


Most people I talk to about meditation say they "can't", because their "mind never stops", and it's a "challenge". True, the mind may seem to never "stop thinking", because that's what it’s designed to do. Why, you may ask, should I try to meditate, when I never achieve anything? If you have tried to sit still and feel frustrated by the constant stream of distracting and sometimes disturbing thoughts, getting fed up with the process is a pretty natural outcome. What's the point? Think for a moment: If every time you stop "doing" and attempt to be still, and get barraged by your racing, uncontrollable thoughts, what's happening in your mind while you're not paying attention? An unexamined mind is constantly talking to us, offering a stream of judgement about everything happening at the moment, as well as what's happened in the past and in the future. Usually we let it, like a loud annoying neighbor we can hear from our backyard but never have the courage to ask to quiet down. The thing is, that voice in our head is not who we ARE, it's just a part of who we are, usually called our ego. In yoga, that mental chatter is called vritti. Patanjali defines yoga as the stilling of the mind, and then describes an entire process and lifestyle devoted to getting there. Is it easy? Well, actually, I believe there is a small percentage of lucky people born with a calm and truly easy going nature, with what most of us are struggling to attain- a quiet mind, maybe “inner peace”. But for most of us, if we choose it, the journey to finding inner peace feels long, possibly endless, and difficult. I've been practicing yoga, mostly in the physical sense, since was a teen. I've only had a meditation practice for a handful of years. My mind is still very, very busy, especially in the beginning of a meditation. SOMETIMES, only sometimes, I find these moments of total ease and bliss, usually after about 20 minutes of breathing deeply and practice my mantra. But at this point, I've let go of the story I used to tell myself about meditation being "hard", or “not for me”. The biggest challenge I think is real in meditating is making yourself actually SIT DOWN. Once you're there, whatever happens happens, but it's not actually "hard", you're just sitting there after all. You can call it hard, or you can just look at it as the journey of actually getting to know yourself. It's easy to distract ourselves constantly with work, entertainment, commitments, drugs, netflix, etcetera. But all those things keep us from discovering the depth within, who we REALLY are. So, try it. I challenge you. Give yourself 20 minutes, or even just 10 minutes, each day, to sit down, deepen your breath, and see what comes up. There are a million and one techniques to practice while you're sitting there, I use and teach them all the time, it’s one of the focuses of my upcoming online 5 Month Self-Discovery Yoga Immersion. You can try out one of these from my website, or check out any of the myriad meditation apps out there. OR, you can just sit, every day, and let your thoughts in. And then let them out again. Watch each one come up, like a cloud passing through the sky, and then watch it float out of your awareness. Keep breathing. And try this while you're doing it: smile. It's not that hard. (:

Starting July 8th I’m offering a FREE 10 day yoga challenge mini-course, to help you design your own regular home practice!