Overcoming Obstacles to Meditation

A yogi's personal troubleshooting guide to meditation.

1) Find a Technique 

People use meditation in many different ways. Some use meditation to shed their attachment to the physical body, athletes can use it to visualize and hone in focus to improve their performance, some go deep within and find wisdom about the world and connect with something greater than themselves, while others simply use it to relax. Once you know what you want to strive toward, you can choose a practice that feels right for you.

2) Eliminate Resistance

Sitting quiet with one’s thoughts can be unnerving and difficult for most, so you are bound to run into road blocks. Acknowledging that it is completely normal to feel negativity and reminding yourself that it is only a sliver of time in your day can help put you back into reality. Starting with just 5 minutes at a time and working your way up is also a gentle way to make progress without it being daunting.

3) Clear Emotional Baggage

The business of everyday life distracts us from emotions we may not have processed in the past. Sitting down in silence will eventually bring up these difficult emotions, so how do we move through them? There are many ways but I will name one that I use. Focusing on the body, release the thoughts surrounding the feeling. Concentrate on where in the body the feeling it is located. Now allow the feeling to express itself and sit with it (knowing it may be uncomfortable) until the feeling dissipates. 

4) Keep it Simple

All of these tips are helpful but at the end of the day, it all just comes down to you sitting down and shutting your eyes. Creating a meditation space and time can help make it personal ritual. Getting a meditation seat or cushion, lighting incense or a candle, saying a prayer, are all nice, but don’t let the outsides distract you. All the benefits happen within, so keep it simple and when the thought comes up, just check in with yourself and do it!

Catherine Shelling