Early Struggles with Meditation

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Nowadays, it doesn’t take much for me to sit and meditate. Once I decide I want to, I go and do it. It wasn’t always like that. When I first started meditating, it took a lot for me to decide on a time and actually follow through with it. Being able to sit for more than just a few minutes at a time was another problem I faced.

My early struggles with meditation are well documented (My Second Attempt at Meditation and Roadblock to My Meditation Progress). In the past, it was difficult for me to meditate consistently and for a lengthy amount of time. A couple of the most notable difficulties for me were 1) getting in a comfortable position, and 2) not being easily distracted.

Getting in a Comfortable Position

Early on, I experimented with different sitting positions. First I tried sitting on the bed. Then I tried sitting on the bed with my back against the headboard. Then it was sitting on the floor on a yoga mat. After that, I tried sitting on a yoga mat with my back against the living room couch. When I moved to a new apartment, the floors were hardwood, so I moved back into the carpeted bedroom on a yoga mat. Finally, I now sit on a pillow placed on the carpet, which I have been using for the past couple months.

Using the pillow has been wonderful for me so far. I don’t fidget. I am able to sit upright whilst keeping my back straight. It doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all, and I don’t need to lean against anything.

Not having to think about getting in a comfortable position has helped me be more focused while I meditate.

Being Easily Distracted

When I first started meditating, it wouldn’t take much for me to get distracted while I sit. If I heard a noise outside, my focus would be interrupted. For instance, when I heard a loud car driving by, in my head I would picture what type of car it was, the color, how fast it was going, so on and so forth.

After many months of meditation and practicing mindfulness, I can proudly say that that is no longer the case. I found that the more I meditated, the less I was distracted by outside noise. I suppose it is something of an acquired ability.

I admit, there are still of course times I do lose focus of my breath, but I now have more awareness of when that happens. Once I do lose that focus, I veer back to the breath or to whatever mantra I am reciting at the time.

 

Recently, I noticed how much longer my meditation sessions have been. I can now sit from anywhere from 15-60 minutes at a time. It isn’t always on the pillow in silence, either.

Sometimes, I put some electronic trance on, lie on the couch, close my eyes and just listen to the music—doing this can be a form of mindfulness, as it is the only thing I am focused on at the time. I fell asleep the first couple times I tried this, which meant I wasn’t being mindful enough. For those two times, music was just playing in the background while I used it to help me rest.

But now, I am able to lie and close my eyes, being completely aware and mindful, focused only on the music. Listening to music this way has completely enhanced my experience. It is now my favorite way to listen to music, as compared to having it on as background noise while I’m at the gym or at work.

The way meditation and mindfulness changed my life definitely took time. It wasn’t like a light switch, where one day my life suddenly became so much better. Instead, it was a gradual shift. There were trials and tribulations, some of which took a long time to get past. Looking back to last year, I now notice the changes in how I live my life. I react to certain situations differently. I hold greater appreciations for my relationships. I can meditate longer and I practice mindfulness now out of habit.

I had my struggles early on, and I know I’ll continue to have struggles in one way or another, but each time I get through it, I become a stronger person.

 

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15 thoughts on “Early Struggles with Meditation”

  1. After reading this post, I can start meditating no problem. I started a while back with yoga but there was a lot of family issues going on so I took a hiatus. But now I can definitely get back on track.

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  2. Many doctors have told me that stress can create havoc inside your body anytime anywhere. So, practice meditation. I would say it’s not stress in my case, more like anxiety. I want to learn meditation. To begin with, I have just started to sit in a comfortable position with my eyes closed. I sit for 10 minutes ans notice all the sounds I hear and also dwell on all the thoughts that cross my mind. I don’t know if I’m in the right direction though!

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  3. This is very helpful. I struggle to still myself and have not yet reached a state of mind that could respectfully be called meditation. Your honesty about the struggles you encounter are encouraging to others like me. Practice and perseverance will bring about the desired mindfulness. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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  4. Loved the part about meditating to music. Listening mindfully can draw out an entirely different experience. I like how you mentioned that getting to that mindful state is a process. I’m going to my first meditation retreat on the 17th this month. The retreats are a total of 3 days, but they recommend only staying 6 hours the first time so you don’t overwhelm yourself. I’m very excited about it! Meditation has helped me a lot!

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  5. Glad to hear your meditation practice is going well. I have been engaged in my own for over 2 years and tried many different ways with varying success, such as guided, focusing on breath, visualization, walking, eating. My favorite and most used method is one of the simplest. I fold a blanket into a log shape, put it under my butt and sit cross legged with my eyes closed and no external stimuli. Sometimes I’ll even use ear plugs. The optimum length of time for me is around 8-10 minutes, but I have yet to experiment with larger chunks of time, maybe 20-45 minutes would be worth trying.

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  6. What an inspiring article! I’ve recently started on a more mindful path too, starting with 10 minutes of meditation every morning for the past few months but recently moving to an hour every evening in preparation for Vipassana (a ten day silent meditation – maybe something you would also consider!)
    I also liked how you mentioned meditating to trance, showing it doesn’t have to be a focus on the breath but on anything.. Feeling very motivated to try meditating on some of my favourite music too!
    Take care,
    Nx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am in that place where it’s so hard to just make it happen. My yoga/meditation space is central in the home and I feel a little on display…will be getting a little curtain – maybe that will help. Good to know that if I keep at it, it will become easier.

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  8. I think you’ve hit on some things here, one being music. I only use trance when I’m doing cardio. The music that helps me the most is Asian based music or actual music with Buddhist monks chanting. I think the key to long-term practice is to continually evolve and use our creativity. I’ve stared at a point on a wall, I focus on certain things (visualization), I use mantras, I even envision a story that I’m in. There are many things you can do to bypass the mind and truly explore your inner worlds. Have fun!!

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