I really like the idea of meditation and feel intuitively like it would be a very good practice for me on a regular basis, but any time I try to engage in some kind of meditation experience, it’s a real bust. I’m uncomfortable sitting in the lotus position, can’t sit still, find my thoughts wandering to all the chores I’m not getting done, and sometimes even falling asleep. Is it hopeless for someone like me?
Believing that everyone should be able to just sit down somewhere and instantly start meditating successfully is a little like assuming someone who has lived all their life in a desert will do fine if we stick them on a mountaintop with a pair of skis and tell them to glide effortlessly down the slope on their first try. Not gonna happen. It’s not that meditation is a lot of work. In fact, sometimes you have to learn NOT to work, in order to benefit from meditation. But it is a new experience for most of us, a vastly new experience for many of us, and something that takes practice.
Think about it. How busy is the world around you? Most of us who live in the US have a lifestyle that would have a human living in medieval times going cuckoo. Our brains are highly conditioned to handle a flood of stimuli each and every day. Our neuronal pathways are used to firing off an endless array of messages. This doesn’t stop just because you sit down and close your eyes.
To complicate matters, in the Western world we tend to overvalue activity and think quiet times of contemplation are for weirdos, sissies or lazy people. In most environments, you will be rewarded for what you do on the surface, not who you are in ways that are not visible to others.
That said, anyone can learn to meditate. You just need to find a system that works for you and stick with it. I personally couldn’t sit in the lotus position if my life depended on it; and I still have occasional frustrating sessions with the “chattering monkeys” as they say in Buddhism, but my sense of inner peace has grown step by step for years now; and I wouldn’t trade it for all the gold in the world. Meditation is the daily drink of cool water that refreshes your very soul.