I found this article at ShambalaSun.com which is one excellent source for information on Mindfulness Meditation, and tips for the beginning meditator. The writer, Diana Winston, outlines some of the most common obstacles people encounter when first attempting to integrate meditation into their daily routine. The truth is that we’ve all encountered these “hardships” while learning to meditate, and when we can overcome the minor discomforts and train ourselves to sit every day, we can begin to experience the benefits of mindfulness meditation.
By Diana Winston
Your unforgiving alarm rings for all it’s worth. It’s 7AM. You crash out of bed, slamming your toe on your bedside table. You fumble for your zafu in the dark. “It’s over here somewhere,” you mumble. Hearing you awaken from the dead, your cat runs screeching. You are about to plant your still-zombiefied-self on the cushion when nature calls. Three minutes later your mother calls too, and you know you really shouldn’t answer it but she does have that crucial bit of information about the results of American Idol, and… that’s it, the day has started. You’re late for work, the shower’s running cold again, your toothbrush bristles are thoroughly chewed through, the cat is ripping apart your sofa, blackmailing you for food, and of course, as always, despite hundreds of clothes in your closet, you have nothing to wear. You leave the house agitated, jangled, caught in another shouting match with yourself: “You lazy… you didn’t meditate! Again. You’ll never change!”
Sound familiar? Sure it does. Despite all those resolutions, post retreat, New Year’s, and otherwise, another day has gone by without sitting. You know it’s good for you, you know it’s probably the best thing you’ve ever done in your life and ever could do, but it’s really hard to do it.
Why is it so hard to sit regularly?
Forget this culture that’s devoted to busyness. Forget the fact that Americans report having 16.5 hours of leisure time weekly, once work and household obligations are taken care of, and the time is rapidly shrinking. Forget that many of us have to work two jobs with outrageous hours to make ends meet. We are up to our ears in work. Forget the fact that we’re taught as a culture that busyness is a virtue and God forbid, we should ever take a second for ourselves.
Oh, and while we’re at it, forget that Americans are swimming in massive TMI (too much information), with barely a second to digest this tidal wave. Forget that many of us are bombarded on a daily basis with infotainment from television, radio, billboards, internet ads, email, blackberries, IMs, … etc. Ok, have you forgotten all of that? Because even putting it all aside, there are still several other reasons it’s hard to meditate every day:
1. It’s hard because meditation is the opposite of how we’ve been culturally conditioned.
2. It’s hard because it’s not necessarily yet a habit. Habits come easily, we just do them. New habits take work.
3. It’s hard because sometimes meditation can feel excruciatingly boring. Our lives are far more entertaining than knowing if a breath is long or short.
4. It’s hard because there are seemingly far more interesting and necessary things to do. We could watch TV, work out, write poetry, balance our checkbook, scrub the grout from our showers…
5. It’s hard because our brains are wired to be stimulated and it takes a tremendous effort to overcome our addiction to stimulation.
6. It’s hard because sometimes, we are going through intense emotions that we don’t want to feel, and nothing short of restraints are going to make us sit there and feel that grief. No, nothing! Sometimes the thought of meditating makes us gag. Especially when we’re having a difficult time in life. Yet paradoxically, that’s the best time to meditate. It’s when we need it the most.
If you don’t meditate regularly, you have good excuses. You’re like most people. It makes you wonder if you should even bother. But you should bother, you definitely should bother, and here’s why:
Continue reading this article at ShambalaSun.com