4 most common excuses for not meditating and how to overcome them
Updated: Dec 13, 2020
When we start to consider meditating and we search for information about it, usually, we hear a lot about the benefits of meditation, we read about the progress that was achieved by meditators, yet very often we are facing resistance within ourselves that is stopping us from starting our own practice or even if we already started, we often do not keep it up. I believe that the main reason for it is a lack of consistency. Any task or undertaking that we are going to commence during our life without continual practice will fade away. Consistency plays a key role in making progress and being successful in any endeavor. Only by committing to regular practice we are going to be in position to deal with obstacles and setbacks that are going to appear on the way. But first let’s see what excuses we would commonly use as they will define the obstacles that we are going to find on our path.
1. I am too busy – I can’t find the time for it.
By analyzing our routines, we can see that we are never too busy for some essential personal hygiene, that every morning we shower or brush our teeth, or even drink a cup of coffee. The fact is that we could organize ourselves to carry out all these, therefore we should be in position to do the same with meditation. If we can get up a few minutes earlier every day for personal hygiene reasons, we can definitely add a few extra minutes before this. At the beginning let this to be only 10 minutes, set up your alarm bit earlier, and perhaps try to go to bed these 10 minutes earlier in the evening, with the time as your practice grows, I can guarantee that you will be glad to extend it. Adding a new task into our lives is always simpler when we focus on its benefits and when it doesn’t add too much strain into our daily tasks, that’s why few minutes in the morning is a perfect start. Allocating the time for meditation when you are fresh and energetic will become the best part of your day. When you invest in meditation during this time slot, you are making a choice that will pay you great returns by giving you inner calmness, serenity, productivity and clarity for the rest of the day. For these reasons it is essential not to listen to the voice that comes up in your mind saying that you might pass meditation this morning as you have a very busy day ahead, in fact this is an exact reason why you need to meditate, if you are facing physical and mental exhaustion - meditation is an absolute antidote. Surprisingly enough, when I do meditate, I am always more productive – I tend to create more time for myself and things I need to accomplish.
2. My mind is always full of chatter - I can’t stop thinking.
This is a serious misunderstanding and sadly, keeps many people from embracing the practice of meditation. One thing that you can be sure of is that no matter how much you will try – you are not going to stop thinking. Coming and going thoughts are a part of our conscious experience of being and meditation is about cultivating the awareness of this experience which includes acknowledging the thoughts, what they are, how they arise, how they fade. With time, in meditation we are moving a step forward, we learn where and how to focus our attention. This can only be possible when you take a witness role, when you accept your mind’s chatter and you observe it. From this position you start to acknowledge your thinking patterns, sometimes you might find that the belief that was always stopping you from achieving your desired goal was just planted in your mind by someone else and has no relation to your life’s approach. At the beginning you might find it difficult to get yourself into a witness position because your mind will try to convince you that actually this certain thought requires your attention right now, the answer to it is very simple - ignore it. There are no situations in our life that cannot wait these few minutes that you give yourself in the morning, normally instead of sitting in your meditation you would be still sleeping, you wouldn’t be resolving it anyway. However, if you still find yourself engaging with certain thoughts, there are many tools that can be used during the meditation to move your attention back from it, you can focus on your breath, on the mantra. Sometimes you will disengage from one thought to fall into the next one straight away, but all this is perfectly fine. With time, you will learn to find the little gaps between your thoughts and these gaps are going to compensate all your mind’s chatter, these are the places where you get to connect with your real self.
3. Now isn’t a good time in my life for it, but I will try it at some stage.
This excuse tries to tell us that there are too many things going on at the moment in our life that are more important and that we can’t be spending our time on something like meditation, as it requires too much dedication and focus. The truth is that meditation will help us to prioritize our life, to see clearly as to what really matters and take the correct actions. Certainly, we can look around and say that most people don’t meditate and it doesn’t mean their lives are bad, why could my life not be the same without it. However, at the same time we can’t deny that meditation is something that people from all over the world have been doing for centuries. People have been practicing meditation in search of peace, happiness, transformation, finding themselves or to have more control over their lives. The choice is always yours and will determine the way you will live your life. I am a strong believer in the fact that connecting with your own true nature, finding your own rhythm will make your life experience complete, leaving it for tomorrow or some more suitable time in the future is like postponing your life – “There is no better day than today to do the things you've been putting off. Take action; it's the only way to change your life!” - Hal Elrod.
4. It isn’t working for me – I think I am not good at it.
Long-term results are only achieved by taking steps each day. Meditation is a journey to yourself, you can’t be bad at it, establishing a connection with yourself, finding the state in which you feel most comfortable is something natural to us and everyone has ability to achieve it. Perhaps you might sometimes feel that you are not making the progress that you desired, however this is only down to your own expectations. People often talk about enlightenment when talking about meditation and yes this could be one of the results of the process but in fact it is much simpler and more straightforward – meditation is an uncomplicated process to unclutter the mind. Meditation isn’t going to solve all your life problems but will certainly make you more aware. It will increase your ability to filter your thoughts, your beliefs and stay more present in your daily activities, all other outcomes will come in place when you learn to become mindful of yourself and your surroundings. Before you form your expectations, before you judge the process, simply sit with the intention of witnessing your thoughts, let every single one to come and go, you can do it, don’t let your inner critic to convince you that you won’t be good at it. Trust the process and don’t expect sudden sparks, it will more than likely be a subtle shift of energy, the results of it will express themselves in your reactions to your daily encounters. For me this realisation of responding to certain situations in a different way than the one I would normally do was a big step in seeing that meditation is working. The ability to calm your mind and to pause yourself before you react is an amazing tool to change relationships with others and mainly with yourself.
Identifying the excuses helped me to continue my journey and to stay on this path for the last few years and if there is anything I would regret, it would be the fact that I didn’t start earlier. Meditation isn’t immune to setbacks and isn’t the medicine for every obstacle that we will need to confront in our life although it gives us a tool that we can use in any situation to achieve an honest, open, loving and kind approach. To practice it, we don’t need to invest more than committing ourselves to a regular, daily time without expectation but trusting in a progress of finding this unique connection with our own true nature. “Meditation will bring you more and more intelligence, infinite intelligence, a radiant intelligence. Meditation will make you more alive and sensitive; your life will become richer” – Osho.