Meditation is hard for hippies, preppies, and yuppies. It’s hard for elite athletes. It’s hard for the happy and the sad.
It’s just plain old hard.
Why is it so challenging to sit and chill with your eyes closed without thinking?
- It’s scary.
- It’s work.
First, the scary part.
Closing your eyes pulls back the curtain. Thoughts chase each other like predator and prey. Bedrock slowly heaves and wails. The scenes jump cut sporadically. Story lines abruptly end–conflict doesn’t resolve.
This is your mind on meditation.
“Am I crazy?” floats around like thin wisps of fog. “Who is in control?” echos with the cracking ice.
“This is the worst movie ever. Ugh. 1 star. I would give it zero if I could. The plot didn’t make sense. The characters just kept repeating themselves over and over.”
People fear their inside world. It’s weird, it’s mysterious, it’s like you’re standing close to the edge of a cliff that bends away so you can’t see below, but you know memories lurk down there that would pull you down hard into (yikes!) emotions.
(BTW, when talking about mediation, people will not tell you they are afraid. Admitting fear is vulnerable. Admitting fear is the first step toward losing control. They look away and talk about all their good reasons and stuff.)
Now, if all that’s not enough work, there’s more.
Meditation requires deliberate focus and patience. Though you may be sitting still, you are expending willpower points and exerting mental energy. Patience is a virtue. Virtues take deliberate effort. Returning to sit and breathe again and again requires dedication. You are working against resistance.
Is it worth it? Potentially. Meditation could make you happier, more peaceful, and more compassionate. Some experts say 9 minutes a day is enough to see the benefits of meditation over time. So, if that’s your jam, do it up.
Otherwise, what else are you doing to effectively become happier, more peaceful, and more compassionate? We all need a deep, challenging practice of some kind. What’s yours?