I was a “wanna be” meditator for years . . .

I knew meditation was a powerful practice. I knew all about the benefits and I wanted them.

So, I tried meditation.

I just didn’t get it.

I had failed.

At least, that’s what I thought.

My mistake: completely unrealistic expectations.

I expected . . .

To stop everything and shut my mind down. I was confident that once I was seated on my meditation cushion and my mind went blank, I was going to get all the benefits and results. I expected to derive deep insights. Clarity. I was going to tune in to my deeper knowing and get answers. My productivity was going to multiply overnight.

Instead . . .

I sat down and my mind went bonkers. I couldn’t find the off switch. Once I sat still, my brain would instantly race towards the long list of “to do’s” that I . . . wasn’t doing. Running through this list in my head made me anxious, and then I’d start beating myself up because I wasn’t being productive AND I was failing at meditation. A double whammy for a workaholic do-er who struggles to sit still.

I eventually learned . . .

1). The mind is naturally active, and thoughts will arise spontaneously. Trying to completely clear my mind of all thoughts only created frustration. As a beginner, I needed to start by simply observing thought patterns and noticing that I’m separate from my thoughts. Once I understood this, I tried again, training myself to sit, watch the mind, and . . . laugh. Because the mind can be crazy ridiculous.

2). Meditation is a practice. No one expects to go from couch potato to marathon runner. Why did I expect to go from beginner to enlighted in a few sessions? All I really needed to do was focus on the present moment. In time, by simply observing my thought patterns, I would notice when I was caught up in planning the future or rehashing the past. I’d watch where my mind went . . .and gently redirect my attention back to the present. Training the mind is similar to leash-training a puppy.

3). Breathwork is key. A breathwork practice provides the mind with a one-pointed focus. Once I implemented breathwork as a precurser to meditation, my meditation practice transformed. Before breathwork, I found it virtually impossible to transition my mind from constant notifications, tasks, and distractions to complete stillness and peace. So, I’d begin mediation by directing the breath, which allowed me to feel the effects of a settled mind. Once I experienced the calm and presence . . . I began to “get it”. I was changed. And I could enjoy the peace of my meditation practice for the first time. Here’s a guided breathwork practice to try.

Sitting still in meditation is a challenge.

The benefits of meditation aren’t instantaneous. It takes time and patience.

If you’re struggling, you aren’t alone!

My experience with breathwork and meditation eventually led me to training and teaching certifications. I’ve found that gathering with a group to practice provides accountability and a social network for support. I now teach specialty breathwork and meditation classes. Click HERE to see my teaching schedule.

If you’re struggling with your meditation practice, please feel free to reach out to me with your pain points.