6 Meditation Problems That Aren't Really Problems - Unique Wellness
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April 23, 2020 3 min read

 

You've begun your meditation practice. You know all the amazing benefits of meditation and you're excited about this change in your routine.

And then problems set in: body aches, itching, thoughts, sleepiness. Who ever thought just sitting could be so hard?!

I've practiced meditation for several years, and while I enjoy meditating, I've hit some bumps along the way, too. We all encounter bumps along the way, don't we?

The thing is, there are no problems in meditation.

A problem is only a "problem" when we perceive it as such. In fact, meditation is a great way to help us reframe how we interpret and experience what we judge as "negative"

 

Body: aches and irritations

 

Bodily aches are common in meditation. They can be a result either of our posture, or small discomforts that previously escaped our attention. When you experience itching, pain, or discomfort during meditation, bring your awareness to the sensation. What does it feel like? Where exactly do you feel it? I find that doing this immediately lessens the sensation of pain or irritation

 

 1) Back pain: The key is in your posture, and in keeping your pelvis straight. This is often easier to do on a meditation cushion(known as a zafu). When seated on the zafu, your seat should be about three inches off the ground.

 

2) Knee pain: Many people use a mat underneath their cushion (called a zabuton) that reduces the pressure of the knees against the hard floor. You could also use soft blankets or towels.

Mind: thoughts and boredom

 3) Thoughts: It's a terrible misconception that mindfulness meditation is about emptying the mind, or getting rid of thoughts entirely. You will have thoughts while you are meditating! Stopping your thoughts in meditation is about as likely as stopping your breath.

 

When you have a thought while you are meditating, simply acknowledge the thought and watch it rise and fall in your awareness. You don't need to engage the thought; you just observe it.

You can use anchor words to name the type of thought: "worrying," "planning," "judging," or simply "thinking." Note what the mind is doing and then return to your breath.

Being aware that your mind has wandered off with a thought is the entire point of meditation -- that moment when you recognize it is a moment of mindfulness. And it's okay to have hundreds of those moments in your meditation session!

Mind and Body: restlessness and sleepiness

4) Sleepiness: The quiet and stillness of meditation may make you sleepy. You may actually fall asleep! I am of the mindset that if you fall asleep during meditation, you probably really sleep more than contemplation at that moment, and you shouldn't feel like you "failed."
But if you're reading this, you want to meditate, not sleep. Perhaps change the time of day that you meditate -- first thing in the morning works best for me. You can also adjust your position. Perhaps sitting in a straight chair, or sitting on the floor, would help your alertness.
5) Restlessness: Restless may come from discomfort with stillness and silence. It might be the sense that you're not getting the important work done. Trust me, you are doing the important work.
Observe your restlessness. Notice where restlessness manifests in your body. And return to the breath.Again and again.
With meditation, the first step is not admitting you have a problem. It's realizing there's not a problem at all.

 

Damien Law
Damien Law


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