“I’m not good at meditation.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that sentence…well, I’d have a lot of dollars.
It’s a common sentiment for a reason. Meditation is not complicated but it’s also not easy. It can be downright challenging. At the very least, meditation asks us to quiet, still, or focus the mind. And as beautiful and transformative as the practice can sometimes be, it also can also ask us to confront our discomfort (which most of us are habituated to avoid rather than look in the eye.)
So if you sit down to meditate but struggle to still your mind, and therefore feel uncomfortable or unproductive….guess what? You want to drop it like it’s hot. So you label yourself as a “bad meditator” or “just not cut out for it” and toss your budding meditation practice into the Too Hard, Can’t Be Bothered bin (or for the truly frustrated – the Ef This Sh^t pile of unfinished business.)
Sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone.
But here’s something that will flip the script on that experience you’ve labeled as “bad” and instead, keep you coming back for more. Ready? My teacher Yogarupa Rod Stryker said it best:
“The measure of your meditation is the quality of your life.”
Let me explain. The effectiveness of your practice is determined by what’s happening when you’re NOT meditating. Therefore, your meditation practice can feel wonky or frustrating or pointless and still be worthwhile, valid and valuable. In other words, don’t judge your meditation based on the experience you had during meditation, but rather on the effect your meditation practice has on your life.
So then the question becomes not “Am I good at meditation?” but rather, “Am I better for having meditated?” “Am I calmer? Am I more patient? Am I more intentional and focused? Do I feel more connected? To myself? To others? Am I more creative? Am I more compassionate? Am I less stressed, more joyful? Is my behavior less compulsive or addictive and more in line with my highest good?
If you meditate daily I bet you bottom dollar that your answer to most, if not all, of these questions, will be a hell yes. Regardless of whether you meditate “badly” for 7 minutes in your pajamas on your bedroom floor or you levitate for 7 hours in a cave in the Himalayas. Do it well, do it badly. Be an amateur or a pro. Do it for a short time or a long time. You aren’t missing out on the benefit and you aren’t doing it badly if your mind wanders or you feel imperfect. Simply measure your meditation by what you feel/think/do when you’re not meditating, not by how well you quiet your mind or how blissful you feel during your practice.
Does that change the way you look at meditation? Does it give you the freedom to reframe your assessment of yourself as a meditator? I hope so. I hope you give yourself a permission slip to meditate imperfectly. I hope you give yourself to show up even if it feels challenging, or uncomfortable or unproductive. Because in my experience, the benefits of meditation show up if you do.
If you’re keen to kickstart a meditation practice that will keep you coming back for more, holla at ya girl. I’ve got the goods for you.
]Make sure to download my free guided meditation app, Heavily Meditated, now. Plus, my book Heavily Meditated: Your Down-to-Earth Guide to Learning Meditation and Getting High on Life will teach you everything you need to know to make meditation into a habit that sticks!
Now go forth and meditate imperfectly. You got this!