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Monday, June 29, 2020

How to deal with mediation problems

1. “I Can’t Stop Thinking!”


Meditation Problem: You’re supposed to be focusing on your meditation, but your mind keeps wandering off to anything but your practice. Or, you may encounter this problem in the form of a incessant self-talk that seems to have something to say about everything, including your meditation!
What You Can Do: Breath counting is an effective method to calm down a busy mind. In its most basic form, the meditator, that is you, just need to count every breath cycle. Each inhale followed by an exhale is one complete breath cycle. So in practice, you will count a number — starting from one — after every exhale. Alternatively, you can count at each inhale instead of exhale; it doesn’t matter. Continue to count all the way to 10, and then restart from one again. But every time you lose count, you have to reset your inner counter and begin from one again.
The way this method works is simple. By keeping the mind occupied with a simple task, it will have less tendency to wander off. But what if the mind gets so used to the counting game that it is able to count and think at the same time? Then, it is time to change the rule of the game to force the mind to re-learn and re-adapt. There are a number of ways to change the way you count. Counting backwards (“10”, “9”, “8”, “7” … “1”), counting even numbers first (“2”, “4”, “6”, “8”, “10”, “1”, “3”, “5”, “7” and “9”) and counting sets in addition to breaths (1[“1″…”10”], 2[“1″…”10”] … 10[“1″…”10”]) are just some of the ways you can use to stay one step ahead of the mind.


2. “I Can’t Seem to Find Time for Meditation”

Meditation Problem: Your schedule seems to be packed to the brim every day and you can’t seem to squeeze any time for meditation. Or, there is always something that needs to be done when you are about to settle down for quiet sitting, making your practice sporadic and inconsistent which in turn limit the benefits you get from meditation.
What You Can Do: There is a golden rule that personal finance professionals always tell people when it comes to saving up for retirement: Pay yourself first before you spend your money on anything else. This is a handy rule to keep in mind too when it comes to making time for meditation. Before you are swept into the hustle and bustle of the day, invest 15 minutes of your time in your inner well-being by meditating first. Allow nothing but the most pressing circumstances to distract you from your practice, and make known the sacredness of this time period to the people living with you. This may mean you have to wake up 15 minutes earlier than everybody else in the household but it’s definitely a worthy investment that will bear numerous fruits in many areas of your life.

3. “I Keep Nodding Off or Spacing Out”


Meditation Problem: Drowsiness and spacing out are common obstacles that are not limited to beginning meditators. It is easy to mistaken them as real meditation because you feel so relaxed and comfortable and the mind is so quiet for a change. Some people even fall asleep in the middle of a meditation. But what actually happens is that the mind has slid into a state of mental dullness in which you are not completely conscious. It is as if you are trapped in a thick fog that reduces your vision to several feet ahead of you. But in this case, instead of lacking clear, unhindered vision, your mind is lacking mindfulness, alertness and the ability to focus sharply. It is probably nothing wrong if you meditate solely for the purpose of relaxation. But if your aim is to gain greater mental clarity, insights or spiritual advancement, then mental dullness is a roadblock you must overcome.
What You Can Do: When you catch yourself nodding off or spacing out, inject more energy into your practice. This can be done in many ways. If your posture is off, correct it right away: straighten up your back, lift up your chin a little higher, or contract your lower abdominal muscles. If you are losing focus or your focus is hazy, by simply returning your attention back to your breaths or your object of meditation can also help to refresh the mind. If you are chanting a mantra, then raising your voice a bit higher or chanting at a faster speed is useful too. If still feel sleepy, then stand up and do some walking meditation around the room, or try this foolproof method: wash your face with cold water. And yes, it’s also a good idea to meditate at least an hour after lunch to prevent falling into the great afternoon slump.

4. “I Can’t Seem to Relax”


Meditation Problem: You may be familiar with the following scenario: You have just reached home after a highly stressful day at work. You think meditation will be helpful and so you get into your familiar sitting position. But no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to settle down and relax as you normally would. On the contrary, you get even more stressed up and anxious and is wondering why you can’t get into your usual meditative state.
What You Can Do: It is very difficult to meditate when the mind is highly agitated, like in the case of a highly stressed out person or someone who is in the grip of a panic attack. As the mind is so caught up with its own world, it won’t be able to focus on the breaths or any chosen object except the objects it is currently obsessed with. To get it out of its agitated state, a better strategy would be to dissipate its energies and calm it down with some external means, such as exercising, listening to music, going for a walk or talking over with someone. It is important that we are armed with at least one reliable external mean that we can turn to when we need to take our minds off our worries in times of high stress or anxiety. At other times, we practice meditation to gain more compassion, patience, wisdom and inner strength to increase our resilience to stress as well as to moderate our response to stress.

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