When I first started meditating, I made plenty of excuses to not practice.
Even when I resolved one excuse, I somehow managed to find another one. Honestly, I just wanted to escape my meditation practice.
After my first vipassana experience, I no longer struggled to meditate on a daily basis. And now, since I’ve experienced the benefits of meditation, I’ve stopped making excuses to not practice.
The thing about meditation is that it requires practice and willingness at the beginning. However, once we engage in it, we eventually will only seek to sit more. For new meditators, the first phase (which includes making excuses) can be quite challenging, and it can persist for years.
After this phase ends, a more stable phase comes to the surface. Meditation is similar to crossing a river. To get to the other side, we have to go through the current. The current shouldn’t deter us—but it will challenge us.
Here are six excuses we often make to not meditate—and how we can work through them:
1. Lack of time. Since we all lead busy lives, finding the time to meditate can be challenging. Nonetheless, we use our busyness as an excuse to not meditate.
When I experienced the benefits of meditation, I started making time for it. I now wake up one hour earlier to sit for meditation. If we really want to make time for meditation, we will. Just like we have time for social media or hanging out, we can squeeze meditation into our daily schedule.
We don’t have to meditate for an hour or 30 minutes. Ten minutes is enough every day, and as we feel more comfortable, we can increase the time.
2. The inability to sit in lotus position. Some people don’t meditate because they find it difficult to sit still in lotus position. If your knees don’t bend or have back problems, you’re not alone. The good news is that meditation is not about sitting cross-legged or not.
Meditation is mental work, so we can sit on a chair if we have physical problems that restrict us from sitting cross-legged. Find a position with which you’re most comfortable, and go for it.
3. Meditation is not for me. After our first try, we may simply determine that meditation doesn’t suit us. We might section meditation into another thing that doesn’t fit our character or personality.
But, meditation is for everyone. You don’t have to be calm, religious, or an introvert to be interested in meditation. If we think meditation is not for us, then we’re just making an excuse to not sit for it. At some point, we may seek to journey inward, and meditation is a great tool to assist us.
4. It’s not important. Some people might deem meditation as futile or unimportant. Even if we know that it’s crucial, we might still convince ourselves that it’s not, or that we have better things to do, so we can skip the sitting.
Meditation is important. The mind is a complicated instrument we all struggle to deal with. One of the (most beneficial) tools that teaches us to deal with the mind is meditation. Therefore, we can’t disregard it or deem it minor.
Giving meditation a shot won’t cost us anything. If you feel you can’t sit for meditation, then it’s your mind rebelling against it. But this doesn’t mean that meditation is not for you.
5. It’s tough. The first couple of meditation sessions might indeed appear to be tough. We have to sit still, cross our legs, and watch our breath. It’s usually flawless the first five minutes—and then, we wonder what on earth got to us to attend this session.
As I mentioned earlier, meditation is akin to crossing a river. We have to go through the stream first, in order to later enjoy the other side. Anything we try in life for the first time appears difficult. Nonetheless, with practice, it will no longer be as tough as we once thought it to be.
6. The inability to stop thoughts. This is a problem which most of us experienced at some point in our meditation practice—it transforms into an excuse to not meditate. The thing is, we can never stop the thoughts. The mind is naturally wired to think, and we don’t meditate to stop our thought patterns.
Meditation teaches us how to watch the thoughts, instead of taking them seriously. We don’t eradicate them, we befriend them. When we understand the true purpose of meditation, we no longer struggle to stop the thoughts.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Instagram @ecofolks; elephant archives
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Travis May
Social editor: Waylon Lewis