Meditating Daily: A Habit Worth Developing
This is dedicated to those who want to daily meditate but don’t actually sit down and do it! Here’s how to overcome the obstacles.
“I know I should be meditating but I just can’t find the time” or “I wish I could take time to reflect but I keep getting distracted” are common refrains. If this is you, there’s a very good reason that you don’t actually sit down, do your practice, and get the benefits you desire. Before I share it with you, allow me to quickly clarify two things:
Don’t Judge the Meditation Practice
First, any meditation or reflection practice (short or long, sitting or lying down, oriental or whatever) is a good one.
I am intentionally not promoting any one style of meditation or reflection over the other. Personally, I’ve been certified in about a dozen styles of meditation and reflection practices and I teach several. I can say with some conviction that the right practice is any practice as long as you use it. There’s no need to get caught up in searching for new ancient wisdom or the next breakthrough tool that will finally help you sit down and do it. The tools you already have, or could pick up quite easily from training, are likely perfect for you – if you actually use them.
Know That a Regular Meditation Practice Is Vital
Second, consistent meditation or reflection is essential to a life well lived.
It seems that – without exception – whole, happy, successful people do some consistent practice to connect with their creative source and clear out mental and emotional junk. Whether the goal of a daily practice is improved creativity, better decision-making, greater health and well-being, a deeper connection with your source, or just feeling good while you do it, the benefits of regular meditation and reflection are so well documented that most of us know we should be doing it, even though we don’t… right?
Here’s the simple truth. If you want to have a regular practice of meditation or reflection but don’t do it, there’s only one reason (and I say this with love): something scary lurks within. As Henry David Thoreau aptly phrased it, “It is easier to sail many thousands of miles through cold and storm and cannibals, in a government ship, with 500 men and boys to assist one, than it is to explore the private sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean of one’s being alone.”
Two Main Fear Obstacles Preventing Regular Meditations
In my experience, when we make a commitment to quiet down and go within, two kinds of fear arise. The first is that our suppressed negative emotions will rise to the surface and cause us pain. The second fear emerges once we’ve become adept at meditation and reflection. It’s that if we continue plumbing our own depths, we’ll lose our identity and everything that supports it.
Here’s one method to conceptualize these two types of fears. Imagine you’re in the desert and you’re drilling a well for cold, fresh artesian water. As you begin to drill, you strike the top permeable layers of sandstone. There’s a lot of dust here. It’s messy. But once you get going, the drill powers through these strata quite easily until it reaches the impermeable surface of shale far below. Here your drill gets stuck. In order to bust through the hard shale, you’ve got to pull the drill back, recommit, and strike the drill through the rock. Once you do, the spring waters naturally pour forth from the well and you’ve got yourself a lifetime supply of cool, fresh drinking water.
- The first fear, that of releasing negative suppressed emotions, is like the dusty sandstone. It may seem scary at first but once you allow yourself even a bit of traction, you’ll find that you can quickly power through to the deeper layers of your soul. Be open and curious here. It’s OK to be afraid, but just for a little while, act as through you weren’t. Gradually your fear will disappear and you’ll fully experience the benefits you’re seeking.
- The second fear – that of a loss of your identity – will arise once you’ve become adept at meditating and you want to go further in your practice.
Facing this fear is the key to making a monumental breakthrough in your life. Here’s the secret: in order to bust through the layers of your psyche to the clear waters of your source, you’ve got to be willing to let go of your current sense of self and all that you’ve invested in it. Intuitively, we know this wonderful source is already there within us. Yet accessing this source is what Marianne Williamson rightly called our greatest fear: “it is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”
What do you have invested in your current sense of identity? Just about everything.
Your thoughts, beliefs, social status, career, family, history, dreams, friends…you name it. In order to bust through the bedrock, you’ve got to be willing to release your grip on who you think you are and trust that you’re something else entirely.
Muster the Courage For a Meditation Breakthrough
Making this choice takes tremendous courage. I have great admiration for anyone who’s done it and I will support anyone who’s game for it. Once you break through, you’ll realize that the fear was only as big as you made it out to be and the cool refreshing water at your source is so delicious….. you’ll just want to share it with all others.