While at a Buddhist meditation retreat a woman raised her hand and asked what was wrong with her. It was the third day of mindfulness practice and she was frustrated that she wasn’t “getting it.” In obvious grief she asked, “Am I doing it right?”
Some shook their heads in agreement, evident they had similar feelings. I sat there holding my breath- wanting so bad to take the monk’s role and respond.
I’ve had friends reach out to me with the same concern. This “right” way to meditate people seek is one of the biggest blocks to actually meditating.
What’s funny is these thoughts about meditation are exactly what meditation helps to subside. The constant mind chatter that wants to give us every reason why we’re not doing it right.
We’re no good, we can’t learn anything new, we’re not worthy, and we’re an overall worthless piece of…wait a minute. See? Our mind gets down on us fast!
You can call yours Dave, Ezekiel, Mom, whatever.
Know this- Whoever your inner critique is is not who you are.
That is what meditation can help you become more aware of.
You learn to look at those voices in your head objectively. You hear, “You’re not doing it right” and respond, “Get out of here, Mom!”
I think people get so down on themselves about meditation because it seems so simple. And really…it is.
The problem is we LOVE to complicate things. We think we need to read all the books and learn every detail before starting. Then when someone isn’t experiencing what the book said, they freak out!
“Am I doing it right?”
The right way to not meditate is to think there is a right way to meditate.
I wish I could have told the woman at the retreat to relax. There is no “right” way to meditate. You just close your eyes and do it. Ta-da, you’re meditating. No mater what Mom’s telling you.
Think Less, Be More. And remember- It’s called a meditation practice!
With anything you practice, you begin as a novice and move towards an expert. It’s not Hamilton on Broadway. You don’t show up and get instant gratification.
Like when beginning to play an instrument, there’s a learning curve. It’s going to take consistent effort and an ability to push through the growing pains.
No matter how uncomfortable it feels, or the amount of thoughts you have, you are meditating.
It’s time to beat the inner naysayer that tells you otherwise.
On your journey inwards, the outward benefits will come.
Keep showing up.
Keep exploring this beautiful practice.
Keep thinking less and being more.
Let the right way find you.