You sit in your meditation spot, day after day, but clarity just keeps escaping you. No matter what you do, there’s a distraction that hampers your efforts. Maybe your legs begin to tingle. The old knee injury begins to ache again. There’s the smell of your favorite food hovering in the air.
I can sympathize with this problem. As much as I might try to seek clarity, if the smell of a cheeseburger is on the breeze, my mind and my stomach start having different thoughts. In the end, when I can’t find clarity, I feel more stressed out than I did before I started meditating.
For so long, this made me question my dedication. Why couldn’t I meditate like so many other people? Then I realized that maybe I needed to make some adjustments to what I was doing to improve each session. I hadn’t fallen out of love with meditation. I had simply evolved and my meditation practices needed to do so as well.
Here are the 4 steps that I took to correct that process so that the chances to achieve clarity could return.
#1. Create a New Space
Your needs may evolve when you evolve. The fact is that we all change a little bit every day. Who you are today isn’t the same person who you were yesterday. Now multiply this effect over 1 year, 5 years, or even more and you might be a whole different person. I discovered that the meditation space I had chosen for myself wasn’t meeting my needs any more. It made me uncomfortable and there were bothersome distractions that I didn’t remember there being before. So I created a new space to inject some new life into each session.
#2. Change Your Expectations
When you’ve been meditating for awhile, you kind of expect your mind and body to react in certain ways. When that reaction doesn’t take place, then it bothers you. I know that if I couldn’t find any clarity at all, I would focus on that issue for the rest of the day. I wanted to figure out the issue so I could fix it.
Then one day I realized something. I had developed a certain expectation for meditation that I didn’t have when I had first started. In the beginning, I had no expectation of a positive outcome. Now, here I was, becoming frustrated because I wasn’t getting the positive outcome that I wanted.
#3. Be Willing to Forgive
It’s easy to judge yourself harshly when you feel like you haven’t met your meditation goals. I’ve discovered that sometimes you must be willing to forgive yourself for those times where you feel you have failed. Sometimes you even have to be willing to stop forcing your meditation sessions and just go with what feels natural at that given moment. Sometimes 5 minutes of meditation that is genuine is better than 30 minutes of forced meditation time.
#4. Find Your Anchor
Whenever there is something that feels bothersome during your meditation session, it is important to have a reliable anchor that you can come back to use to center yourself. My breathing has always been pretty reliable for me. Some might like to focus on a point of light, like a candle. Whatever it is, give yourself a reminder to use it so that you can begin rebuilding your awareness.
Even when you make changes like these, I’ve found that to meditate like a pro, you’ve got to stick to your core routines. Allow your meditation to evolve with you, but keep it on the schedule every day and keep infusing familiar elements into your practice. In doing so, the changes may be quite profound.
Have you worked to evolve your meditation sessions? I’d love to hear some of the ideas you’ve used to evolve your regular meditation practices into something even more beneficial.