I am sure you have seen images of people in complete bliss and happiness when they meditate. You are probably wondering if you are capable of such exalted states of mind. You think you are a lousy meditator because you can’t sit still for 5 minutes. Let alone silence your mind for even 30 seconds. You wonder if some people are just better at meditation than others. Thinking you are unable to meditate is a little like thinking you are unable to breathe.
People often confuse meditation with relaxation or some other special state that you have to get to or feel. If you don’t feel relaxed or ‘enlightened’ after you have meditated, you think you are doing something wrong. Meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It is about feeling the way you feel. It’s not about getting to a special place in your mind, but about allowing yourself to be where you already are.
I think that is why meditation can be frustrating for many beginners. They feel that if they are not seeing some immediate progress that it is not working. If you bring this instant gratification mentality towards meditation, you are going to be disappointed. Our culture places so much value on doing and on making progress. Even our leisure tends to be busy and mindless. In meditation, there is nothing to achieve. Nothing needs to happen for our meditation to be complete. In meditation, there is no clearly defined milestones like in many human endeavors. In meditation, we are learning how to stop all outward activities and cultivating stillness, with no agenda other than being fully present in each moment.
My advice for beginners is to approach meditation with no agenda, no expectations and no judgment. With this new way to approach meditation, you will come to the realization that anyone can meditate.