Learning to meditate can be trying for many but those that maintain a regular practice may face an even tougher challenge – the Plateau. Whether you learned online, downloaded an app, or sought detailed instruction from a teacher, we have all faced difficulties. As a meditation teacher I have witnessed, experienced and found common solutions to this phenomena regardless of level or practice.
GETTING TO THE CHAIR. If you are facing hesitation or resistance to your meditation practice, getting to the chair may become an outright struggle. You may also find yourself cloaked in thoughts; “I am too tired to meditate,” “I’ll just take a nap”, “I don’t have time”, “I think I will read a book as my mediation practice today”, or “Let me just check to see how many likes/comments I received on that pic I posted online earlier”. The list is endless. The solution: simply GET TO THE CHAIR, breath, and begin.
CONTACT YOUR TEACHER. If you had the privilege of learning from a teacher, honor them by seeking their counsel. It is always a pleasure to hear from my students and reconnect. I wish more would when facing challenges, rather than let the practice slide. The majority of meditation struggles can be overcome by simply reaching out to your teacher. Remember, it is YOUR practice. If you didn’t learn from a teacher, go back to the source and review.
THE POWER OF THE GROUP. As corny as it sounds, if you attend a regular group meditation or live with other meditators, your practice is less likely to experience stumbling blocks. If you are unable to commit to a formal group meditation, find a time to meditate with other people and take turns playing “mother”, managing the time. If alone, find an online group. Relatedness is key.
REFRESHER COURSES. This will require some humility and swallowing of your pride. Ask your teacher if you can re-sit the basic courses/classes. You maybe be amazed at how the mind has twisted a subtle instruction and correcting it can reinvigorate your practice. Remember, you come to this with experience and prior knowledge so some of the information will be repeated, but keep your ears and eyes open for the refined or understated directives – it may change your life.
SURRENDER TO THE PROCESS. Meditation is an ancient art. History places Sri Patanjali (the individual that codified and complied in a systematic method the Yoga Sutras) somewhere between 400BC to 200AD and yogis practicing these techniques since 3,000BCE. It requires discipline, tenacity, and dedication. Our western fast-paced, technological lifestyle demands immediate stimulus and response – a habit that overflows into all of our affairs. The Millennial & iGeneration minds developed via instantaneous gratification versus unwavering endeavors resulting in diminished experience of long-term projects and “staying the course”. We live and have created a culture unfamiliar with practices requiring patience, longevity, and stalwartness. Meditation can bring immediate results to many (I have witnessed this countless times teaching mediation); however, we normalize this shift and our consciousness becomes elevated. Rather than move onto another practice or quitting, surrender and experience the journey of meditation.
Meditation is more than an exercise in feeling good, it develops sustainable habits and character. Accept that there will be mind chatter and continue. In the words of Patanjai, Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah – Yoga is the modifications of the mind chatter – welcome to the club.
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