If you have started meditation recently or are just about to get started, you might be wondering what you can expect along the way. Is it easy? Is it difficult?
While everyone’s experience varies with meditation, the practice in itself tends to be easy, the difficulty is in the consistency part.
Sure, you probably shouldn’t start with an hour-long meditation and then call it quits. Consistency matters far more than intensity. It’s a bit like when you start doing exercise, you don’t want to lift the heaviest weights.
You can get into a meditative state relatively quickly, which will make the meditation feel both enjoyable and easy.
Depending on the amount of mental clarity you have, reaching a flow state where you have your full undivided attention on the practice can be more difficult if you don’t get enough sleep. By getting enough sleep, you give yourself a head start.
Additionally, something you might want to experiment with is coffee if your goal is to be more alert, but that should only be at the beginning.
However, I’ll go into why meditation is hard for many people at first, and what you can do in these situations.
The Minds Association to Meditation
The mind is wired to do what’s easy and always choose the easy path. If the mind sees meditation as a chore, or any good habit that moves the needle forward in a positive direction, you’ll come up with very good excuses not to do the thing you deep down know that you should be doing.
Your mind makes it sound believable because no one can convince yourself better than yourself. This is probably one of the toughest roadblocks to overcome when you’re starting out with meditation.
And if you don’t find the meditation enjoyable and get distracted by what goes on in your mind, be it negative thoughts or distracting thoughts, the meditation is gonna be more difficult. Then you’ll start believing your mind’s excuses about not meditating.
If you’re able to push past that, you’ve successfully taken the first step in having your true self take control over your decisions instead of having your mind and feelings choose the course of your day-to-day for you.
One of the biggest challenges for anyone is doing something despite not feeling like it. That’s how you build mental strength.
Over time, by ignoring your feelings and doing what you know you should be doing, in this case, if it’s meditation, your mind will present less resistance to the thought of meditation, the more you practice. As a result, meditation gets easier.
Putting Your Attention Back To The Meditation
A challenge that even seasoned meditators experience from time to time is having their attention be shifted from their breath to their distracting thoughts.
That’s fine, but what separates a seasoned meditator from a beginner is that they are able to shift their attention back into the present where they are focusing on their breathing.
That’s one of the factors that make meditation more difficult when you’re starting out. Especially if you’ve never meditated before and are just starting out. Your concept of being in the present is vague since you haven’t been present ever since you were very young.
Responsibilities come into play and we start to feed our minds more things to focus on, so much so that multitasking has become so mainstream, even if multitasking has negative effects on us and even if we aren’t built to multitask.
By putting back your attention into the meditation, you train your mind to do the same with everything else you do. But it ultimately ends up creating a domino effect, and since it becomes your default mode of operation, meditation becomes easier as a result.
Meditation Is Like Learning a Craft
It’s no secret that you won’t become a meditation master overnight. Meditation is a bit like learning a new craft, and one that can even facilitate your ability to learn a new skill.
It’s one of the reasons you see thousands of meditation videos on YouTube geared towards studying or doing some type of creative work.
And although some would argue it’s a placebo effect, it doesn’t take a genius to know that the more you condition your mind to be centered on one thing at a time, the more you default to it over time.
But in contrast, it’s very easy to relapse and revert to old distracting habits because of your hunt for quick dopamine releases. But treating meditation like learning a craft is a good starting point, that way you have reasonable expectations and are unlikely to give up quickly.
The light at the end of the tunnel becomes visible the more you practice and stick through, but the initial stage is likely the hardest because we’re conditioning ourselves to something that should be in our daily routine, just like putting on clothes.
Not Seeking Easiness
While we are generally wired to seek easiness, and while it’s no exception with meditation, it’s worth noting that if you’re having a challenge with meditation, you’re likely growing from it.
For instance, if you face a darker part of yourself you had kept repressed, it’s a form of growth and it’s a major step out of the comfort zone. Meditation being easier will just become a byproduct of it.
And it’s not necessarily that it gets easier, it’s more like you become more capable of handling the challenges that life throws at you.
It’s the kind of mindset that can often be spotted in seasoned meditators, which sounds cliché, but it’s only when you experience it with first-hand experience and monitor the growth resulting from all the pain and hardship that it all starts making sense at the end.
Meditation can feel more difficult if you experience physical discomfort during meditation, especially if you follow a meditation where you are instructed to sit in a certain position to meditate. That’s another challenge to overcome that’s healthy.
One of the benefits of sitting in a certain position during meditation is that it makes it quicker for the mind to associate meditation with its own thing, rather than the mind conflating meditation with something you already are acquainted with, and as a result, forming the habit becomes easier.
The important thing is forming a habit and letting it build itself by making your mind associate it with something positive, and all the resistance that was there before and during the meditation would become a thing of the past.
You don’t have to meditate in a sitting position. You can totally do meditation while laying on the bed or in a position you find comfortable.
As I often say, the right way to meditate is the way that works for you and actually allows you to be in the present moment, both post and pre-meditation.
The Flow State
Upon entering the flow state in meditation where your mind is focused on your breathing or the present, you won’t want to leave that state.
This is why many spend hours meditating. It’s something that can’t be described with words because the combination of peace and calm you feel makes you not want it to ever end. At that point, you can say you’ve successfully made meditation both enjoyable and easy for yourself.
Now, don’t expect every practice to be the same since what you experience one day can vary from what you experience another day. But you could say it’s a good average of what you can experience if you stick with it for the long haul.
Stopping Internal Dialogue
One of the roadblocks that prevent meditation from being easy is internal dialogue. Many love talking to themselves. Sometimes, it can be useful as a source of wisdom coming from within, other times, it’s just a distraction.
But it’s something that can make or break a meditation. Stopping internal dialogue by moving your attention back to your breath isn’t easy, and might give some resistance at first.
Acknowledge that the resistance is there and give yourself room for failure. Feel free to “fail your way” to success with meditation, if you find that it’s what moves the needle for you.
For most, meditation does get easier over time. That is, assuming they stick with it long enough to reap the rewards meditation has to offer. There are some, however, that don’t find their meditation getting any better and sometimes even getting worse.
Either they didn’t find a meditation that worked for them or meditation isn’t for them as a whole. There’s a minority that experiences downsides with meditation, but I would say it’s rare.
But it’s highly advisable to not necessarily seek what’s easy with meditation but instead, seek growth. It’s almost as if the less you chase ease with meditation, the easier it will come.
There’s beauty that comes with the hardships of meditation and overcoming those challenges, ultimately using meditation as a tool to power yourself up and become the best version of yourself.