What are the barriers that keep us from this valuable tool
As February rolls around, the daily disruptions continue. Even though cases are down the world over, the sense of anxiety and unease still lingers. Day to day inconvenience, low and intermittent supplies, long lines and labor shortages plague all industries. Families with children are feeling the burden as child care resources are stretched, while stores, businesses & restaurants are scrambling to keep up a modicum of normalcy. Technically it is year three of the pandemic, with no specific end in sight, so it is hardly surprising that many of us are weighed down, frustrated, burnt out and just plain Covid weary.
So many of us are seeking a return to true normalcy. Mentally weary and unable to escape the sense of forfeited freedom, we are seeking answers to regain our equilibrium. In the complicated reality that has come to stay, we are looking about us for some assurances that can ground us. Many finding solace in their faith, while others are seeking various outlets. One of the many options offered time and time again to keep ourselves anchored is meditation. The healing benefits of meditation are well known. It combats stress, reinforces positive energy and increases awareness of the present moment, deviating our mind from our brain’s negativity bias. Yet many of us who have dabbled in it have found it is hard to keep up with it. Let us examine why that is so.
Lack of Self Awareness
During our waking moments, our minds are engaged in a never ending loop of internal thoughts that cycle through incessantly, triggered from one dialogue to another, which can cause chronic fatigue. Even though the mind is capable of positive affirmations, it is often easier to slip into negative patterns and this takes a toll on our mental and physical wellbeing. To combat this, there is evidence that regular meditation dissipates accumulated stress and cultivates a state of restful alertness. Yet, so many of us struggle with adopting this simple but powerful technique.
Why is meditation so hard? We wrestle with it because we have to come face to face with our thoughts. Essentially it is like a reality check with the clutter that in in our mind, which is manifold worse than any physical mess we have ever confronted. It can be lonely to shut out the outside world and face the noise in our head and inherently spend time alone with our own thoughts. It takes a woke person, a courageous person to embark on this journey. In the mix of our internal thoughts are a host of emotions, memories and internal contradictions, our fears and hopes, struggles and dreams and so much more.
Overcoming the Obstacles
In the fast pace world we live in, priding ourselves in the ability to get everything done with the help of many apps and tools, it is hard for many of us to find the time, patience and stillness to meditate. Often, faced with the thought of trying to sit still, emptying our minds of thoughts or confronting them and not being distracting by our long list of to do tasks, will cause us to abandon the session altogether. Again, contrary to many popular ideas about meditation leading us to enlightenment, sometimes it can be incredibly boring and a lonely path to self discovery.
When adopting meditation, we must be aware that it is a lifestyle change. Changes happen gradually and take time so we need to be patient with ourselves as we undergo transformation. The next awareness that goes hand in hand with this is to stop fighting the process itself. This of course is easier said than done. Uneasy feelings and runaway, distracted thoughts can overwhelm us and our instinct is to abandon the whole process. We need to face the challenges and slowly slip into the process of meditation. The anxiety we are experiencing currently is adding another layer of complexity but we need to persevere if we want to succeed.
This year I have set meditation as one of my goals rather than a resolution. I hope to ease into it with an open mind to combat my sense of ennui and reestablish a much needed sense of hope and positivity into my life. Wish me luck and join me in my journey if you are inspired and may our tribe increase.
We are stronger together