The reason I first started meditating about a year ago was because I was seeking a stress and anxiety fix. I had hit a breaking point in my life with managing my personal and work-related responsibilities. Out of helplessness, I downloaded Headspace and soon realized that this was going to be a lot more challenging than I initially thought.
I didn’t get an immediate relief to my problems, which only piled onto my frustrations. Am I doing this right? Why am I even more frustrated at the end of the meditation? Why can’t I reach a state of bliss that everyone talks about?
My problem was that I was meditating with a goal. I see this a lot with other beginner practitioners as well.
I can’t be at fault really since my life was surrounded by goals. At the time, I wanted to workout atleast 3 times a week to get my weight down to 150, I wanted to run 5 miles with an average pace of 7 minutes, I wanted to make a certain amount of money by a certain age, etc.. To be content with doing something with no expected result was a foreign concept to me.
When we do an activity with a goal in mind, how we feel at the end of it is dependent on if we acheived that goal or not, inherently creating an opportunity for us to struggle more. When it comes to your meditation practice, forget goals as they only set us up for failure because we then judge our experience.
After weeks and weeks of practice and building frustation, I just said fuck it. I’m going to simply meditate to meditate and lets see what happens. After this shift in mindset, I started to get the clarity I was looking for. The “it is what it is” attitude I now approached meditation with helped. Huh?
The change really came from doing my daily practice with no expected result — meditating with intent. In contrast to goals, intentions come with an instant satisfaction because we are okay with just doing whatever task. Theres no need for me to seek some degree of achievement or result because what I desire is already present within me. I say to myself now in a playful mood, “Julio, lets meditate this morning and see what happens.”
Now when I finish my practice, I am no longer judging how the experience went. I am content with just sitting and meditating. Since I am no longer focused on comparing the current actions to a desired end state, I am focued on what is happening in the present.
Try this for the next week and let me know how it goes!
- Before you start your practice, check in with yourself. Do I have some expectation with how this meditation will go?
- If you do have an expectation, reset yourself and say, “I’m going to meditate and whatever happens, happens.”
- After your meditation sit is over, thank yourself for spending some time during the busy day just for you!