Want to know why you keep sabotaging your daily meditation practice with distractions and excuses?
I don’t know how to tell you this, but one of the cold hard truths of meditation is that sometimes it really sucks. I mean, it’s mostly a self-nurturing and emotion-soothing activity. Mostly.
It’s just that one of the most beneficial effects can also be one of the most upsetting and destabilising for those of us who have a past and have emotions. Oh, that’s you? Yeah, it’s me too.
Put simply, there’s just no running away from your true feelings about anything when you’re a regular meditator.
And when life is going off the rails and it feels easier to just abandon your meditation practice ’cause you’re “too stressed”, well I hate to sound like your mother, but that’s when you need MORE meditation, not less my dear.
Just because it sometimes makes you feel worse rather than better, doesn’t mean it’s not doing you good. I sound like a health tonic peddler from yesteryear; “drink it all down now girlie.”
If you’re anything like me, when the stuff hits the fan it gets swallowed down so there’s only the faintest taste left in your mouth. And yet, you think you’re dealing with it and subsequently, you think you’re feeling okay.
Just last month I had to process some sad family news that left me reeling in ways I found quite surprising given my rigorous self-care regime and pretty healthy emotional state. It was a few days after I was told the news that I woke up feeling very flat and sad. I knew I had to take some time out to meditate and sit with the feelings that were weighing me down.
So I sat for about 20 minutes. I later realised that this was nowhere near long enough because upon emerging from the room after my meditation, my husband asked me a simple question and then he responded with mild disappointment to my response and, well, I completely lost it.
There was some screaming and crying. It didn’t last for long but it was pretty scary and exhausting for us both.
I’m sharing this with you for a couple of reasons. Firstly to reassure you that I’m just like anyone else when placed under stress (perhaps even more sensitive than the average peep). Secondly to declare that emotional outbursts are sometimes necessary and healthy as a marvelous release of pent up energy.
And also, to acknowledge that had I been a little more in touch with the depth of feeling that was there that day, I would have sat in meditation for much longer and probably accessed the tears that needed to be shed in a much more gentle way.
Which way is better?
As my 12 year old daughter often says, “Meh? (shoulder shrug).”
Who knows. Nothing we experience is actually wrong or bad, it’s just that with the benefit of hindsight we can reflect on what happened and then make a different choice next time around.
What I want to express here though is that although meditation taps into our deeper emotions which can make us feel less than calm and Zen-like, avoiding feeling them is not a great alternative.
What we’re dealing with here is a genuine human need to slow it all down and be REAL.
Our culture leads us to believe that distraction is the answer to everything that upsets us:
- Eat something
- Buy something
- Watch something
- Be outraged
- Be critical of others
- Talk non-stop
- Plan another holiday….
These distractions don’t serve us really though do they? They neither heal us, resolve our problems nor make us happy.
I don’t need to outline our mental or physical health stats do I?
They just mask what’s really missing and that for me is; inner peace, trust in a higher power and the wholeness inherent in every moment. Plus the reality that we humans have emotions like fear, sadness, grief and anger.
How come we can feel it for a television show character but not for ourselves?
Something to ponder <3