Meditation Tips: 4 Most Common Meditation Problems Solved
Therapist, Writer, Consciousness Expert
This blog series is the first in a series dedicated to bringing you helpful and easy meditation tips to help you in your meditation practice. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below, and we will try to blog about them soon.
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“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha
Meditation doesn’t have to be hard. Enjoy your journey to enlightenment with these helpful meditation tips.
Problem 1: Falling Asleep
Many people have trouble staying awake during meditation. Especially when we first begin our meditation practice, the mind is uncomfortable with stillness. Falling asleep is our mind’s defense mechanism to stillness.
- Especially if you meditate first thing in the morning, try doing a brief yoga series to awaken the mind and body.
- Use essential oils to invigorate the senses, and awaken the mind before meditating. Or use an oil diffuser to emit awakening scents as you meditate. A classic scent for awakening is lemon.
- Try using guided meditations to help guide your concentration and keep you alert.
Problem 2: Physical Discomfort
A common problem when meditating is physical discomfort. Whether it is low back, hip, or leg pain, there are some simple things you can do to fix this. This will help you sit in meditation for longer periods of time.
- Make sure you have the proper equipment. Sometimes all you need to end discomfort in meditation is the proper meditation cushion. At Conscious Life Shop, we offer high quality chic meditation cushions that are designed to lift the hips, stabilize the back, and support proper alignment.
- Use the proper alignment. Sitting in the correct posture is also an easy fix to most pain problems during meditation. Click here to read more details about sitting comfortably in meditation.
- Use mindfulness techniques during meditation to discern discomfort from pain. As the creator of Left Brain Buddha, Sarah Rudell Beach points out, in our stillness we become aware of bodily sensations that may go unnoticed in normal life. Take stock of these sensations and use your awareness to discern pain from discomfort. If you are experiencing tolerable discomfort see if you can expand that physical space using the breath.
Problem 3: Can’t Stay Still
Beyond physical discomfort, some people find it difficult to stay still during meditation. Restlessness is another defense mechanism of the mind in response to stillness. As you continue your meditation practice this will get easier over time. However even if you are just beginning your meditation practice there are things you can do in the here and now to help you stay still.
- In the Ashtanga yoga tradition of meditation, the fourth step towards meditation is Pratyahara, which means withdrawal of the senses. In this stage of meditation, one learns to detach oneself from emotional and physical sensations. This will help with moving about. Try this technique when you notice physical sensations:
- “I am not this sensation, I am so much more than this, so I can remove myself from this feeling. I can detach”
- Resist the urge to judge yourself for moving about, as this will only continue the cycle. Instead as you take a step back as the observer, just watch yourself moving about. Take note without judgment. You will be surprised that the more you simply become aware of your moving as the observer, the more comfortable you will become.
- Focus on the breath. You hear this said a million times for a reason. Focusing on the breath is the easiest way to calm the mind and keep you in the present moment. It is a great tool for those that have trouble staying still during meditation.
Problem 4: Distracting Thoughts
This truth is distracting thoughts are not so much a problem during meditation but are simply a part of the meditation practice. The process of becoming an observer of our thoughts without judgement is a huge part of the meditation process. It is only when we separate our True Selves from our thoughts that we can experience true awakening. Here are some meditation tips that can help make this process easier.
- Create a Sacred Space. The mind loves routines, and you can train your mind to associate certain spaces with certain tasks. Create a sacred space for your meditation practice, and help your mind release distracting thoughts and become calm much faster. Check out our chic and modern sacred space items that are perfect for any home decor.
- Vispassana meditation is a form of meditation that cultivates concentration. One Vispassana technique is to concentrate on the thoughts that arise during meditation and practice letting them go. As you release each thought, you prepare yourself to notice the next thought that will come up without judgment and letting it go as well. And so on.
- One of the first books I read about meditation when I was 16, (Yes it was Meditation for Dummies believe it or not!) gave a great tip for expanding concentration. They suggested the counting method, and I always recommend this technique to meditation beginners. Count your breaths to the number ten, and when you reach ten start over again (Inhale -1, Exhale, 1, Inhale -2, Exhale -2, and so on). As your mind wanderers you’ll find yourself beyond the number ten. That’s okay just notice it and start back over at one. This is a great way to start to tame the mind to not identify with every distracting thought.
It’s all about the journey, and we hope yours is filled with light and consciousness. Let us know what other meditation tips you would like us to write about. Namaste!