Most every meditator feels awkward when they begin to meditate. In fact, I’d be surprised if you didn’t feel this way. This can prompt you to think that maybe you’re not cut out to be a meditator. But that isn’t true at all.
Consider this: The 8 minutes you just spent in meditation may be the first time in your life that you’ve been still, silent, and awake—simultaneously! Even if you only were like this for two seconds, it is a radical new way for you to experience the world. No wonder you feel a little strange. – Davich, Victor. 8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life.
Today I’m taking solace in the reassurances of Victor Davich, as I struggled a lot today. I thought I was improving yesterday, but didn’t feel like I kept up at even that pace today, and perhaps even slipped back a bit. My thoughts were starting to come faster and faster and for a brief moment, I even failed to follow my own advice: don’t get frustrated.
After I finished meditating, I set down to consciously reflect for a bit, and I realized that my brain is currently wired in a way that it wants to see immediate results. I want t a linear – or better yet – exponential graph of improvement metrics for everything I’m doing. I want to feel like I’m meditating better today than I was yesterday.
I think perhaps a lot of this comes from growing up not only as a digital native, but as one heavily involved in web development most of my life. I’ve been working on design, sales, and marketing over half of my life, and there are live charts that can instantly track how changes and tweaks affect things like clicks, interactions, and feedback. Instant assessment and improvement.
But not everything in real life always works like that does it? And I know that, I just need to do a better job of remembering that. When we’re working to get healthy for example, we’ll have good days and bad days. When I run, some days I feel great and it’s easy, and I set a personal record. Other days every second is a struggle and I have to push hard just to make it through. Somehow I’ve accepted that for physical training, but it hadn’t really clicked in yet for mental training.
I’ve really been focused on mental training lately, changing patterns and habits and moving to a more positive outlook. And I realized after meditating today that my expectations are unrealistic. Things don’t change immediately and in immensely noticeable ways. It takes work and time. And I should have known that. I’ve read that over and over again. But it takes a moment of realization to actually internalize that.
Hopefully that same realization will dawn on you. It takes some pressure off, but is also motivating to keep up the hard work. So today wasn’t my best day ever, but you know what? I’m excited to keep at it and try again tomorrow!
Not sure where to go next? Check out the main meditation page.