Updated: Mar 9
There are a few things about meditation that are usually not pointed out very often by people who have been doing it for a really long time.
Building the meditation practice habit is great for your well-being. It improves the way you feel about yourself, you make better decisions, and you start focusing on what really matters to you because you start seeing life much more clearly.
However, those things don't happen after your first meditation, and I would say that this is something really important to be aware of as a meditation beginner. Otherwise, you will just believe that meditation is not for you and dump it after the first tries, when in reality, it might actually be for you, you just need to know these 3 things.
1. It hurts at the beginning
Meditation is all about staying alone with yourself, and observing who you are. This might sound basic, and you may think that you already spend a lot of time with yourself, and that you also already know who you are. The thing with meditation is that it might show you that that's not entirely true.
It's not that you will discover that you are a completely different person than who you thought you were. But you will discover that you are more complex than what you thought, and you will be bombarded with all of that complexity during your whole meditation.
When you meditate you are left alone with your thoughts. There is a tendency to think that when you meditate, the ultimate goal is to eliminate your thoughts. This belief causes most beginners to feel frustration when they first try, because that is nowhere near from happening, so what the heck are we doing then?
At the beginning, not only you feel inadequate because you can't get rid of the thoughts, but you also feel overwhelmed by the thought-storm you find yourself in. The worries that you have been trying to put away, come in over and over again, and you don't have Instagram, Facebook or your best buddies to distract you from them.
In that moment, you are completely alone with all your shit, and unless you are completely enlightened, you have a lot of it.
Meditation hurts at the beginning, because you are for the first time, facing the fears that you carry inside, and you simply don't know what to do with them.
Because meditation basically forces you to just stay there, you somehow feel trapped in a nightmare. At the same time, you may not understand why you feel this way when you are simply sitting or laying down with your eyes closed, which makes it even more frustrating.
2. It gets better with time
What you need to know about the painful start of meditation, is that the pain does go away with time. This is exactly why in general, your life will improve.
When you meditate, you are facing many of the things that stress and overwhelm you, which in your daily life you are too afraid to find a solution to.
However, once you build the habit of facing them during your meditation and staying with them, you will slowly become more aware of why you feel certain things, and know how to overcome those feelings later on.
Meditation really isn't about actively looking for the solutions to your problems. It's about passively finding them.
Have you ever had too many problems in your head, making it really hard to solve any of them because they are simply too many? Well the issue is not that they are too many. The issue is that, because they are too many, we find it hard to choose one and forget about the rest. Better said, we are incapable of acknowledging each one of our problems separately.
On the contrary, if you only have one problem, your full attention is dedicated to it, so the solution comes on its own. A higher level of intelligence in you already knows what the answer is, but you first need to acknowledge what the question is.
Keeping up with meditation requires you to trust that the experience will become better as you continue to practice. I sometimes feel a hole in my chest during the entire meditation, and I question why I am even putting myself in that uncomfortable position. Please know that this is normal, and that it means that you are on the right track. You just need to stay there and keep pushing forward.
3. It is worth it in the end
You may be wondering if the pain and the waiting is worth trying. Why would you go through that?
Look, I know that life is already hard enough, to on top of that add more pain from a meditation practice. But the truth is that when you meditate, you are not adding pain to your life, you are working with the pain that you already have.
Meditation does not create new pain. It can only bring to life the pain that you already have within you, and treat it so that you can continue to live with less of it. Meditation is mostly like doing surgery on yourself. It can hurt in the moment, and it can hurt the days after, but in the long-run, it is removing from your being, things that are harming you on a daily basis.
The stress, the worries, the insecurities, and the big questions that hunt your everyday, come to light during your meditation. These same things are affecting your mood and your moves everyday, with the difference that you can't quite put your finger on them, because they are too well disguised.
Well, during your meditation there is no disguise. That's why these things hurt, but at the same time, it's where they are the most vulnerable to be killed. And once you kill them, they won't show up again in your life.
I have become a little addicted to growing through meditation, because I feel that the growth that I experience through it is hardly debatable and diminished by anyone else. The growth that I have experienced through meditation has definitely the strongest roots among all the ways of growing that I have put myself through.