Or Why I shouldn’t meditate...
Sometimes its really tough to get to the meditation cushion. There’s a million things to get done in the day. There’s getting out of bed, going to work (out of the house or inside); there’s grabbing coffee, lunch, answering texts, voice mails, making calls, actually doing work, getting home in time for dinner etc, etc, etc.
For those of you who have begun a meditation practice, carving out the time to sit is the biggest hurdle you may have. For those with an established practice that could be true for you as well!
So, here are a few insights and tips that I hope you find helpful.
- If you find that you are engaged in a battle with your Critical Witness (the part of you that judges and criticizes) it’s best to give up! “I should be meditating,” is guaranteed to create a lot of striving, suffering and stress.
- Inner negotiation skills here, are very important. Most of us have learned by now that bullying rarely gives the desired result. We can intimidate someone into doing what we desire but the results are transitory at best. If you want to build a real foundation for a meditation practice that you can rely on; a little compassionate dialogue between you and you will really help. The discussion is between two parts of the psyche known as the Benevolent Witness and your Little Child. The Benevolent Witness is the kinder, wiser version of the Critical Witness. Your conversation might go like this:
Little Child: “ I don’t want to. I don’t have time; and anyway I don’t have to listen to you”.
BW: “I know, you are really busy and stressed and this feels like adding one more thing; but let’s try to work something out. Its really important to me.”
Little Child: “You are too demanding. You’re asking too much. This is just stressing me out more”.
BW: “How about we just breathe into the belly for a minute? How does that feel? (pause) What if we just sit for 5 minutes tomorrow morning?”
Little Child: “That might be OK but I know you won’t be satisfied with that; you’ll want more, you’ll push me, and I don’t have time.”
BW: “I promise, just five minutes, and I will feel happy. And you will feel less stressed.”
Little Child: “Okay, if you really mean it.”
Of-course your particular negotiation might sound different, but you get the idea. It might not create the desired result the first time; but if you truly want to develop a mindfulness practice, you will eventually find yourself on your cushion, even if it is, only for 5 minutes. As you continue to develop the art of compassionate dialogue with your inner characters, the depth and breadth of your practice will grow.
- The key is to have a light touch with your inner being. Compassion and kindness are the most powerful catalysts we have for growth and change. Use these liberally and you will notice yourself moving along on your intended path.
May this information benefit you, those you love, and all sentient beings, everywhere.