Have you ever considered your meditation practice a waste of time? I wouldn’t blame anyone if this thought happened to blur somebody’s mind at least once.
It is a common feeling, especially for beginners who suddenly decide to approach the meditation practice coming from a world where 50.000 thoughts a day is the basic rule for an averaged human being.
You watch a few videos, read a few books and decide that you want to begin your regular meditation practice too, like that fella on YouTube who manages to sit down for 20 or 30 minutes and look like a candle flame in a windless place.
Here you are, getting your cushion, crossing your legs and positioning your palms straight underneath the belt, where you were told to hold them. Now, you gently close your eyes, take three deep long breaths and the wonderful magic just happens…or maybe not yet.
Let’s try it again… breathing in…breathing out… Nope, you cannot focus.
Nevertheless, you keep trying for a little while. Now you feel a little calmer, your head seems partially steady and your eyes are closed. You are meditating, like the person on YouTube!
It must be at least 10 minutes now…so your mind starts to wander again, and you can’t do much to come back to the present moment. Your mind is thinking and suddenly, you feel like overwhelmed by your own thoughts and you open your eyes. 3 minutes passed….how is that possible?
This is the moment when beginners feel a deep, unmeasurable frustration inside their bones. They felt like doing something useful and they realized something hard to believe: they cannot control their mind. You cannot control your mind. It seems like your mind is a total stranger to you, with a different ID card, driving license and possibly a different life.
That’s all. You cannot do that, and so it is better to give up. This is only a waste of time, I would never be able to sit crossed legs for more than a handful of minutes. You believe you are too much pragmatic and your mind is too oriented toward logical thinking rather than a creative and spiritual way of living.
Let’s don’t waste more time on this and go back to your intolerable waves of thoughts.
I am gonna tell you something here and now: this is more common than you can ever believe.
The first time you sit on that cushion, it is extremely hard. We all come from a set of rules and a way of thinking that did not allow us to develop calmness and steadiness. In a few words: our mind was not trained to be always present.
Let’s try to put this into a practical example.
You are 35 years old, and never, ever trained your body to run on a long distance. Suddenly, you decide to register for a 21 km run, and you have only 3 months to be ready. You always meet, on your way home, groups of people running along the road and they seem to be all in a good shape. You think you can do that, and you just go for it. Well, you’ll soon realize that running is more than a simple and funny sport. It requires a lot of efforts, attention to details, diet, resilience and moreover, a long time of constant and regular training.
The process that accompanies you toward a regular and successful meditation practice, won’t be that much different than a serious training for a half marathon.
The real difference is that when you train physically, your senses can actually perceive the effort of what you are trying to achieve. You can see your muscles tonicity evolving over the following weeks and the real fatigue at the end of every training session. This is exactly what we use to measure. The effectiveness of something we do must be measurable and visible to return satisfaction and belief.
We are not educated to appreciate something we cannot fully sense and see with the eyes. Spirituality is something that requires more attention and surely, patience. At any time, you close your daily meditation session and you are at the very beginning of your journey, you wonder whether this was a waste of time or not. You cannot see or feel any improvement, or any real change except for the difficulties derived from the practice itself.
Your thoughts keep waving your mind and you feel frustrated. That’s normal. It is part of who we are as human beings. However, this is also part of your practice. This is again another trick of your mind telling you:
“hey, we have always lived well when we could physically see results and I could spend my time jumping from one thought to another, why do we need to be quiet now? I don’t need that..”.
Your mind will try to take your hand and bring you back toward the well-known and explored road, trying to keep you inside the comfort zone that doesn’t require any additional effort or fatigue. You’ll feel like following that way, because your mind makes you feel more relaxed when you are in there and it will try to convince you that the time spent meditating, it is just wasted.
I promise you, it is not. If you approached the practice ones, you are on your way to keep the hand of your mind and guide it toward your new road.
A new and colorful way where you’ll finally discover your inner self and realize that human beings like you, have no limits but themselves.