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Common meditation struggles and how I overcame them

So I think, A LOT. 

When I started meditating 2-3 years ago via headspace, my goal was to quiet my SEVERELY overactive mind and be MINDFUL.  

I’d find myself doing things mindlessly, ie:

  • not remembering that I already microwaved my food and standing there (with my thoughts) in confusion
  • Spending a solid 10 minutes distracted from whatever I’m doing, replaying a memory from the past, or thinking about some future event that hasn’t happened. 
  • Getting to the tram stop and not remembering anything between that and leaving my house 

With all the daily practices, I expected to be a mindfulness pro 2-3 years later. 

Welp. 

Turns out nothing’s really changed since then. 

I still got distracted for 9 minutes in a 10 min meditation, and only snapped out of it when Andy says “now let your mind do whatever it wants” ; Where ‘magically’ my mind would calm down… 

So I decided I needed to get some help. Surely someone else was experiencing the same things as me, and so I consulted the one and only:

Mr Reddit

Exactly!

This person is me! (Though I don’t think I mindlessly wrote up this question…I’m 94% sure) 

rglassey A.K.A our lord and saviour, answered with this. 

I realised he/she was right. While it’s been 2 years rather than 1 month, I was trying to undo 20 years worth of overthinking in just 2 years. 

Being more and more impatient, I expected a certain outcome, and that’s what stuffed up my progress. 

“The more often you’re distracted, the more often you’re practicing…so don’t be hard on yourself…this is entirely expected!” 

These are definitely the words I needed to hear. 

Before, I was judging myself every time I got distracted, and saw these as signs I was doing worse. 

So what changes have I made?

I’ve tried this over the past 2 days, and IT WORKS!! The less I try or expect and outcome, the easier it is to focus. 

  1. Having a beginner’s mind. Even though it’s been 2 years, I’m undoing 20 years worth of habits. 
  2. Every time I get distracted, I give it the ‘ah welp’ indifferent attitude and move on. 
  3. Knowing that distractions are signs I’m practicing – not that I’m regressing!
  4. Instead of stopping my thoughts before focusing back on my breath, I’ll focus on my breath while the thoughts are still in my head, as rglassey says here:

While this thread’s about meditation, quite honestly, it applies to ANY skill you hope to learn. 

It’s all about readjusting your expectations, seeing mistakes indifferently, and not judging yourself when you make them!

 

Jo 

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