This is what happens when you meditate… Your mind is totally calm, your body at ease. You feel peaceful, calm and focused. Your face is the epitome of serenity, free of stressful thoughts and worry. You become more resilient, gaining wisdom and perspective on life’s ups and downs.
This is what most people think what will happen when they meditate. What actually happens more often when you first meditate is that you feel uncomfortable.
Your mind jumps from thought to thought, wondering what you are going to have for lunch or dinner, if you are breathing right and why you signed up for this class because you are so darn bored.
If you are sitting on the floor cross-legged in a traditional meditation posture, one or both of your legs will cramp up and your back starts to ache. It might feel interminably long until the bell signalling the end of the meditation goes off and you may decide that running is your meditation because you are really more of an active person.
You may wonder why meditation makes you feel so uncomfortable if it is supposed to be so beneficial. What you may not know is that meditation does not cause you to be uncomfortable, it makes you aware of how uncomfortable and uneasy you are- beneath the surface.
What do you do when you get overwhelmed, uncomfortable or bored? You go on Facebook, look at your phone, watch movies or play computer games for hours on end. You have been conditioned in this day and age of social media and instant gratification to avoid discomfort by either entertaining or distracting yourself.
This does not make your discomfort go away, it simply distracts from or suppresses it temporarily. Sometimes this works and you are able to let go of your tension, but more commonly this is a temporary solution and leads to discomfort building up over time into chronic stress and tension.
Meditation brings patience and tolerance by teaching you to accept the state of your mind-body in each moment, just as it is. By learning to tolerate discomfort, you are eventually able to go beyond it into a mature realm of stillness and self-acceptance where you will find peace of mind, relaxation and perspective. Here lies the magic.
Beyond your discomfort is an inner witness. It observes your life with neutrality and objectivity. Once you become aware of it, you learn to detach and stop identifying with the thoughts, emotions and feelings that cause you to feel stress. A pause develops between the events in your life and your reaction or response, offering you the opportunity to choose your responses with more restraint.
The inner witness is always with you, conscious, alive and aware. It holds the potential of a life experience rich with creative, cognitive and sensory possibilities. It is much wider and wiser than your personality and ego-mind. It holds all the answers to all the questions you have, if you can stay still long enough to allow them to uncover and trust what you are shown, if you can surrender your resistance to being uncomfortable or bored.
Meditation helps you to contact your inner witness and know the truth of your innate wisdom and calm.
But you are the one who has to take those first steps and be willing to sit with your discomfort, to go beyond your mind, thoughts, emotions and sensations.
You have to commit to the process of learning and be consistent with your practice.
You have to decide that becoming aware is your priority, or rather knowing your awareness.
You do not have to do it alone. You can join a class with a teacher that will help support you in going beyond your discomfort and resistance.
You have to make the choice to take that first step though.
It is your choice and always has been.