One of the biggest challenges in meditation is trying to quieten our mind while we practice.

Why is it that something that is meant to calm us down and cause “inner peace” just seems like an opportunity for our mind to be louder than ever?

Meditation can seem challenging because it is so different to how we normally live our busy lives. We are beautifully human and our beautifully human mind allows us to have thoughts, feelings and perceptions that won’t magically disappear as soon as you sit on a cushion.What makes it more challenging is that we have this idea of what our meditation should be like. So we compare our practice to this image in our head, an image we have created and now believe. That constant comparison is what truly holds us back from being in the moment, which is after all, what our practice is about.
What does ‘being in the moment’ even mean?Despite what you believe, meditation is not about forcing anything, nor stopping the thinking process.  Instead, we want to get to a point where we do not spend the time worrying about what we should not be thinking but to shift the focus to your awareness and your relationship to your thoughts.When a thought comes into your mind, whatever it might be just allow it to be there, acknowledge it, and then rather than following it, just release it. Your mind will begin to calm down and the more practice you have at doing this, the better you’ll get at it.During your practice you may also find yourself thinking about how you’re progressing, seeking reassurance that you’re doing it right or getting benefit from your practice. Guided meditations are exceptionally good for your practice – an easy way to focus your mind on the voice you’re listening to. Or try focussing on your breath, counting your inhales and exhales. Always trust in your breath. It is always in the present and will always bring you back to where you need to be.

Analyse your practice after by journaling. How did you feel physically, what came up for you? What colours did you see or any other images?

The challenges we have with our meditation practice are in fact reflections of our challenges within our life. So it’s no wonder we find it uncomfortable and challenging, but it is meant to take us out of our comfort zone and bring up some of the deep rooted stuff that is holding us back in our lives – the stuff that we are so good at keeping undercover.

Meditation can feel like a struggle and we may be left wondering what the benefits of our practice are. But meditation is not a quick fix. Like with any healing, it is a journey and some days you will find it easier than others.